4 oktober: EU geeft groen licht voor Turkije en Kroatie (E)


4 oktober: EU geeft groen licht voor Turkije en Kroatie (E)

EU gives green light to Turkey and Croatia

In Short:

Turkey and Croatia are both on the official path to full EU membership after a long day of gruelling EU negotiations.

Brief News:

While Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik explained her position as a matter of "listening to the people", the national Austrian TV ORF spoke of "EU poker". Whatever the spin, the fact is that Plassnik gave in after a prolonged 24 hour plus negotiation session among EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on 3 October. Both Turkey and Croatia can now expect to start official membership talks in the near future.

Austria, which was isolated in its stance among the 25 EU nations, did not win its desired wording that the EU accession talks with Turkey could also lead to a 'privileged partnership'. What Plassnik did get was a green light to the start of talks with Croatia, a priority for Vienna.

This was made possible after Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the United Nations international war crimes tribunal, said for the first time that Croatia was "co-operating fully" in the efforts to catch Ante Gotovina, the indicted war criminal.

Commenting on BBC World Service, Director of the Brussels think tank CEPS Daniel Gros called it a classic EU deal. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who only arrived in Luxembourg during the night for the opening ceremony, after hours of waiting in limbo, told reporters that an "historic point has been reached today. Turkey has embarked on a new era".

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