Turkey's ambitions to join the European Union suffered a setback Monday after EU foreign ministers, under pressure from France, dropped the term "accession" from a text referring to next week's talks with Ankara.
Unlike a similar text approved a year ago, the "Council conclusions on enlargement" text approved by ministers on Monday refers to this month's "Intergovernmental Conferences with Turkey and Croatia" and omits the term "accession" when referring to such talks.
Council sources said the final draft of the text was amended to appease France, whose President Nicolas Sarkozy has emerged as one of the strongest opponents of Turkey's entry into the EU.
Britain and Sweden, which both want Turkey to join the 27-member bloc, are believed to have expressed strong reservations over the approved text.
In their conclusions, ministers also regretted "the limited progress achieved in political reform in Turkey in 2007."
"Significant further efforts are also needed in other areas such as judicial reform, the fight against corruption, minority rights and the strengthening of cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights, trade union rights and the civilian control of the military," the statement said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2007, 18:12