Cardiff Summit: Turkey sees EU hopes dashed

THE FRAUGHT relations between the European Union and Turkey if anything worsened yesterday, as the Cardiff summit failed both to explicitly recognise Turkey as a candidate for membership, and register any progress towards releasing 375m Ecu (pounds 240m) owed Ankara under existing agreements.

The ostensible culprit - as usual - was Greece, which strenuously resisted all efforts by the British presidency to mend some of the fences broken at last December's EU summit in Luxembourg, when the EU refused to accept Turkey as a fully fledged candidate.

Thus an attempt failed to have Ankara classified in the final communique alongside the other 11 countries with whom accession negotiations have either begun or been promised. Instead, Turkey has again to make do with vague wordings, which in reality mark no advance from Luxembourg, where it was described as "eligible" for membership.

On the financial front too, deadlock is complete. The British had hoped to slip in either a smaller financial payment to Turkey, or a clear instruction to the Commission in Brussels to look for ways of finding the money which sidestepped a Greek veto. But to no avail. The Commission will now merely "reflect" on how to "underpin" the EU's "strategy" that would prepare Turkey for membership.

The dispute now threatens to poison other key areas of EU policy. In retaliation at the Greek veto, France struck out a reference to the hope of quick progress in entry negotiations with the batch of six countries - among them Cyprus - which started on 31 March. Greece, naturally, is very keen on the earliest possible entry of the Greek Cypriot state, but France has several times urged that talks with Nicosia be suspended until the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot parts of the island are reunited.

But irritation is not only directed at Athens. "The Turks haven't done their cause any good," one Brussels official said last night of Ankara's refusal to attend last month's planned EU-Turkey talks. Moreover, if Greece is in a minority of one on the matter of releasing the promised funds for Turkey, its visceral hostility to Turkish membership of the Union is shared - albeit more quietly - by Germany and other countries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent