World Bulletin/News Desk
The European Union (EU) is expected to launch official talks on a new chapter with Turkey on November 5, according to sources familiar with the process.
The Union's top heavyweight, Germany, signaled it will retract its opposition to open a new chapter with Turkey after a general election is over with Chancellor Angela Merkel's crushing victory. On the eve of the EU ministers’ talks in Luxembourg, Germany confirmed through official sources that it will not raise any objection to opening membership talks with Ankara on Chapter 22, Regional Policy. Also, the Netherlands' parliament gave a green light to open a new chapter.
Against this background, EU and diplomatic sources commented that they do not expect any new hurdles at Tuesday’s EU ministers’ meeting that will decide to open a chapter with Turkey and said the talk with Turkey on 22nd chapter will be launched officially on November 5. Sources told that the EU Commission’s stance, in particular enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule's, on opening talks and "balanced" progress report eased possible risk on the way of opening a new chapter.
The EU had initially planned to open Chapter 22 in Turkey’s accession talks in June. But due to the disagreements between Brussels and Ankara in the aftermath of the Gezi Park protests and due to the opposition by Berlin, the final decision has been delayed to October.
EU foreign ministers reached a political agreement on June 25 to open Chapter 22 but said that they would determine the date for the Inter-Governmental Conference on opening the chapter on October 22, after the presentation of the European Commission's progress report on Turkey and following a review of the political situation.
As a candidate country, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations in 35 policy chapters, which foresee reforms and adoption of European standards, in various policy areas for its EU membership. Since 2005, Turkey has started negotiations on 13 chapters. No new chapters have been opened in the past three years, mainly due to the Cyprus issue and the blockage by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposed Turkey's EU membership.Last Mod: 21 Ekim 2013, 15:31