Turkey talks don't mean membership a given

3rd October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 2 (AFP) - The starting of EU entry talks doesn't guarantee eventual membership, France's foreign minister said Sunday ahead of an emergency gathering of EU ministers to resolve a standoff over opening negotiations with Turkey.

PARIS, Oct 2 (AFP) - The starting of EU entry talks doesn't guarantee eventual membership, France's foreign minister said Sunday ahead of an emergency gathering of EU ministers to resolve a standoff over opening negotiations with Turkey.

"To make believe that negotiations means entry, that's a lie," French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said in a radio and television interview.

EU foreign ministers were meeting Sunday in Luxembourg to end a standoff pitting Austria against the other 24 member states of the bloc.

The landmark talks with Turkey are due to start on Monday, but Vienna has blocked an accord on the so-called "negotiating framework," insisting that Ankara be offered an alternative to full EU membership.

France was represented at the talks Sunday evening by junior foreign minister for European affairs Catherine Colonna, with Douste-Blazy due to attend the opening of talks on Monday.

Douste-Blazy said he was in favor of the current negotiating framework as it clearly states that Turkey's successful entry is not assured.

Asked about Austria's insistence that the instructions also mention the possibility of a lesser "privileged partnership" for Turkey, an option favored by many top French politicians, the minister said "the negotiations which start won't eliminate that possibility."

Douste-Blazy said that he personally believed that entry into the EU "will be very difficult for Turkey because a lot will demanded of it" to meet the bloc's legislation.

He described the goal of Turkey's entry into the EU as "anchoring" to a stable and democratic Europe a country that risks drifting towards "fundamentalism and fundamentalists".

Turkey, a majority Muslim but secular country, has been seeking membership in the EU for four decades.

"The project ... with Turkey is a project of peace and stability," said Douste-Blazy.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article