Michael Leigh, the man with the longest experience of anyone in the European Commission in issues of EU enlargement told an audience of journalists and diplomats at the FPA that Turkey needed to make progress across a raft of fundamental freedoms for current negotiations to bear fruit.[Click To Download Audio File]
Key reforms were needed in rules relating to political parties, and changes relating to the customs union of all EU members; Turkey's ports would need to be opened to all ships flying the EU flag, including ships from Cyprus.
Mr Leigh said the relationship between the EU and Turkey was "multi dimensional". The EU was Turkey's major export market; Turkey played a leading role in energy security, and in the "dialogue of civilisations".
Religion was not a factor. Special efforts were being made to settle what he called "the Cyprus problem", with the EU providing specialist technical and legal advice. Mr Leigh said that while there were differences, negotiations with Turkey were proceeding. On a more general level, EU enlargement policy had been very effective, but the enlargement agenda was not completed. The "3 Cs" were at the heart of EU enlargement: commitment, conditionality and communication. Far from putting the brakes on enlargement, the recession had had the opposite effect: Iceland was expected to apply soon.-- Christopher Wyld