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Old 4th December 2006, 21:06   #1 (permalink)
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EU attacks Turkey deadline plan

The EU's Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, has urged Germany and France not to step up the pressure on Turkey over its membership bid.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested an 18-month deadline for Turkey to open its ports to traffic from Cyprus to keep its bid alive.

She and French President Jacques Chirac are expected to discuss it on Tuesday.

But Mr Rehn protested, telling Reuters news agency that "strict deadlines do not produce results".

"I would ask Chancellor Merkel and President Chirac to look for a balanced solution which on the one hand shows the consequences of non-compliance by a candidate state but at the same time keeps the accession process with Turkey alive, because of its strategic importance for both Europe and Turkey," he said.

'Appropriate and sensible'

The European Commission last week recommended that the EU freeze some chapters of Turkey's membership negotiations, because it has still made no moves towards recognising EU member Cyprus.

EU foreign ministers will discuss those proposals at a meeting next Monday, but if they cannot agree a way forward, EU leaders may have to make the decision at their summit on 14-15 December.

A German government spokesman said Mrs Merkel believed that an 18-month deadline for the resumption of full negotiations was "an appropriate and sensible instrument" to deal with the issue.

He said Mrs Merkel and Mr Chirac would discuss it when they met in western Germany on Tuesday.

Reuters quoted a source in Mr Chirac's office as saying: "We are taking the same line as the Germans on Turkey."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...pe/6207408.stm

Published: 2006/12/04 19:34:28 GMT

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