Expatica news

Belgium backs Turkey EU membership

1 December 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium has said it is in favour of opening formal talks on Turkey joining the EU.

European leaders must decide at a summit on 17 December whether to start negotiations with the country, as the European Commission has recommended.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Karel De Gucht gave his backing to Turkey’s membership bid.

And he insisted that the suggestion of a partnership deal – an alternative to EU membership favoured by some countries – should be struck off the agenda.

“The ultimate goal of the negotiations must be clear from the start,” he said.

However, he added that he agreed with the Commission’s recommendation that leaders should suspend talks if Turkey breached human rights.

De Gucht also wants the Cyprus problem and the introduction of democratic reform in Turkey to be conditions for its membership.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news