Report: Sarkozy to call off Turkey referendum

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is hoping that this committee will advise scrapping the compulsory referendum on EU accessions, according to a senior correspondent of the prestigious French daily Liberation.

Report: Sarkozy to call off Turkey referendum
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who last month called for a "reflection committee" of senior politicians and experts to rethink the overall institutional balance of the French Republic, is hoping that this committee will advise scrapping the compulsory referendum on European Union accessions, according to a senior correspondent of the prestigious French daily Liberation.

Findings by Jean Quatremer, Liberation's veteran EU correspondent, attracted the attention of EU news portal EUobserver.com, which on Thursday analyzed what Quatremer meant in an article titled "France could reopen debate on Turkey referendum."

Following a recent amendment, the French constitution obliges the country's president to call a national referendum on the accession of every single new member state to the EU, EUobserver recalled, while noting that the amendment was a far-reaching provision introduced at the time by former French President Jacques Chirac.

The referendum clause -- which could lead to a series of French "no" votes against new states knocking on the EU's door -- is reportedly disliked not only by Sarkozy, but also by large sections of the country's political establishment, EUobserver said.

Getting rid of the automatic accession referendum would deprive Sarkozy of an important political tool to eventually block Turkish membership, with polls consistently showing that a large majority of the French are hostile to the idea, it said, adding that, "The president has not explicitly said he wants to scrap the planned Turkey referendum, with the Liberation blog only quoting an anonymous 'minister' in Mr. Sarkozy's government."

A senior French researcher, speaking to EUobserver, nevertheless asserted that "being against Turkish membership can well go hand-in-hand with being against the referendum."

"In Sarkozy's vision, Parliament should play a more central role in political life, including on European matters. One could well say: I am against Turkey being an EU member, but I have confidence in the parliament," Philippe Moreau Defarges of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, private CNN-Türk reported Thursday that the EU's executive body, the European Commission, has decided to release a regular progress report on Turkey on Nov. 7, a few weeks earlier than expected.

Yet diplomatic sources at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara were not able to confirm that the commission set an exact date for the release of the progress report, which assesses Turkey's performance in fulfilling necessary EU reforms in Ankara's bid to become a full member of the bloc. The commission brought forward the date for the release since it has made the assertion that it is possible for Ankara to fulfill the EU's expectations by Nov. 7, CNN-Türk also said.

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Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2007, 12:27
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