SELÇUK GÜLTAŞLI

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SELÇUK GÜLTAŞLI
December 13, 2006, Wednesday

Finland Insists on Opening one more Chapter

EU term president Finland wants to begin negotiations with Turkey on one more EU accession chapter before Dec. 31.

Following the compromise reached at the foreign ministers meeting Monday, Finland asked for the opening of membership talks in at least one of the chapters, which had not been opened because of the Greek Cypriot veto. Diplomats who spoke to Zaman hope that after the compromise the Greek Cypriots will not obstruct the chapters ready for negotiation. In a statement he made in Strasbourg on Tuesday, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said the European Union was ready to open new chapters for negotiations with Turkey within this year.

The attitude of the Greek Cypriots toward the compromise will be clarified in the days ahead.

The chapter on economic and monetary policies will be reportedly opened for de facto negotiations before the end of the year. Dec. 21 is the deadline for the opening of a new chapter for negotiation under the Finnish term presidency. The European Union will interrupt its works on Dec. 22 because of the upcoming Christmas vacation.

Meanwhile, the expression in the commission decision implying that the ports issue will be reviewed in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and the uncertainty as to what will happen if there is no development with regard to the issue after 2009 are matters of controversy. A high level EU official who spoke to Zaman said that not even a single moment was allocated to the question as to what would happen after 2009 during the lengthy deliberations at the meeting. The same official, recalling that 2009 was referred to as a deadline, and the decision did not include any expression suggesting that a review would be run after that date, also claimed that the anti-Turkey front was “defeated.”

The text of the document with regard to the trade directive adopted by the foreign ministers on Monday includes the following: The council notes the progress made with regard to the financial aid directive on the implementation of the April 2004 decisions which aims the unification of Cyprus. Works that aim for the unification of the Republic of Cyprus’s regions not controlled by the Republic of Cyprus Government and the adoption of the Commission recommendation on the private trade conditions.