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Austrian Demand On Turkey Blocks EU Enlargement Recommendations

  • RFE/RL

Austria has demanded the freezing of EU talks with Turkey because of Ankara's crackdown on civil society since July's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured, file photo).

BRUSSELS -- European Union states have failed to agree on the latest European Commission recommendations about EU enlargement after Austria said it wants to freeze accession negotiations with Turkey.

A meeting in Brussels on December 13 was meant to result in fresh recommendations for Turkey, other EU candidates, and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans.

But during negotiations about the recommendations, Austria demanded the freezing of talks with Turkey because of Ankara's crackdown on civil society since July's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The European Parliament in November adopted a non-binding resolution calling for a temporary freeze.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said during the Brussels meeting that "one country was unable to support" a compromise on the text of recommendation that the 27 other EU members had accepted.

Diplomats told RFE/RL the dispute will slow Turkey's membership bid further.

They said there were no direct consequences for Balkan countries like Serbia and Montenegro, but the dispute could send a worrying signal about the EU's desire to enlarge further.

With reporting by RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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