Brussels, 13 December 2004 Press release

Foreign Minister Plassnik ahead of EU Summit


Call for open outcome of negotiations and specific arrangements for Turkey

Brussels, 13 December 2004 - "The Austrian position on the issue of Turkey remains unchanged, Austria is sticking to her course", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels today. Two days before the European Council Summit of EU Heads of State and Government, Plassnik insisted today on derogations, long transition periods, specific arrangements and permanent safeguard clauses in the event of an opening of accession negotiations with Turkey. According to the Foreign Minister, particularly important for Austria is that this negotiation process will be open ended, and that the opening of negotiations will not inevitably lead to Turkey’s EU membership.

The current proposals by the Dutch Presidency regarding Turkey must not be watered down now, said Plassnik, telling journalists: "What is currently available to us is a good basis on which we can continue to work". Austria is backing the demands for specific arrangements, for example in areas such as the labour market, agriculture and structural policy. "Also, the accession process should be accompanied by strict monitoring in several areas, such as human rights", said Plassnik.