ANKARA, Dec 15, (Asia Free Press): The European Union (EU), a political and economic union of 27 member-states from Europe, have emphasized its commitment to maintaining an open and frank dialogue with Turkey, including addressing common challenges and cooperating in essential areas of joint interest such as migration, public health, climate, counter-terrorism and regional issues, Turkish media reported.
EU affairs ministers met in Brussels for the year’s last General Affairs Council meeting. They made preparations for the EU Leaders’ Summit to be held on Dec 16, 2021, to discuss the EU’s 2022 agenda items and evaluate the latest situation regarding the union’s enlargement.
“The Council takes note of the recent resumption of High Level Dialogues between the EU and Turkey on several of these issues, as well as the ratification by Turkey of the Paris Agreement on climate change,” a statement said after the meeting.
The statement also highlighted that it commends Turkey’s continued significant efforts in hosting and addressing the needs of almost 4 million refugees.
On the other hand, it noted concerns in the areas of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, as well as the “systemic lack of independence of the judiciary.”
The statement also said that Turkey’s foreign policy has been colliding with the EU’s priorities under the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including Libya and Operation IRINI. It added that the Council expects Turkey and all actors to contribute positively to resolving regional crises.
“The Council notes with regret that Turkey continues to move further away from the European Union and recalls its previous conclusion which noted that Turkey’s accession negotiations therefore effectively have come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing,” it said.