EU-Turkey negotiations should stop immediately - Austrian chancellor

The European Union should end accession negotiations with Turkey and pursue a different kind of cooperation with the country, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Greek newspaper Kathimerini in an interview published on Sunday.

“The EU-Turkey negotiations should stop immediately,” he said, adding that Turkey has steadily moved away from Europe and its values in recent years. However, he said Austria  has always been in favour of an “honest” relationship with the country.

Austria’s coalition government of  Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives and the anti-Islam Freedom Party, makes Austria the only western European country to have a far-right party in government. Austria took over the rotating six-month EU presidency this month, during which the EU is expected to focus on immigration and security as well as closer relations with the western Balkans.

Klemens Fischer, the head of Austria’s permanent representation to the EU, said on June 30 that the Austrian EU presidency would not lead to any developments in Turkey’s membership process. “Turkey will stay as a candidate, but we will not open any chapters,” Fischer said to journalist Firdevs Robinson.

“Turkey's accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen,” the European Council, one of the principal institutions of the EU, announced on June 27, following the presidential and parliamentarian elections held in Turkey on June 24.