Thursday, 6 October 2005
Dermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
A task force, involving representatives of a number of EU member states, met Ms Del Ponte before the start of the discussions on Croatia's accession to the EU. The EU Foreign Ministers made their decision on the basis of a report that was issued to the General Affairs and External Relations Council by Ms Del Ponte.
To be fair, the issue of Croatia's accession was not linked at any stage with the issue of Turkey's accession. They were dealt with as two separate issues during the discussions. Ireland's position on the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, which was maintained throughout the EU discussions, is absolutely clear. We do not feel that the opening of negotiations on EU membership with Turkey should be conditional on that country's recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. However, we continue to acknowledge the need to move towards the normalisation of relations between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus as the accession talks develop.
We anticipate that the accession talks will continue for a considerable length of time. The conclusions which were adopted indicate that Turkish accession cannot be countenanced until the acceptance of the next phase of financial perspectives, which will kick into place in 2014. It is recognised and understood that Turkey cannot accede to the EU until it recognises fully all states, including the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey's accession to the EU presupposes, in effect, Turkey's recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.