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Unfreezing a first step for reviving accession negotiations

EU foreign ministers today gave the go-ahead to the opening of the next negotiating chapter (on regional policy) in EU accession negotiations with Turkey, after more than 3 years of delay. The Greens welcomed the decision but called for more ambition in the talks, particularly on fundamental rights. Commenting on the decision, Green MEP and chair of the EP's Turkey delegation Hélène Flautre said:

"Today's decision brings an end to the freeze on accession negotiations with Turkey and we welcome that those member states that had blocked progress have finally been convinced to yield. For several years both the Commission and the European Parliament have called for the opening of this chapter on regional policy for which Turkey fulfils the defined benchmarks. Today this next step can finally be taken.

"Regional policy is a real challenge for Turkey: during the negotiations on this chapter, the EU should support and encourage greater decentralisation of the state in Turkey, including through constitutional reform. A better distribution of powers between Ankara and regions will help the peace process on the Kurdish question.

"Today's unfreezing is a first step: the EU must now truly revive accession negotiations with Turkey. This will be the most effective way to support the process of democratisation in Turkey, notably through the opening of the negotiating chapters on fundamental rights (chapters 23 and 24) and by offering a credible negotiating agenda."

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