Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met the new Turkish Minister of European Affairs and the Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır in Brussels today. It was their first meeting since the appointment of Mr Bozkir to his current position and it offered an opportunity to exchange views on EU-Turkey relations in general and on the accession process of Turkey, including the upcoming Progress report.
Commissioner Füle expressed the conviction that constructive cooperation between the EU and Turkey will continue. He also stressed that Turkey is a key partner for the EU and advocated a deepening of relations in all areas where there is still huge, untapped potential, including economy and trade, foreign policy dialogue, visa and migration policy and energy. In this context the Commissioner underlined the strategic importance of Turkey for the EU and confirmed the role of the accession negotiations as the central engine of EU-Turkey relations. They both agreed on the need to re-engage on the EU Positive agenda.
With reference to the upcoming annual Progress Report of the European Commission on Turkey's progress in the accession process, Commissioner Füle recalled that the report always gives a factual account of developments and objectively reflects both positive and negative developments that took place in Turkey over the last 12 months. As every year, the Commission would give credit where it is due and would recommend addressing the existing shortcomings.
The Commissioner recalled the necessity to enhance engagement with the Commission on the rule of law and fundamental rights...He stressed the importance of the Ministry for European Affairs in ensuring the coordination and compatibility of the new legislation with the EU laws and underlined the need for this Ministry to have all necessary conditions to do its crucial work on bringing Turkey closer to the EU.
Commissioner Füle appreciated the common understanding with Minister Bozkır about the importance of the Civil Society in this process.
Concluding the meeting, Commissioner Füle expressed the hope that under the next Commission, EU-Turkey relations would continue to develop in order to achieve their full potential for the benefit of both EU and Turkish citizens.