Ref. :  000015969
Date :  2004-12-13
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

"EU and Turkey on the threshold of a new phase"

Speech by Mr Olli Rehn
Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enlargement

Author :  Union européenne


European Parliament Plenary Session, Turkey debate
Strasbourg, 13 December 2004

It is a great pleasure to be here today for your debate on Turkey as the next meeting of the European Council approaches. In a few days time the Council will decide whether to open accession negotiations with Turkey. Few decisions in the EU context have attracted so much attention and speculation in recent months and years. Turkey has been the subject of an intense and sometimes passionate debate in the media and public opinion. It is re-assuring that wide-ranging analysis and debate are carried out in all our European institutions.

I have been following the work of the Parliament on Turkey very closely and would like to commend the members of this House for your commitment in this respect. In particular I would like to thank the rapporteur Mr Eurlings for his efforts and for the balanced report he has prepared in co-operation with the different political groups.

It is in the interest not only of the European Parliament but of the European Union as a whole to achieve a large consensus on such an important issue. In my view the revised version of the report, incorporating several compromise amendments, demonstrates the will of the House to obtain such a consensus. I would also conclude that, in so doing, the report in most respects follows the line of the Commission’s Recommendation. Of course I welcome very much this support.

Turkey is making progress in bringing into force the outstanding legislation identified by the Commission as needed in order to meet sufficiently the political criteria. We trust that the European Council will endorse our recommendation and take the historic step of announcing the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey, as long as this conditionality is met.

The Commission will actively support the next phase of EU-Turkey relations. We have proposed a strategy articulated around three pillars.

The first pillar consists of continued support for the reform process in Turkey. Political reforms must be broadened and their implementation must be consolidated, so that they become irreversible. Many of the issues mentioned in the report presented by Mr Eurlings will require further attention. I refer in particular the further consolidation of cultural rights, improving the situation of the religious communities, strengthening the fight against torture and ensuring full civilian control on the military.

Since 6 October there have been further encouraging developments. With the appointment of a civilian secretary general, the National Security Council is being transformed into an advisory body, and its activities are becoming more transparent. A large number of people previously sentenced for non violent expression of opinion have been set free. The new law on associations and the code of criminal procedure have been adopted. Of the outstanding measures identified by the Commission in October, only the law on execution of sentences remains to be adopted, and this is in the pipeline.

I can assure the Members of this House that the Commission remains committed to monitoring Turkey’s compliance with the Copenhagen political criteria. These criteria, the fundamental values on which the European Union is based, are not subject to negotiation.

The second pillar relates to the framework for accession negotiations with Turkey, taking into account the specific characteristics of the country. This does not mean discrimination. Turkey’s accession would be different from previous enlargements because of the combined impact of Turkey’s population, size, geographical location, economic, security and military potential. For example, I would remind you that Turkey’s population is close to the size of the ten new Member States as a whole.

Furthermore, the European Union can benefit from lessons learnt during the previous enlargement. Although this was a very successful process, we intend to propose some fine tuning to the negotiating framework, also for other potential new members. In line with equivalent provisions in the EU Treaty and the Constitution, we would also propose for future negotiations a suspension mechanism in case of serious and persistent breach of democratic principles.

The prospect of Turkey’s EU accession raises many legitimate questions. This subject gives rise to differing views, and the open public debate which has developed, both in the European Union and in Turkey, reflects a healthy democratic environment. For some citizens, it generates fears and concerns. It is therefore our duty to address these concerns among public opinion by facilitating a dialogue with the different partners in civil society. The third pillar of our approach to Turkey will be geared towards strengthening the political and cultural dialogue between EU and Turkish citizens. It is clear that your Parliament can play an important role in pursuing this project.

I would like to turn briefly to Cyprus, where I largely share the language in your report. The European Council in June welcomed the positive contribution of the Turkish government to the efforts of the UN Secretary General to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. Efforts to find a settlement must be renewed. It is clear that accession negotiations would be held in the framework of an inter-governmental conference comprising 25 Member States. We expect Turkey to sign a protocol extending the association agreement to all 25 Member States.

EU-Turkey relations have a long history. Turkey’s membership perspective dates back to the Association Agreement in 1963. In spite of the ups and downs witnessed in the last 40 years, Turkey’s vocation to join the European Union has been reaffirmed many times by the European Council, especially since Helsinki in 1999. The steady position adopted by the European Council over the years is that “Turkey is a candidate country destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to other candidate states”.

Turkey is at present going through a process of radical change, including a rapid evolution of mentalities. The prospect of accession has proved to be a catalyst for Turkey to embark upon far-reaching constitutional and legislative reforms. Political reforms have introduced changes ranging from improved civil liberties and human rights to enhanced civilian control of the military. Civil society has grown stronger.

I am convinced that the negotiation process will help to guide further reforms in Turkey. By its very nature, this is an open-ended process whose outcome cannot be guaranteed beforehand. Of course the ultimate objective of accession negotiations is accession. The idea of an alternative to accession is not on our agenda.

In its study done at a request of this Parliament, the Commission presented issues raised by Turkey’s EU membership perspective. Accession of Turkey to the Union would be challenging both for the EU and Turkey. If well managed, it would offer important opportunities for both. The necessary preparations for accession would last well into the next decade. The EU will evolve over this period, and Turkey should change even more radically. The acquis will develop further and respond to the needs of an EU of 27 or more. Its development may also anticipate the challenges and opportunities of Turkey’s accession. In any event, as set out in our Recommendation, this accession needs to be thoroughly prepared in order to allow for a smooth integration which enhances the achievements of fifty years of European integration.

This is our shared goal and I trust that we will succeed.


Rate this content
 
 
 
Average of 75 ratings 
Rating 2.15 / 4 MoyenMoyenMoyenMoyen
Same author:
 flecheMinimum wages in the EU in January 2007
 flecheThe Court of First Instance annuls the decision authorising the creation of Sony BMG
 flecheCommission proposes practical improvements to the way the European GMO legislative framework is implemented
 flecheEconomic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with ACP countries
 flecheBarcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership
 flecheEU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to meet Malinese President Toumani Toure; will recall EU Doha commitments on cotton trade
 flecheCommission provides an additional €4 M to victims of tropical storm Stan in El Salvador and Guatemala
 flecheHumanitarian aid: Commission allocates € 6 million for victims of the conflict in Nepal and for Bhutanese refugees
 flecheUnemployment rates of the total population by level of education (EU 25)
 flecheEU25 : Convergence and Competitiveness Objectives 2007-2013 (draft)
 flecheLa recherche à pas de géant
 fleche Un avenir européen pour le Kosovo
 flecheMobiliser les cerveaux européens: permettre aux universités de contribuer pleinement à la stratégie de Lisbonne
 flecheL'Institut universitaire européen de Florence propose un nouveau programme postdoctoral en sciences sociales
 flecheZimbabwe: Commission allocates €15 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups
 flecheWhat is a researcher? European Commission defines roles and responsibilities
 flecheAvian Influenza: Commission proposes updated measures aimed at preventing epidemics
 flecheEuropeans want policy makers to consider the environment as important as economic and social policies
 flecheStatement by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, to mark the first anniversary of enlargement, 1 May 2005
 flecheHow does the European Commission deal with ethical issues within its Framework Programme for Research and Development
 flecheDirective du Parlement Européen et du Conseil relative aux services dans le marché intérieur
 flecheInformation note of the European Court of Auditors on Special Report No 10/2004 concerning the audit of Devolution of EC external aid management to the Commission Delegations [1]
 flecheLessons from Spain: more focus on young voters needed and people should be informed to become convinced. Results of a post-referendum Eurobarometer in Spain
 flecheFree movement of goods: too many infringements are hampering economic growth
 flechePosting of workers: the Commission asks Greece and the Netherlands to end unjustified restrictions
 flecheEU research maximises regional dynamics, boosts competitiveness for EU SMEs
 flecheEuropean Commission welcomes G8 commitment to put Africa and Development high on its agenda
 flecheCustoms: Commission proposes strategy for simplified rules of origin
 flecheEurope's population is getting older. How will this affect us and what should we do about it?
 flecheLisbon strategy can make a significant contribution to growth, a Commission report shows
 flecheTreaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
 flecheCompetitiveness Council backs Commission “partnership for growth and jobs”
 flecheGender Mainstreaming in EU policies
 flecheEuropean Neighbourhood Policy: the next steps
 flecheDoha Round: EU Commissioners Mandelson and Fischer Boel travel to Kenya for multilateral trade talks
 flecheEuropean research infrastructures: a means to boost knowledge and fuel growth
 flecheMergers: Commission approves acquisition of Shell Gas by Repsol Butano
 flecheConférence sur la politique européenne de développement
 flecheCommission adopts favourable opinion on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania
 flecheEuropean researchers based in the US want more contact with Europe
 flecheThe Commission adopts a new Drugs Action Plan for 2005-2008
 flecheLes chercheurs européens établis aux États-Unis veulent un renforcement des contacts avec l’Europe
 flecheA reinforced transatlantic dialogue will be beneficial to the rest of the world
 flecheEuropean Commission accelerates preferential trade measures to benefit tsunami-hit countries
 flecheEU Trade Commissioner proposes trade measures to complement G8 push on debt, aid and development
 flecheEU launches new export help service for developing countries
 flecheSpecial ASEAN Summit
 flecheCommission sharpens fight against cross-border crime in the EU
 flecheEurobarometer on Constitution: a positive attitude, but a lack of information
 flecheLatest European regional statistics confirm Commission’s proposal on Structural Funds for 2007-2013
 flecheSurvey shows European public is largely at ease with euro three years after adoption
 flecheDeclaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Sudan – Signing of the comprehensive peace agreement on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi
 fleche “Mental illness is Europe’s unseen killer” says Markos Kyprianou
 flecheFrance: Commission pursues legal action for failures to respect six environment rulings of the European Court of Justice
 flecheNovember 2004: Euro-zone and EU25 unemployment stable at 8.9%
 flecheCommission’s report indicates that governments should do more to implement energy market opening measures
 flecheOctober 2004: Euro-zone external trade surplus 5.5 bn euro
 flecheBrussels European Council: Presidency conclusions
 flecheEIB AND Inter-American Development Bank sign memorandum of understanding
 flecheCommission launches public consultation on future programme for active citizenship
 flecheProtecting Europe from epidemics: Director named for new EU health agency
 flecheGreat Lakes Region - Humanitarian Situation
 flecheEurobarometer: marked improvement in perception of the European Union and what it does
 flecheBarcelona hosts the Festival of European Cinema, with the support of the MEDIA programme
 flecheEU equips parents with internet safety tools
 flecheEuropean Neighbourhood Policy: the first Action Plans
 flecheNature protection: Commission establishes largest ever list of protected areas in the EU
 flecheEU - China Summit : China now second trade partner of EU25
 flecheUN conference on climate change: EU set to keep momentum in the global fight against climate change
 flecheCommission consults public on action plan to reduce air pollution
 flecheFull text of the Constitution
 flecheEuropean Constitution : Procedures planned for the ratification
 flecheThe European Union and Emerging World Orders: Perceptions and Strategies - speech of Ján Figel, Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism
 flecheChemical Pollution: EU ratifies Stockholm POP Convention
 flecheCitizens make increasing use of the European Ombudsman
 flecheUNESCO negotiations on cultural diversity: the Commission obtains a mandate from the Council
 flecheEU strategy to enforce Intellectual Property Rights in third countries - facts and figures
 flecheEuropean Council - Conclusions
 flecheReport from the Commission to the Spring European Council: Delivering Lisbon - reforms for the enlarged Union
 flecheEU Presidency Statement - Migration issues
 flecheAccess to medicines: Commission proposes to allow export of generic medicines to poor countries
 flecheFourth Report on Citizenship of the Union
 flecheQuestions & Answers: The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol
 flecheThe European Anthem
 flecheDeveloping countries: facts and figures on the new EU scheme of trade preferences for 2006-2008
 flecheEU-ACP: EU, Commonwealth and Francophonie join hands in supporting ACP trade policy makers
 flecheYoung people and drugs: changing attitudes in the Member States since 2002
 fleche"The European Ombudsman: Could he help you?" : now available in 21 languages
 flecheWTO-Vietnam: EU and Vietnam conclude bilateral deal for Vietnam's accession to WTO
 flecheUS-Boeing: EU takes US to the WTO over subsidies granted to Boeing
 flecheASEM 5 Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, 7-9th October 2004
 flecheEU-Mercosur: EU presents its completed offer to Mercosur in on-going trade talks
 flecheLIFE+: Commission proposes new streamlined funding programme for the environment
 flecheEU-Mercosur: EU presents its completed offer to Mercosur in on-going trade talks
 flecheRomano Prodi, President of the European Commission, Conference on EMU and economic governance - Closing address
 flecheRecommandation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the Commission to participate, on behalf of the Community, in the
negotiations within UNESCO on the convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions.

 flecheEU can and must boost employment with the right policies
 flecheFor a more effective involvement of civil society in world trade talks
 flecheErasmus Mundus: 82 European universities launch programme
 flecheTrade and Development: success stories in EU trade-related assistance
 flecheGlobal efforts for the environment: Commission and UNEP to reinforce co-operation
 flecheCommission moves smartly to launch European Mobility Week
 flecheCommission launches stakeholder consultation on future climate change policy
 flecheJoining forces to alleviate poverty and hunger in developing countries
 flecheLabour Force Survey – 2003. Employment rate in the EU25 in 2003
 flecheEU-Pacific Trade: facts and figures
 flecheEU-ASEAN: Trade and Investment initiative makes headway
 flecheThe European Commission confirms the need for a Community regulatory framework for nuclear safety and radioactive waste management
 fleche'For Diversity. Against Discrimination' truck tour to help the drive against discrimination in the EU
 flecheUS Byrd Amendment – WTO says eight WTO Members may retaliate against the US – Joint Press statement by Brazil, Canada, Chile, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, and Mexico
 flecheEuropean demography in 2003 : EU25 population up by 0.4% to reach 456 million. One in 14 people in world live in the EU25

 flecheDarfur crisis: Commission releases a further 20 million euros in humanitarian aid
 flecheThe "Europass Training"
 flecheImplementation of EU environmental law: survey highlights serious shortcomings
 flecheLife expectancy in the member states of the European Union
 flecheEnlargement Day Celebrations - 25 Members of the EU at Farmleigh,Dublin
 flecheFurther European Union Support for the Presidential Elections in Afghanistan
 flecheSigning the Nice Treaty (February 26, 2001)
 flecheSolana, Javier
 fleche"Television without Frontiers"
 flecheLa politique de recherche et l'espace dans le Traité constitutionnel
 flecheWTO: EU committed to progress in WTO negotiations
 flecheEU INSPIREs better geographical info
 flecheFourth Euromed Trade Ministerial:
towards an integrated Euro-Mediterranean market

 flecheEmployment and poverty reduction in developing countries
 flecheCommission strengthens cohesion policy in the enlarged European Union
 flecheThe Commission proposes new Education, MEDIA, Culture and Youth programmes for 2007-2013
 flecheSudan/Chad: Commission earmarks further 18 million euros for victims of Darfur crisis
 fleche"1000 discussions for Europe" on the new Constitution
 flecheProtection de la couche d'ozone : la Commission intente une action contre neuf États membres
 flecheEU action against HIV/AIDS
 flecheDeveloping countries: Commission unveils system of trade preferences for next ten years - simple, transparent and objective
 flecheLe Prix Prince des Asturies « Coopération internationale » attribué au programme Erasmus
 flecheEU-Africa Cotton Forum: Pascal Lamy proposes a joint strategy for African countries
 flecheHealth in developing countries - Commission and World Health Organization join forces to deliver on development goals

 flecheRoadmap for EU-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation and Transparency
 flecheMobility of researchers: the EU proposes new prospects and opportunities
 flecheGlobalisation and Trade: How to make sure there is space for development?
 flecheDeclaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Darfur, western Sudan
 flecheEU EPICA research project: solving the climate change puzzle?
 flecheMap showing the use of the euro
 flecheUnião Européia
 flecheBalkans occidentaux: lancement des premiers partenariats européens

 flecheGlossary
 flecheEU citizens in favour of a common asylum and immigration policy
 flecheEU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
 flecheBrussels European Council: PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS
 flecheSeptember 2003 Euro-zone unemployment stable at 8.8%
 flecheEU-ACPs: opening of trade negotiations with West and Central Africa
 flecheDraft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
 flecheThe full text of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
 flecheEuropean Commission regrets US decision to file WTO case on GMOs as misguided and unnecessary
 flecheAthens Declaration
 flechePremier Forum des Parlementaires Africains pour le Nouveau Partenariat pour l'Afrique (NEPAD)
 flecheL' "Amendement Byrd" en infraction avec les règles de l'OMC
 flecheEuropean Union launches coalition of like-minded states to deliver World Summit renewable energy goals
13
SEARCH
Keywords   go
in 
Translate this page Traduire par Google Translate
Share

Share on Facebook
FACEBOOK
Partager sur Twitter
TWITTER
Share on Google+Google + Share on LinkedInLinkedIn
Partager sur MessengerMessenger Partager sur BloggerBlogger
Other items
where is published this article: