The upcoming annual Progress Report from the European Union for Turkey is expected to be the “toughest” yet, but the bloc remains eager to launch talks for a new negotiation chapter, an EU diplomat has told the Daily News.
The bloc feels that a new negotiation chapter would help keep Ankara anchored to the union and its values, the diplomat said. The next progress report is due to be released on Oct. 16. The General Affairs Council of the EU will discuss launching talks with Turkey on Chapter 22, Regional Policies, at its upcoming meeting on Oct. 22. At the meeting, members of the union are likely to agree to launch negotiation talks with Turkey on a new chapter, despite the hesitations of some member countries due to way the Turkish government tackled the Gezi Park protests, the diplomat added.
Although Germany and the Netherlands have hesitations, the EU apparently wants to keep Turkey “on board.”
Turkey has received positive signs from Brussels about conducting the formal launch of talks on Nov. 5 for Chapter 22, but the date of the intergovernmental conference will only become certain at the Oct. 22 meeting. The EU had planned to open the chapter on regional policies with Turkey in June, in what could have helped revive Ankara’s bid to join the union after three years of standstill. However Germany, backed by Austria and the Netherlands, blocked the opening of the chapter, believing it would send the wrong signal so soon after police cracked down on protesters across Turkey in the Gezi demonstrations. EU member states agreed to open the chapter on regional policies, but delayed the formal launch of talks until after the Oct. 16 report by the European Commission on reforms and human rights in Turkey. Meanwhile, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle welcomed a democratization package announced earlier this week by the Turkish government during a meeting in Brussels with EU Minister Egemen Bağış.