§ Lord Moynihan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they anticipate that a start date will be given to Turkey for accession negotiations to the European Union; and whether the new United Kingdom-Turkey Action Plan will advance such negotiations. [HL470]
§ The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
The Copenhagen European Council agreed that "if the European Council in December 2004, on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission, decides that Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria, the European Union will open accession negotiations with Turkey without delay". Her Majesty's Government welcomes this and encourages the Turkish Government to continue with its eocnomic and political reforms in preparation. The UK Action Plan for Turkey, formally launched by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary in Ankara on 3 December, includes a wide range of bilateral reform initiatives, aimed at helping Turkey to prepare for EU membership.