Portugal rejects major EU debate on Turkey

28th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, June 28, 2007 (AFP) - Portugal, which becomes European Union president this weekend, does not plan to hold a major debate this year on the EU's borders and particularly Turkish membership, as requested by France.

BRUSSELS, June 28, 2007 (AFP) - Portugal, which becomes European Union president this weekend, does not plan to hold a major debate this year on the EU's borders and particularly Turkish membership, as requested by France.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, State Secretary for European Affairs, Manuel Lobo Antunes, said France was within its rights to raise the issue but that Portugal thinks the EU should now focus on finalising its "reform treaty".

"France has every right to say that we should discuss enlargement, the whole issue of borders and Turkey," he said. "But it's also a presidency's right to give its opinion."

"We believe that at this stage we should be concentrating on the treaty and that we should try to ensure that we come up with a solution... by December," he said. "After that of course we can start to tackle other important issues."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that Turkey does not have a place in the EU and has called for wide debate on the bloc's future enlargement in December, just before Portugal ends its six-month presidency, starting July 1.

Portugal is organising an intergovernmental conference, starting on July 23, to draw up the EU's new "reform treaty", which was agreed after a marathon summit last week and will replace the old constitution.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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