Babacan: Turkey expects fair EU presidency from France
Turkey expects France to treat its hopes for accession to the European Union fairly when it takes over the EU's rotating presidency on July 1, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Tuesday.
"We expect the French presidency will be a fair, impartial and transparent presidency term, as we have been told on various levels," Babacan said after an accession meeting with EU officials in Luxembourg, reported dpa.
"We expect that our accession process will be advanced during the French presidency," he added.
At the meeting Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership, opened accession talks with the EU on issues of intellectual property rights and company law.
Each EU member state in turn holds the presidency of the 27-member bloc for a six-month period, and is largely expected to set the union's agenda during that period.
France has emerged in recent years as one of the main EU opponents to Turkey's EU accession. Before his election in May 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he was against such a move, leading some Turks to fear that he could use the EU presidency to stall further accession talks.
The French Senate is currently discussing proposals to alter the constitution, making it obligatory for France to hold a referendum if any country whose population is more than 5 per cent of the total EU population wishes to join.
Turkey has criticized that proposal, which would only impact on it and Ukraine among the states currently hoping for EU membership.
"We hope that a transparent and just settlement will be found," Babacan said in relation to that proposal