Cyprus Mail

Kasoulides speaks out against Turkish moves in EU forum

Cyprus will not accept the opening of new negotiating chapters, the upgrading of the customs union or visa liberalisation, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stressed on Tuesday during his speech at the EU General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, which convened to prepare the conclusions of the upcoming EU Summit.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Kasoulides intervened both in the general debate on the course of Turkey and the implementation of the Immigration Agreement with Ankara.

On the liberalisation of visas he stressed the need for full and non-discriminatory implementation of the EU-Turkey re-admission agreement, as well as the need for Ankara’s cooperation with all member states in the fields of justice and home affairs.

In addition, during the debate on EU-Turkey relations, Kasoulides argued that Cyprus is firmly convinced that Turkey does not meet the Copenhagen criteria, while stressing that it is increasingly moving away from European standards and principles.

During the ministers’ debate on the conclusions on immigration, Kasoulides argued that the EU should adopt a holistic approach to tackling migratory pressures, and stressed the need for practical solidarity with the front-line member states and the implementation of the relocation programme.

Overall, Kasoulides said, “no developments should be expected in Turkey’s accession course in the visible future”.

Meanwhile, an EU official cited by CNA said the EU leaders’ summit at the end of the week will not issue written conclusions on Turkey.

The leaders, the official said, will have the opportunity to exchange views on Turkey during dinner, but “there will be no text that will be included in the conclusions”.

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