‘Turkey-EU negotiations should continue’

Turkey is not ready to join the European Union and the EU is not ready to accept it – «not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow» – but negotiations should continue, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in this interview with Kathimerini, as Turkish voters went to the polls yesterday. Barroso also commented on French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s persistence in raising obstacles to Turkey’s accession process, noting that this only undermined the EU’s credibility given its unanimous approval for the commencement of the talks. After all, he says, talks do not necessarily mean accession. Barroso praised Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis as a «patriotic Europhile» and personal friend, and highlighted Karamanlis’s «wise» policy toward Turkey by demanding only what was self-evident, namely that if Turkey wished to join the EU it had to fulfill certain criteria. Barroso also noted the considerable progress in the Greek economy and expressed satisfaction over the government’s efforts to reduce the deficit, but he would not be drawn into commenting on possibilities of an early parliamentary elections in Greece.

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