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The EU and Turkey begin talks on the Food Safety chapter

01. July 2010. | 07:13

Source: EMGportal

On Wednesday, Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, announced the opening of a new chapter on Food and Veterinary Safety in the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey, which he said are important not just in themselves, but because they prove the process is still "alive and progressing."

On Wednesday, Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, announced the opening of a new chapter on Food and Veterinary Safety in the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey, which he said are important not just in themselves, but because they prove the process is still "alive and progressing."

"The political importance (of the opening of the new chapter) is obvious. It shows again that the accession process is still alive and progressing” and that Europe is steady in its commitment, Moratinos said, adding that this is “good news for everyone who wants to make progress in the strategic relationship between Turkey and the EU.”

Moratinos pointed out that Food and Veterinary Safety is also important because it is the first step for Turkey to align itself with European Union standards.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement, Štefan Füle, added that the so-called chapter 12 is “one of the most important,” and Turkey's Minister of Agriculture, Mehdi Eker, pointed out that “food policy is at the heart of life” and that the opening of negotiations is "the tangible sign of Turkey's desire” to progress towards integration.

Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu, alluded to some EU countries' reticence to Turkey's accession, saying it has been possible to meet the objectives of the chapter that is currently open, since it is technical, with the co-operation of the Spanish Presidency and the Commission. “Our commitment has not changed one jot... but there are political criteria that greatly hinder the process,” he pointed out.

Davutoglu thanked the Spanish Presidency for the visa facilitation agreement reached during its term, and for its efforts on extending the process of EU enlargement to the Balkans.

He said the co-operation between this Presidency and Ankara during the Balkans conferences had shown what Turkey and the EU are capable of as partners.

When asked about his initial objectives of opening four chapters in the negotiations with Turkey during the Spanish Presidency, Moratinos said that if ambitious goals had not been set at the outset then nothing would have been achieved.

Moratinos stated that the incident of the flotilla taking aid to Gaza, which was attacked by Israel, which lead to tensions in relations between Israel and Turkey, did not pose any problem. “No significant event could make us change our strategic position towards Turkey,” said the minister.

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