The European Union is set to open two new policy areas in membership negotiations with Turkey and six with Croatia at accession conferences on Tuesday, EU sources said on Sunday.
EU president Germany had hoped to open three so-called negotiating chapters with Turkey, but France signalled it does not want to broach politically sensitive subjects it considers could prejudge the outcome of the negotiations.
Diplomats will formally take the decisions at a meeting on Monday, but Paris has made clear it will not allow Ankara to begin talks on economic and monetary policy.
The move reflects new French President Nicolas Sarkozy's declared opposition to Turkey ever joining the 27-nation club.
EU sources said they were concerned about how Turkey, in the midst of a general election campaign, would react to limiting the talks to statistics and financial control.
"There have been some indications that Turkey may not turn up or may downgrade its representation at the talks," one EU source said.
The EU last year suspended negotiations on eight of the 35 chapters into which European law is divided after Turkey failed to meet a requirement to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters in an interview last week he intended to speed up reforms required for EU membership after the July 22 election, which he predicted would deliver a strong mandate for change.
The EU's negotiations with Croatia are subject to no such political sensitivities and are set to take a leap forward.
Last Mod: 25 Haziran 2007, 11:26