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EU Commissioner Fule: Positive Agenda to put EU process back on track

17 May 2012 13:11 (Last updated 17 May 2012 14:21)
Fule said Positive Agenda, launched between Turkey and the union today, aimed at putting Turkey's stalled accession process back on track.

ANKARA 

EU's top enlargement official has said the Positive Agenda, officially launched between Turkey and the union today, aimed at putting Turkey's stalled accession process back on track.

"Positive Agenda should bring fresh dynamics and new momentum into our relations," said EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, appearing at a joint press conference with Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bagis in the Turkish capital.
"Our aim is to keep the accession process alive and put it properly back on track after a period of stagnation which has been a source of frustration for both sides," he said.
The Commissioner emphasized that Positive Agenda was not to replace, but to complement and support Turkey's accession process.
"At the same time, it is not an abstract concept, not a window dressing. It is about a new way of looking at accession negotiations. It is the new way we communicate and interact with each other. It is the way we look at each other as two equal partners," he said.
"The idea of positive agenda is to enhance our cooperation and to promote reforms in Turkey in areas of joint interest where progress is both needed and feasible," he added.
Fule listed these areas as alignment with EU legislation, political reforms and fundamental rights, visa, mobility and migration, trade, energy, counter-terrorism and dialogue on foreign policy.
"Reforms in these areas are crucial for enhancing freedoms and living standards of Turkish people ," the Commissioner said.
Fule also said the task of the working groups created within the scope of Positive Agenda would be to accelerate the process of alignment of Turkey with EU policies and standards under eight chapters. 
"This is indispensable for making progress in accession negotiations,'' he said.
Fule also noted that the Positive Agenda aimed at bringing back credibility to Turkey's EU accession process.
The Enlargement Strategy Paper published last October by the EU Commission included the proposal of creating a ''Positive Agenda'' in Turkish-EU relations.
The EU Commission listed a wide range of areas as the main elements of this agenda such as intensified dialogue and cooperation in political reforms, visa, mobility and migration, energy, fight against terrorism, more Turkish participation in the Community programmes, sister cities, trade and the Customs Union and support for efforts to comply with the acquis.
The agenda also foresees informal talks and exchange of views between the Commission and Turkey on blocked chapters.


EU Minister hopes positive agenda carries Turkey to full membership

The Turkish EU minister has expressed hope for the Positive Agenda process, officially initiated between Turkey and EU today, to carry his country closer to full membership.

''I hope, Positive Agenda will help us get closer to our ultimate goal, which is full membership to the EU,'' Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bagis said, while officially launching the Positive Agenda process, an initiative aiming at revitalizing Turkey's stalled accession talks, together with EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule in Ankara today.
Bagis introduced the Positive Agenda process as a temporary method seeking to improve the current negative atmosphere in Turkey-EU relations. 
The minister underscored that Positive Agenda was not an alternative to Turkey's accession talks, on the contrary, it aimed at supporting reforms and speeding up the process. 
He said, as a first step, working groups would be formed to carry out studies on eight chapters. ''The main goal is to be ready for the opening of frozen chapters when political blockage is finally lifted,'' he said.
The Enlargement Strategy Paper published last October by the EU Commission included the proposal of creating a ''Positive Agenda'' in Turkish-EU relations.
The EU Commission listed a wide range of areas as the main elements of this agenda such as intensified dialogue and cooperation in political reforms, visa, mobility and migration, energy, fight against terrorism, more Turkish participation in the Community programmes, sister cities, trade and the Customs Union and support for efforts to comply with the acquis.
The agenda also foresees informal talks and exchange of views between the Commission and Turkey on blocked chapters.
Commenting also on visa issue, Bagis defined EU's visa regime for Turkish citizens as unreasonable, irrational and unlawful.
''We want this injustice to be over,'' he said, ''We consider proposals regarding visa facilitation important, however, we see visa exemption as a right and we want it as soon as possible''.
Upon a question on chapters 23 (on judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (on justice, freedom and security) in Turkey's negotiation process, Bagis said Turkey had been taking remarkable steps regarding human rights, yet it kept receiving criticism on such issue.
Referring to a number of positive steps taken recently to improve the rights of different ethnical and religious groups in Turkey, Bagis said it was unfair that EU's demands from Turkey were not put forward clearly, adding that he hoped the Positive Agenda process would provide the opportunity to work on the issue in a more detailed way. 

 

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