Dutch MPs urge tough EU stand on Turkey

Dutch MPs and MEPs have criticised the European Commission’s decision to partially stop talks on Turkey’s application to join the EU, saying the move does not go far enough, the Volkskrant reports this morning. Turkey has refused to open its ports to traffic from Cyprus, which is one of the preconditions for Turkish entry.

Dutch Christian Democrat MEP Camiel Eurlings, who is closely involved with the Turkish negotiations, said the EU’s decision was weak. ‘A solution for the Cyprus problem had always been a cast iron condition. I really wonder if member states are going to think this move goes far enough?,’ he told the paper.
In the Dutch parliament, a majority of parties have also criticised the EU. The PvdA (Labour) and VVD (Liberals) both want the talks to be put on ice altogether. Talks should only resume when Turkey has changed its position on the Cyprus question, VVD MP Hans van Baalen said in the Volkskrant. In addtion, Turkey should also be prepared to discuss the Armenian genocide, he said. The Christian Democrats back giving Turkey until the December 11 EU ministers meeting to change its position.
European Commissioner Olli Rehn says it was important to continue negotiations on 26 of the 35 points. ‘The EU needs a stable and democratic Turkey more than ever,’ he said. ‘And Turkey needs us, both politically and economically.’

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