Magazine article Europe-East

Enlargement : Turkey Irked at Exclusion from Berlin Birthday Celebrations

Magazine article Europe-East

Enlargement : Turkey Irked at Exclusion from Berlin Birthday Celebrations

Article excerpt

Turkey expressed its disappointment on 20 March about Germany's decision to exclude candidate countries (Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia) from the European Union's 50th birthday celebrations in Berlin on 24-25 March, saying it was a missed opportunity to display a united European family.

The invitation of candidate countries to Berlin "would have been a meaningful approach in demonstrating once again the unity of the European family," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a short statement.

There is no established procedure as regards the invitation of the candidate countries to the EU's formal and informal meetings and it is mainly left to the decision of the country holding the presidency. The forthcoming celebrations are meant, however, to be special and different from the usual high-level EU meetings. The EU member states are going to mark the 50th anniversary of the Union by sending a political message to the world on the bloc's achievements and defining the direction for the EU in the coming years. The so-called Berlin Declaration, which is set to be adopted by the EU on 25 March, would include a reference to the EU's enlargement policy. The German Presidency tried to reach a consensus among the member states on the final wording of the reference in question at the last EU summit in Brussels.

The countries seem, however, to be divided on the issue of future enlargement. The new' member states, led by Poland and such countries as the UK and the Nordic states, press for the Berlin Declaration to stress that the EU should continue to enlarge. …

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