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EU Affairs Committee engages with principal Turkish negotiator

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs this afternoon met with Egemen Bagis, the Turkish Minister for Europe and Principal Negotiator for EU Membership for a detailed discussion on Turkish membership of the European Union.

18 December 2012

In 1987, Turkey applied to join what was then the European Economic Community, and in 1997 it was declared eligible to join the EU. Turkey's involvement with European integration however dates back to 1959.

Committee Vice-Chairman Paschal Donohoe says: “Our Committee thanks Minister Bagis for a candid and open exchange this afternoon. The Minister explained to us that Turkey’s long accession process, in which greater democracy, transparency and prosperity have been nurtured, was more important in many ways to his country’s progress than the end goal of European Union membership. Our Committee takes on board the argument that it is in the mutual interest of both Turkey and the European Union that accession negotiations, which are currently stalled, regain momentum in the near future.

“Turkey has grown rapidly in recent years while the European Union has faltered economically and popular support within Turkey for EU membership has fallen considerably as a consequence. Minister Bagis was emphatic in his view that the EU’s role in peace-building  and fostering stability was a greater attraction to Turkey than any economic argument. A number of Committee Members however, some supportive of Turkey’s membership of the European Union, called for increased efforts to secure a lasting peace agreement in Cyprus.

“The exchange of views with Minister Bagis today will inform the Committee’s future debate, particularly over the course of the Irish Presidency of the European Union which commences on 1 January. The next COSAC plenary meeting,  an interparliamentary conference of EU affairs committees to be hosted by this Committee in Dublin Castle in June, is scheduled to discuss enlargement in detail.”   

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Houses of the Oireachtas,
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Committee Membership
Dominic Hannigan, TD (Chairman)
Paschal Donohoe, TD (Vice-Chairman)
Seán Crowe, TD
Timmy Dooley, TD
Bernard J Durkan, TD
John Halligan, TD
Colm Keaveney, TD
Seán Kyne, TD
Joe O’Reilly, TD

Colm Burke,
Fidelma Healy Eames,
James Heffernan,
Terry Leyden,
Kathryn Reilly