France vows to rekindle Turkey’s frozen EU bid

France vows to rekindle Turkey’s frozen EU bid

France vows to rekindle Turkey’s frozen EU bid

FM Davutoğlu is seen with his French counterpart Fabius in this July 2012 photo. AP Photo

France is expected to submit new proposals to accelerate Turkey’s accession talks with the union as Paris sends strong signals that it is prepared to lift its block on at least one accession chapter during Ireland’s current bloc term presidency.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is expected to make the statement during a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu this weekend in Munich, where both men will attend an annual security conference, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. “Fabius will voice new proposals and will provide information on Paris’ intention to lift its block on the chapter on economic and monetary policy,” a source speaking on condition of anonymity said.

Five chapters were unilaterally blocked by France during former President Nicholas Sarkozy’s rule. But following the election of François Hollande last year, Paris softened its position on Turkey’s accession process.

Amid the new thaw, expectations are growing that the process will act as a catalyst for Turkey’s accession talks with the union.

Reviving long-stalled EU accession talks will top the ministers’ agenda, and the pair are expected to discuss a road map that would aid their cooperation to this end.

Elections in Greek Cyprus could also create a better climate between Turkey and the EU, according to sources. However, European diplomats have questioned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent statements that Turkey could join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization if the EU drags its feet on Turkish membership.

Paris to explain Mali

Davutoğlu and Fabius are also expected to discuss the developments in Mali. France launched a heavy military campaign against fundamentalist groups in northern Mali after the central government demanded help from France on Jan. 10. Turkey was among the opponents of the French offensive and publicly expressed its unease with the move. Fabius wanted to meet Davutoğlu in Davos but the two could only communicate through a phone call by the Turkish minister late Jan. 26.

According to sources, Fabius told Davutoğlu that French troops launched the operation following an official Malian request that armed fundamentalist groups were advancing toward the capital, Bamoko.

The French plan is to stop the militant groups and to protect the territorial integrity of Mali, sources said, adding that it would completely withdraw from the country after a political agreement is reached through political consultations.

Fabius also asked for Turkish help to this end but did not receive a concrete answer form Davutoğlu, sources said. The two ministers will further discuss ongoing developments in Syria and the international community’s failure to establish a strong and common front against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.