USA welcomes European Commission's issuance of enlargement reports
By Demetris Apokis --
Washington, Oct 10 (CNA) -- Washington believes that the EU can make a
contribution towards the solution of the Cyprus issue, US State Department's
spokesman Richard Boucher has said, welcoming at the same time the
issuance by the European Commission of enlargemnt reports, including a
progress report on Cyprus.
''We've worked with them. Both we and the Europeans support the efforts of the (UN) Secretary General in that regard'', Boucher told his press briefing.
Welcoming the European Commission's report recommending accession of 10 countries to the EU, Boucher noted that ''it represents another important step towards making the accession of a significant number of countries a reality.'' |
Asked to comment on the European Commission's refusal to offer Turkey a date to open EU accession talks, he reiterated US position that ''Turkey's future is in Europe.''
''We made clear overall that while we're not a member of the European Union, we certainly believe its expansion is a positive and constructive process. It broadens the zone of political stability and economic prosperity in Europe,'' the State Department official said.
He added that ''it's in the strategic interest of the United States and the European Union, of Turkey and the European Union, that Turkey and the European Union build the closest possible relationship.''
Noting that the US supports ''Turkey's aspirations to become a member of the European Union,'' Boucher said that ''we see the European Union's report as a positive step in that direction''.
''As the European Union's report noted, Turkey has taken major and positive reform steps in recent months and the Commission recommends that the European Union enhance its pre-accession assistance to Turkey. We hope the European Union will begin accession talks with Turkey as soon as possible,'' Boucher said.
The European Commission said in its enlargement report that Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta should be able to conclude accession talks this year and join the EU in 2004.
The Commission did not recommend a date for Turkey, to start accession negotiations, saying it still did not meet political criteria for membership.
The European Commission's recommendations are expected to be ratified by the Copenhagen European Council in December.