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EU delegation head refers to ''a historic day''
2002-10-09 17:59:30

Nicosia, Oct 9 (CNA) -- Ambassador Adrian van der Meer, head of the European Commission delegation here, believes that the essence of the European Commission's recommendations on enlargement will remain as it is, even though the possibility for changes exists.

Speaking to the press after the release of the Commission's progress reports and the strategy report, he said in technical terms Cyprus will become an acceding country soon.

He said today's recommendations ''seal officially the fact that Cyprus has always belonged to Europe, politically, geographically and culturally.''|

He described the report on Turkey as ''really objective'' and expressed hope that common sense in that applicant country will see that.

''Today is a very historic day for me,'' van der Meer said at the Delegation's offices here.

Asked if the recommendations on enlargement the Commission made today to the Council could be amended, he acknowledged that this is a possibility but added ''I am very confident that the main gist of our recommendations will stay as they are.''

The Commission recommended that accession negotiations with Cyprus and another nine countries be concluded by the end of the year. It also said that the EU should enhance its support for Turkey's pre-accession preparations but noted that the country does not fully meet the political criteria.

Asked if Brussels is concerned about adverse reaction from Ankara, the Ambassador said that the Commission has made a ''really objective report on Turkey which in 30 pages it really acknowledged the positive steps but also the limitations in these steps.''

''I count on the common sense in Turkey that they will realise that we have put forward an objective report and that at the end of the day the heads of states will take the final decision,'' van der Meer said.

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