Chirac talks Turkey with Dutch PM

14th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 13 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac expressed France's concerns Monday over talks this week aimed at deciding whether Turkey will join the European Union, during a meeting with the visiting Dutch prime minister.

PARIS, Dec 13 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac expressed France's concerns Monday over talks this week aimed at deciding whether Turkey will join the European Union, during a meeting with the visiting Dutch prime minister.

Chirac reminded Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, of "France's preoccupations with regard to the talks," according to Chirac's spokesman Jerome Bonnafont.

The French president also "expressed confidence that the Dutch presidency would take France's concerns into consideration," said Bonnafont.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Balkenende said the French president had made clear to him the concerns of the French parliament and the French people with regard to the negotiations with Turkey on joining the EU.

"The objective is (Turkey) joining, but we also have to imagine that the talks might not necessarily end in a yes," said Balkenende.

"We are going to continue our talks and consultations with the other member countries," said the Dutch PM, adding, "we all know that there are differing positions in Europe when it comes to Turkey."

EU leaders are expected to give Turkey a conditional green light at a summit on Thursday and Friday this week to start entry talks, while setting a series of strict conditions and warning the process could take at least a decade.

France would like to see provisions for a strong link with Ankara in case negotiations for full membership fail - although Paris has not argued for the kind of scaled back partnership opponents of Turkey's EU bid would like to see.

Ankara has made it clear that it wants no other status but full membership in the European club.

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier called Monday for the EU to start entry talks with Turkey at the earliest next July, giving ground on a previous call for them to be at the end of 2005 or in 2006.

Barnier also said that France wanted Turkey to acknowledge the World War I massacre of Armenians during negotiations on its EU membership.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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