A new chapter in Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU will be opened in Brussels tomorrow after a three-year break. Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius is to lead a European Union delegation at the Intergovernmental Accession Conference.
The EU General Affairs Council recently adopted a decision to open Chapter 22 (Regional policy and Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments) with Turkey, paving the way for the resumption of the accession negotiations with Turkey during the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council.
The European Commission has presented its annual Progress report on Turkey stating that Turkey is a strategic partner for the EU and that the full potential of the EU–Turkey relationship is best fulfilled within the framework of an active and credible accession process. The European Commission has also underlined that the accession negotiations need to regain momentum and that opening of Chapter 22 after a long stalemate in the negotiations is an important step in this direction.
The Turkish delegation at the Intergovernmental Accession Conference will be led by Egemen Bağış, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, and Dr. Cevdet Yilmaz, Minister of Development of Turkey. The European Commission will be represented by Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy.
Candidate countries in their accession negotiations have to close 35 thematic chapters. Turkey has opened 14 chapters and has preliminary closure on one chapter.