02 August, 2006
Turkey has an obligation to implement the additional protocol in the Ankara Agreement without bargaining and seeking 'offset' benefits, stated deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Tuesday, stressing that from now on EU enlargements will be different from the previous ones and will include “political prerequisites” as well.
The peculiarities of the candidate states and the evolution of the EU itself during the past few years made the process even more political.
There are not only the known Copenhagen criteria, as candidate-states are also being evaluated on their ability to meet specific requirements of a political nature, added Valinakis in his address to the two-day Greek ambassadors conference taking place at the foreign ministry in Athens.
Referring to Turkey’s European prospects, he stressed that Ankara did not enjoy blind or unconditional support and that Greece was a demanding, strict and fair judge.
Valinakis underlined the importance of the European Commission's progress report on Turkey expected in the autumn, noting that the progress reports and the October 2005 Negotiating Framework and Partnership Relation are the cornerstones of Turkey's EU accession hopes.
For Greece, Turkey’s tangible commitment to observing good neighborly relations’ and refraining from threats of violence constitute the most crucial measure for Ankara’s evaluation, he said.
Referring to the Additional Protocol in the Ankara Agreement, Valinakis emphasized that Turkey must open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and aircraft and that this was definitely not negotiable.
The EU made it clear with its statement in September 21, 2005, that Turkey’s non-implementation of the Protocol will have repercussions on the negotiating process, the deputy minister added.
He also referred to EU aspirations for a single maritime policy, for which the European Commission had recently presented a Green Paper. He underlined that Greece hopes to play a leading role in drawing up this policy, adding that the sea is an ingredient of Greece’s identity and a source of wealth and culture as well as problems.
Valinakis also referred to the establishment of acquis in the sector of Justice and Interior, adding that on Greece’s part, a priority is given to close cooperation aimed at the more effective control of the EU external borders with an emphasis on sea borders.
Regarding the European Constitutional Treaty, he said that the ratification process should continue and the temptation to abandon it or selectively implement certain points of it should be avoided, stressing that Greece will contribute with all its powers to the effort for the greatest possible progress in settling this pending issue. Greece must remain part of Europe’s hard core, he stressed.
Valinakis called on the diplomats to not be limited to simply managing challenges in an era when “the only certainty is uncertainty itself” and to foresee and plan actions ahead to protect national interests in the best possible way thus enhancing the country’s international prestige.
Source: Athens News Agency