The European Union’s leaders are in Brussels to decide the terms for the start of membership negotiations with Turkey, but everyone still has to agree; Next year is looking likely.
The Netherlands is chairing the summit, as the EU’s current presiding nation. The European Commission has urged Turkey to show Europeans it is ready for EU entry talks, to reassure public opinion in the 25-member bloc. Britain is one of Turkey’s strongest supporters.So is Germany, both these at government level — many Germans are not in favour. The same for the French, though President Chirac is enthusiastic. Turkey believes it has earned the right to start talks after a recommendation from Brussels in October that it had met strict political, human rights and rule of law criteria. Discussions looked set to go late into the night and continue into Friday. A joint position adopted by conservative and Christian Democratic EU leaders ahead of the summit said: “It is presumed that Turkey will normalise its relations with Cyprus”. They also said the EU’s ability to function was as important as Turkey’s fulfilment of the membership criteria.