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EU countries support Franco-German proposal on Turkey
2002-12-10 09:31:19

by Nicos Bellos-- Brussels, Dec 10 (CNA) ? Most European Union countries support a Franco- German proposal to open membership talks with Turkey on July 1, 2005 if it passes a review in 2004, despite Ankara's demand for an earlier, firmer date.

During Monday's discussion on the Turkish candidacy during the dinner of the EU Foreign Ministers, most countries seemed to incline towards the Franco-German proposal which will officially be submitted during the Copenhagen European Council.

There were only few countries, which considered the proposal too much, while others, like Italy, Greece and Great Britain said there could be an improvement of the proposal to fully satisfy Turkey.|

Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou told his counterparts that there could be a gesture towards Ankara if the EU ministers are faced with an impending Cyprus settlement.

The Chairman of the Council followed the same procedure on Turkey as with Cyprus. He asked his counterparts if anyone believes that Turkey should not be a candidate, therefore it should not enter the EU. All agreed that Turkey should be considered a candidate and that the Helsinki conclusions on Turkey should be valid.

The second question was whether Turkey could start accession negotiations without fulfilling the political criteria. The reply was that it should fulfill the criteria to start negotiations.

CNA/NB/EC/MK/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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