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    A long night in Luxembourg: Vienna stalls EU on Turkey

    Hürriyet Haber
    03.10.2005 - 09:34 | Son Güncelleme:

    EU foreign ministers bartered through the evening without result last night in Luxembourg, postponing until the very last moment any decisive moves at the most critical juncture in the crossroads of the 40 year Turkish-EU adventure. Austria's insistant push to have an amendment offering "privileged partnership" in place of full EU membership placed in the framework document for the EU accession talks for Turkey was the major point of disagreement for EU ministers at last night's meeting.

    At a press conference following the meeting, England's Foreign Minister Jack Straw revealed that Vienna had stood alone in its stance, with voting going 24 to 1.
     
    Meetings to start up again this morning at 10:30
     
    Meetings began last night with dinner in Luxembourg, and lasted without breaks until 2 in the morning. Though there were ministers from all 24 countries represented, the discussions on the framework documents for Turkish talks were carried out in large between British FM Straw and Austrian FM Ursula Plasnik. EU Minister in charge of Expansion, Olli Rehn, also participated. Meetings between the ministers have been scheduled at begin again at 10:30 this morning. Turkish accession talks have not been scheduled to start until late afternoon today anyway, so theoretically, EU ministers have all day to come to some sort of an agreement.
     
    Austrians call for alternative to full membership to be presented from outset
     
    Austrian rejection of the current framework document hinges on a two-paragraph long section of the document which has to do with the EU's capacity for inclusion of Turkey in its body. Vienna is insisting that lines offering up a "privileged partnership" to Turkey be added to the end of these paragraphs, a suggestion countered by other EU countries, most noteably Britain. Straw has repeatededly asserted that "The EU must stand behind promises made to Turkey."
     
    Croatia factor
     
    The role played by Croatia in Austria's moves at this juncture can also not be underestimated. With Croatia's accession talks date pushed back due to its perceived non-compliance with the International Court of Human Rights, close ally Austria is insisting on a renewed date for Croatia along with acquiesence on the Turkey question from other EU countries.
     
    At the close of last night's unsuccessful meetings, EU high commissioner for security and defense, Javier Salona, said that he "did not even want to consider the option of not starting up talks meetings with Turkey."
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