Austria wants to formally end accession talks with Turkey as a full membership to the bloc would be ‘not conceivable for us’, Chancellor Karl Nehammer told die Welt following a recent push by Turkey to revitalise stalled negotiations.
While Nehammer stressed that Turkey would remain an important partner on an international level, there would be no prospect of Ankara ever joining the EU.
“It is important that we deal honestly with each other, and this also includes formally ending the accession negotiations that have been frozen for years and developing a new concept for neighbourly cooperation,” Nehammer said.
“We are in favour of further rapprochement between Ankara and Brussels, but full membership of Turkey in the EU is not conceivable for us,” he added.
Nehammer emphasised that Turkey would remain an important partner and that he will meet with Erdogan “in the near future.”
The negotiations between Turkey and the EU have been running for 18 years, but have stalled in recent years due to the country’s democratic backsliding and erosion of the rule of law after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on power following the 2018 presidential elections.
However, Turkey has recently renewed its bid to join the EU, with foreign minister Hakan Fidan stating last week that “the European Union cannot be a truly global actor without Turkey.”
“It is vital that the path to Turkey’s EU membership is cleared and the perspective for membership is revitalised,” he added at a press conference following a meeting with EU’s Neighbourhood Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.
Varhelyi also stressed that a new discussion on Turkey’s accession could be triggered if Ankara presented a “credible roadmap” regarding reforms “related to democracy and the rule of law,” he said following the meeting.
However, opening a new chapter in the EU accession requires unanimity among EU member states, Austria would thus be able to veto such a decision.
(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)
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