Finnish and German presidents discuss Turkey

22nd April 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 April 2005, HELSINKI - The European Union is likely to begin membership talks as planned with Turkey, Finland's and Germany's presidents said on Friday.

22 April 2005

HELSINKI - The European Union is likely to begin membership talks as planned with Turkey, Finland's and Germany's presidents said on Friday.

Tarja Halonen and Horst Koehler said they believed the talks would commence with Turkey even though the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI has previously criticised the plans.

"The EU is developing based on the different views Europe's people have. We have a decision to begin talks with Turkey and that decision is still in force," Koehler said according to the Finnish news agency STT.

"Many Europeans are likely pondering what the future may entail. The late pope was a strong advocate for ecumenical cooperation and strengthening the dialogue between religions," Halonen said, adding that the new pope's views may change given time.

In addition, it was important for the EU to also take into account what the United States and Asia say, Halonen said.

Both heads of state also discussed the ratification process of the new European Union constitution. They said they hoped the envisaged timetable would be carried out.

DPA

Subject: German news

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