Austrian presidency will not progress EU-Turkey relations – diplomat

Klemens Fischer, the head of Austria’s permanent representation to the EU, said that the Austrian EU presidency would not lead to any developments in Turkey’s membership process, journalist Firdevs Robinson said.

“You do know the position of my government. That will not change. As a chair, we will moderate. Turkey will stay as a candidate, but we will not open any chapters,” Robinson quoted Fischer as saying.

“If I go back to my academic background, I would say that we should see what Mr. Erdoğan will do with his new power first. Let’s wait. What I do not like is judging before anything happens.”

Austria would focus on the EU’s immigration and security as well as closer relations with the western Balkans as EU president, Fischer said.

Turkey and Austria have been on poor terms in recent years, with a Turkish presidential spokesman calling a move by Austria earlier this month to close down mosques accused of radicalism “a reflection of the Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave” in the country.

Austria’s chancellor called for the EU to end Turkey’s membership bid in March this year.