Merkel welcomes Turkey's plan to open ports

7th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 December 2006, Milan (dpa) - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday described Ankara's decision to open a port and an airport to Greek Cypriot traffic as "a step forward" in Turkey's troubled path towards European Union membership.Addressing reporters after a meeting in Milan, Prodi said the two leaders had agreed to help Finland's EU presidency resume stalemated talks over Turkey's bid. Ankara's refusal to open its ports to vessels from the Greek Cypriot repu

7 December 2006

Milan (dpa) - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday described Ankara's decision to open a port and an airport to Greek Cypriot traffic as "a step forward" in Turkey's troubled path towards European Union membership.

Addressing reporters after a meeting in Milan, Prodi said the two leaders had agreed to help Finland's EU presidency resume stalemated talks over Turkey's bid.

Ankara's refusal to open its ports to vessels from the Greek Cypriot republic, which is an EU member, had been cited by the Commission as a reason for the partial freezing of the talks.

Officials in Brussels voiced cautious optimism over Turkey's latest move.

In Milan, Prodi also expressed hope that Germany's EU presidency, which begins on January 1, 2007, would mark the end of what he called the EU's "mourning period" following the rejection of a Union-wide constitution by voters in France and other member states.

The Italian premier headed the EU's Commission when the constitutional treaty was approved by heads of government.

"Italy and Germany are working together on the idea of a European manifesto," Prodi said, adding the EU needed to be revamped by "looking to the future, not just the past."

Prodi and Merkel also discuss the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East and Italy's premier played down a simmering rift between the two European heavyweights over the future composition of the United Nations Security Council. Germany is aspiring to become a permanent member of the Council while Italy would prefer the creation of a rotating European seat instead.

"Italy and Germany are working together, there are no problems, no conflicts between us," Prodi said.

After their meeting, the two leaders were scheduled to attend a premier at Milan's La Scala theatre of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida.

DPA

Subject: German news

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