The keenly awaited reports for Turkey and Western Balkan countries, about their progress towards European Union membership, will be published on Nov. 8 rather than Oct. 24. An enlargement spokesperson in Brussels said the change was due to a simple moving around of subjects in the EU executive body’s busy schedule.
The European Commission’s recommendation on whether Bulgaria and Romania should join the EU in 2007 or 2008 is due on Sept. 26 as planned. The delay came as Turkey’s parliament convened nearly two weeks ahead of schedule to debate more reforms under the entry process. Analysts say the planned changes are likely to fall short of what Brussels wants.
Yet the postponement could also give the EU and Turkey more time to resolve their dispute over the divided island of Cyprus. Senior EU officials will visit Turkey on Oct. 17, for talks before the publication of the report. The EU wants Turkey to honour its commitment to open sea and air ports to Cypriot traffic, but Ankara says that first the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriots in the north must be ended.