Chirac insists France can torpedo Turkey's EU bid

11th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 10 (AFP) - France reserves the right to veto Turkey's entry into the European Union "at any moment," President Jacques Chirac told state television Sunday in an interview during a state visit to Beijing.

PARIS, Oct 10 (AFP) - France reserves the right to veto Turkey's entry into the European Union "at any moment," President Jacques Chirac told state television Sunday in an interview during a state visit to Beijing.  

The French parliament would be consulted on the issue of Turkey's membership, he promised, stressing that in negotiations with Ankara "at any moment France can withdraw, can apply a veto, or can refuse".  

"At that moment, the negotiations end. We are thus totally free," said Chirac, who has previously stated he personally favours Turkey eventually joining the European bloc.  

"In any case, the French will have the last word through a referendum if it goes to that point," he said. "And it's a matter that will not be discussed for another 10 or 15 years at the earliest, if it is at all."  

The ambiguity of Chirac's stance on Turkey reflected differences between deputies in his ruling UMP party on the issue.  

The party has declared itself opposed to the idea of Turkey, a poor, predominantly Muslim state, joining the European Union, which itself already took on 10 new members this year, most of them former Soviet states from eastern Europe.  

Chirac has declared he would put the Turkey membership question to a referendum, apparently in a bid to separate the controversy from efforts to have the French electorate adopt an EU constitution.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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