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Brussels, 29 November 2006

Commission presents its recommendation on the continuation of Turkey’s accession negotiations

Following the announcement by the Finnish Presidency that diplomatic efforts to ensure that Turkey meets its obligations under the Ankara Protocol have not bear fruit, the Commission today decided to put forward its recommendation on the continuation of Turkey’s accession negotiations.

“There is a unanimous decision by the Member States to conduct accession negotiations with Turkey. These negotiations need to be credible. Turkey has undoubtedly made progress. But it has still not implemented all obligations it has agreed to. The Commission’s recommendation is both clear and measured. The overall progress of negotiations depends on the overall progress of the respect of the obligations agreed to.” – said after the decision Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn added: “Europe needs a stable, democratic and increasingly prosperous Turkey. This is why we started accession negotiations a year ago. In the light of the strategic importance of EU-Turkey relations today we confirm that these negotiations continue, although with a slower pace. We will be able to return to normal speed as soon as Turkey has fulfilled its obligations related to the Ankara Protocol.”

The Commission recommends, as follows:

1) The Commission notes that Turkey has not fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, and that restrictions to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport, remain in force.

2) In these circumstances and with reference to the declaration of 21 September 2005 of the European Community and its Members States, the Commission recommends that the Intergovernmental Conference on Accession with Turkey should not open negotiations on chapters covering policy areas relevant to Turkey's restrictions as regards the Republic of Cyprus until the Commission confirms that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments. These chapters are: Chapter 1 free movement of goods, Chapter 3 Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, Chapter 9 Financial services, Chapter 11 agriculture and rural development, Chapter 13 fisheries, Chapter 14 transport policy, Chapter 29 customs union, and Chapter 30 external relations .

3) Moreover, the Commission recommends that no chapter be provisionally closed until the Commission has confirmed that Turkey has fully implemented its commitments with respect to the Additional Protocol.

4) The Commission will inform the Council on any progress on the issues covered by the declaration of 21 September 2005 in its annual progress reports.

5) Given the progress achieved, work should now focus on completing the screening process. Such chapters for which the technical preparations have been completed should continue to be opened, in line with the Negotiating Framework.

6) The Commission underlines the importance of the resumption of a process leading rapidly to fully-fledged negotiations in 2007 under UN auspices on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.

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