30 June, 2005
BRUSSELS, 30/06/2005 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)
The European Commission on Wednesday presented a rigorous framework for accession negotiations with Turkey.
"The opening of the accession negotiations is recognition of the reforms already achieved in Turkey," EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said during his presentation of the framework.
"It gives this country a chance to demonstrate, through a fair and rigorous negotiation process, whether it is able to meet fully all the criteria required to join the EU. But we all know that it will be a long and difficult journey and we have to take into account the concerns of citizens," he added.
According to Rehn, the negotiating framework that the Commission is proposing to the European Council, is the most rigorous to date.
He reiterated that for talks to begin on October 3, Turkey must have brought into effect six pieces of legislation and must have signed the protocol extending the Ankara Agreement to the 10, new member states including Cyprus. Turkey has fulfilled the former requirement but the latter is still pending.
The Commissioner also emphasized the importance that Turkey's relations with Cyprus and commitment to good neighborly relations in general, will bear on the country's EU accession talks.
Furthermore, Rehn stressed the fact that negotiations are open-ended and do not guarantee accession, adding that if Turkey does not fully adopt EU principles then a 'special relationship' between the EU and Turkey is a possibility.
He also stressed that negotiations can be suspended at any time and that the European Commission or one-third of the EU member states may request suspension of talks.
"Turkey will have to adopt the rights and obligations of the European Union, and apply them by the time of accession, unless transitional arrangements are agreed. Long transitional measures, derogations, specific arrangements and permanently available safeguard clauses may also be considered," the Commission said in a press release.
Source: Athens News Agency