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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.01.11: Core EU states put squeeze on Portugal to accept bail-out - 0 views

  • Major European powers are putting the squeeze on Portugal to follow Greece and Ireland and knock on the doors of EU and IMF bail-out resources. Reports over the weekend quote senior European sources as saying Berlin, Paris and other core eurozone capitals are leaning heavily on Lisbon to apply for a financial rescue, although the Portuguese government continues to deny that any pressure is being mounted.
  • The eurozone core fears that if a firewall is not built around Portugal, investor nervousness could spread to Spain, a much larger economy than those of the two states - Greece and Ireland - that have already been bailed out. However, formal negotiations with Lisbon have yet to begin, the source continued, and discussions have yet to match the pace of similar talks ahead of the Greek bail-out last May or that of Ireland last November. Should Portugal decide to ask for a rescue, the bill would amount to between €60 and €80 billion, the source said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.12.10: EU's big three call for long-term budgetary restraint - 0 views

  • The EU's three largest member states - Germany, France and the UK - are set to publish a text on Saturday (18 December), calling for spending restraint in the bloc's long-term financial framework (post 2013). Initiated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the letter will call for a freeze in the long-term spending plan, excluding inflation, and also seek to rein in the bloc's 2012 and 2013 annual budgets.
  • The move puts the group of large member states on a direct collision course with the Brussels-based EU institutions, already battered after their call for a six percent rise in next year's EU budget was cut in half by national capitals. With the commission not set to publish formal proposals on the multi-annual financial framework until June 2011, the EU institution may also perceive London's latest initiative as a move to undermine its right of initiative. Still undecided, the framework's period is likely to cover 2014-2020. It is then broken down into annual budgets. Poland and other eastern countries may also be horrified by the attempt to curb future EU payments of which newer member states are large recipients. But other EU members are also set to sign the austerity-letter, with Austria, Italy and Finland among the names suggested by diplomats.
  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sought to downplay the letter's significance. "We know different groups of member states sometimes try to position themselves," he said. "What is important in the end is the commission's proposal that is being put forward [next June], and then the discussions on the basis of that proposal." European Council President Herman Van Rompuy was also phlegmatic. "If there are letters, we are very polite people, we read our letters we receive," he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.12.10: Treaty change to provide for a permanent European Stability Mechanism from mi... - 0 views

  • A two-sentence paragraph to be inserted into the Lisbon Treaty will prepare the legal groundwork for a permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) from mid-2013 onwards, under which the costs of future eurozone bail-outs may also be shared by sector private sector participants.

    "The member states whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality," reads the paragraph, contained in draft EU summit conclusions seen by this website on Monday (13 December).

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pressed EU leaders to accept the treaty change as she fears Germany's powerful constitutional court may raise objections to the €440 billion temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), agreed in May and set to provide aid to Ireland. While EU policymakers insist the temporary facility and earlier aid to Greece do not contravene the EU treaty's 'no bail-out clause', Berlin is keen to remove any legal uncertainty, with a number of legal challenges currently under examination by the German court.
  • The treaty change is to take place under a new procedure introduced under the Lisbon Treaty - the simplified revision procedure - allowing for limited treaty changes without the setting up of a convention, on condition that new powers are not transferred from the national to EU level. In the draft conclusions, EU leaders also call on euro area finance ministers and the commission to finalise work on setting up the permanent aid mechanism, including features that could force sovereign bond holders to accept diminished returns on their investments, should a eurozone government be forced to call for aid under the ESM from 2013 onwards. The move stands in marked contrast to aid terms recently agreed for Ireland, under which holders of Irish sovereign debt and senior debt in Irish banks were not forced to accept a 'haircut.' Instead, Irish taxpayers will indirectly pay back the €85 billion borrowed from the EU-IMF for many years to come. Analysts say this move was partially designed to prevent further instability in the European banking sector, with many firms considerably exposed to the Irish market.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.12.10 Germany wants political co-operation to be deepened - 0 views

  • German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said his country is willing to discuss greater harmonisation of eurozone tax policy, adding that the next decade is likely to see Europe take significant steps towards closer political union. The remarks, made in Germany's mass-selling Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday (12 December), come as EU leaders look set to agree a limited EU treaty change this week in order to set up a permanent crisis mechanism to provide financial support to struggling eurozone states.
  • Meeting in the German town of Freiburg on Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said eurozone leaders must draw a fundamental lesson from the ongoing debt crisis and take steps towards political integration, including the harmonisation of tax policies or labour law. These initiatives would foster greater convergence of eurozone economies and "show this is not just about currency issues but also about political co-operation, which has to be deepened," said Ms Merkel.
  • Germany has successfully won its demand for the permanent mechanism to include the private sector sharing in future bail-out costs, reports the BBC. Such a decision could significant raise the borrowing costs of 'peripheral' eurozone states, as investors demand extra yields to cover the costs of a potential debt restructuring under the new mechanism.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.11.10: Tough problems for the Hungarian presidency - 0 views

  • The incoming Hungarian presidency of the European Union is bracing itself for an unexpectedly difficult six months (Jan-June 2011) at the helm, likely to test the diplomatic skills of the presidency first-timers to the full. The ongoing fight to shore up eurozone stability, together with calls for EU treaty change and acrimonious EU budget talks are among the prickly issues on the packed agenda, with Turkish accession talks and the Roma ethnic question also potential flashpoints.
  • Some EU and member state officials have been alarmed at what they perceive as a concentration of power under Herman Van Rompuy, the bloc's first president of the European Council, the body representing EU leaders. "Mr Van Rompuy has taken on a number of issues that should instead be run by the rotating presidency, helped by the current political limbo surrounding the Belgian government," one Polish official said earlier this month.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.11.10: EU-Commission will put forward proposals as to own resources - strongly oppos... - 0 views

  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was cheered in the European Parliament on Tuesday (23 November) when he outlined plans to publish an official proposal on EU self-funding before the end of June 2011. A fresh draft of next year's budget is also expected before 1 December.
  • Parliament has said debate on the controversial 'own resources' issue is a key demand in the ongoing battle over next year's annual EU budget, but France, Germany and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy have all indicated they oppose the idea of an EU tax. "We will use our right of initiative to put forward formal proposals as to own resources before the end of next June," Mr Barroso told MEPs in the Strasbourg plenary chamber. "The proposals ... will make large endeavours to achieving a consensus in the future. We're open to any ideas," he added.
  • "I am against the introduction of an EU tax," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this month. "I do not think that redesigning the way the EU get its revenue is a top priority," Mr Van Rompuy said a week later. Reacting to Mr Barroso's announcement, non-attached UK MEP Diane Dodds called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to clearly state that proposals for an EU tax would trigger a referendum in the country.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.11.10: Merkel - euro in 'serious condition'. Rehn - adoption of the Irish budget in ... - 0 views

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday (23 November) warned that the euro is in an "exceptionally serious" situation as the European Commission issued a veiled warning to the Irish political class not to topple the government. "I don't want to paint a dramatic picture, but I just want to say that a year ago we couldn't imagine the debate we had in the spring and the measures we had to take," she said in a speech in Berlin to the Confederation of German Employers, the BDA.
  • Meanwhile, EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn issued a veiled warning to Irish opposition politicians not to topple the government. Speaking to reporters in Strasbourg asking about worries the Fianna Fail-Green government in Dublin could fall, Mr Rehn said: "Stability is important." "We don't have a position on the domestic democratic politics of Ireland but it is essential that the budget will be adopted in time and we will be able to conclude the negotiations on the EU-IMF programme in time."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.11.10: Will Portugal and Spain be the next victims of the debt crisis? - 0 views

  • Portuguese, Spanish and EU leaders, alarmed at the seemingly unquenchable vengeance of this marketplace leviathan, insisted that the two Iberian nations were very far from having to follow Ireland and Greece in asking for bail-outs.
  • EU economics chief Olli Rehn sought to buttress the the standing of Portugal insisting on the "very different" situation between Lisbon and Dublin, while the head of the eurozone, Luxemburgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker described the market vigilantism against Portugal and Spain as "not justified". Railing against the state of affairs, Mr Rehn told MEPs on Monday: "Any talk of deconstruction of the European project is irresponsible. All member states would have been in a much more difficult situation without the European Union and its political shield."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.11.10: Disagreement over EU agricultural policy and funding - 0 views

  • Poland's top farm official has slated the EU's agricultural policy, or CAP, as "two-speed" and common "only in name," calling for a new system with reduced direct payments for farmers and increased money to help restructure the sector. Speaking to journalists on Monday (8 November), Marek Sawicki from Poland's conservative Peasant Party also threw his support behind one option outlined in next week's European Commission proposal on CAP reform, and slammed the contents of a recent Franco-German position paper as purely "cosmetic."
  • Direct payments for farmers in newer member states are strongly linked to farm size, while those in the EU15 countries receive funds calculated using a complicated system that takes into account historic stock or crop levels. This has resulted in huge variations in direct payment sizes, with per-hectare payments for Polish farmers amounting to roughly €150, compared with while €300 for French farmers.
  • "It is no secret that at the moment we have two speeds in Europe. There are old and new member states and they move at different speeds," he added. "There's 27 different common agricultural policies, but only the name is common." To balance this out, Mr Sawicki wants direct payments for farmers in all member states to be reduced in size, while EU funding under the policy's 'rural development' pillar should be increased. Payments for Polish farmers are already split roughly evenly between the two funding channels.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.11.10: EU leaders back 'limited' treaty change, budget cap - 0 views

  • Britain and other European Union countries put their weight behind Franco-German calls for tougher eurozone rules at a summit today (29 October), agreeing on "limited" changes to the EU's main treaty in return for a cap on the EU budget.
  • Officials struggled to deliver the message that legal tricks could accommodate both Germany's push for treaty change and conflicting calls from several other countries which had rejected the idea. Regarding treaty change, the key word is "simplified", officials explained. A simplified provision, enshrined in Article 48, Section 6 of the Lisbon Treaty, allows member countries to unanimously adopt a decision amending all or part of the main elements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), which governs how the Union carries out its work. Such a procedure would avoid the need to call a constitutional convention, experts explained. In addition, the European Parliament would only be "consulted" instead of enjoying full voting rights as part of the normal co-decision procedure. The changes to the treaty are to be settled by mid-2013, before the expiry of the present emergency fund agreed earlier this year to deal with crises such as the one that hit Greece. The objective is to replace that with a permanent mechanism. The simplified treaty change procedure will not enter into force until it is approved by member states in accordance with their constitutions. Most EU countries are expected to ratify the decision by a simplified procedure in their parliaments. As for Ireland, it remains unclear whether a change effected in this way would require another referendum.
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have been instrumental in forging a deal, lending his backing to Franco-German calls for treaty change in return for keeping a lid on the EU's 2011 budget. 11 member states, including Britain, France and Germany, will send a letter to the European Commission and Parliament today saying that their plans to increase the EU budget by 5.9% in 2011 are "especially unacceptable at a time when we are having to take difficult decisions at national level to control public expenditure". The letter was signed by the leaders of the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Slovenia and Estonia. The bloc's finance ministers had earlier voted for a limited increase in the EU budget of 2.9%. "We are clear that we cannot accept any more than the 2.9% increase proposed by the finance ministers," the leaders say in the letter. Cameron argued that a planned increase in the EU budget would cost his country's taxpayers the equivalent of one billion euros. The 2.9% rise would still cost them £435m (500m euros). Parliament to fight back By agreeing to cap the budget, EU leaders set themselves on a collision course with the European parliament, which has the power to approve or reject the proposed budget. Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, which represents the 27 member countries, over the EU's 2011 budget kicked off on 27 October (see 'Background'). "If Cameron is prepared to give up the British rebate [...] then we can for sure discuss a reduction of the budget," said Martin Schulz, leader of the Socialist & Democrats group in the European Parliament, speaking to EUX.TV, the European policy news channel powered by EurActiv. "The European budget is not to be compared with national budgets," said Schulz. "There are no own resources. We have no European taxes. We have no own money. It is money coming from the member states. We can make no debts. The British budget must be reduced because there is enormous debt. Europe has no debts," he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.10.10: 'Small, small, small' EU treaty change to deliver 'quantum leap' - 0 views

  • European leaders have given way to German demands for a change to the European treaties, but the procedure for the change and its size has been calculated explicitly to avoid the danger that it could provoke referendums in some EU states.
  • Viritually all EU member states had vehemently opposed any treaty change going into the summit, but in the end they were convinced by Germany's need for the change in order to avoid a legal clash with its Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court. The leaders agreed to construct a permanent crisis mechanism to fill the void left when the existing but temporary €110 billion bail-out package for Greece and €440 billion fund set up for the eurozone as a whole expire in 2013. According to diplomats, it is currently unclear whether this new mechanism would involve participation of eurozone members alone or the full 27 EU member states, including those who do not use the euro. Germany is worried that any permanent structure could run afoul of treaty rules forbidding EU bail-outs of member states and be struck down by the country's strict Constitutional Court, thus opening the euro once again to an assault by markets as occurred in the spring. Caught between the need for a structural change and their fear of both the activism of Karlsruhe and the growing euroscepticism of citizens, the other leaders signed off on the move only so long as the change envisaged was "small, small, small - the smallest possible ... in order to ensure there is no possibility of referendums," in the words of a Danish diplomat speaking to EUobserver. The method EU leaders chose to achieve the change will be via what is called the "special revision procedure," introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, under which the treaty can be amended by the European Council alone, so long as there is unanimity and the changes do not extend the competences of the European Union.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

28.10.10: EU leaders give green light to tweak treaty in order to allow for the creatio... - 0 views

  • European Union leaders have come to a consensus that the bloc's treaty must be changed, although only in a limited fashion, in order to allow for the creation of a permanent bail-out fund for member states. "Today we took important decisions to strengthen the euro," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters at a press conference in the early morning hours of Friday (29 October).
  • Initially horrified at the Franco-German demand for a wholesale re-writing of the EU rulebook only a year after the Lisbon Treaty had been approved, the other EU leaders are now warming to the idea of a "limited" tweaking of the treaty in a way that they hope will avoid major political fall-out. "Heads of state and government agree on the need for member states to establish a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and invite the president of the European Council to undertake consultations with the members of the European Council on a limited treaty change required to that effect," the draft conclusions of a two-day summit in Brussels read.
  • "No country is opposed in principle to a moderate treaty change but they want to know what the political and legal consequences of this would be," said one source close to the discussions. Two moves have been tentatively agreed. EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy is to be tasked with exploring whether such a limited change can be done via a simplified revision procedure, in which EU leaders can make the change without having to call a full Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) - involving negotiations between the governments, consultations with the European Parliament and the participation of the European Commission, which could open a Pandora's Box of other new proposals. Mr Van Rompuy would also explore whether legally this can be done without the tweak having to be presented to national parliaments for approval, which would almost certainly grind down the process, or even further, whether such a move would provoke referendums in some countries, notably Ireland, which maintains a constitutional requirement that any shift in powers from Dublin to Brussels be approved in a vote by the people. He would report back to the European Council in December.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

28.10.10: Battle over treaty change divides Europe ahead of summit - 0 views

  • Just one year after the second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - one of the most bitter political battles in EU history - France and Germany are coming into an EU summit ready to pitch the idea of rewriting the legal pact. As the premiers and presidents of the bloc's 27 states arrive in Brussels on Thursday (28 October) for a two-day summit intended to endorse new fiscal rules, a last-minute deal between two of the EU's most powerful countries has caused shocked and anger across the continent.
  • Last week at a bilateral pow-wow in Deauville, France, President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel cut a deal in which Berlin backed Paris in its desire to water down sanctions to be imposed on excessive-spending EU countries. In return, Paris endorsed Berlin's push for a change to the EU treaty in order to set-up an EU bailout fund and default mechanism. Ms Merkel is adamant that her country cannot endorse a repeat of the emergency bail-outs cobbled together this spring. Germany is the main bankroller of the €110 billion loan to Greece and of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), the yet-to-be-tapped €440 billion rescue mechanism for the eurozone as a whole. Both of these funds have an expiry date of 2013 and Berlin is looking to see that something more substantial replaces them before then. The default mechanism would signal to investors that they, rather than taxpayers alone, would be on the hook for at least part of the costs of the bankruptcy of a country. The mechanism is designed to deal with sovereign defaults without setting off a cascading panic in the markets similar to the Greek debt crisis that shook Europe in spring. The idea is highly controversial, with even the reticent European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet voicing steadfast opposition.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.10.10: Spectre of treaty change accompanies new eurozone agreement - 0 views

  • Eurozone finance chiefs have backed new rules for stricter fiscal discipline, including automatic penalties. Meanwhile, France and Germany have spoken out in favour of a permanent bail-out fund that would require a change to the EU treaties. Under the previous set-up, eurozone governments which flouted rules limiting the size of their public deficit could only be sanctioned following a majority decision by their peers. As a result, scofflaws regularly got away without punishment.
  • The new "reverse majority" system agreed in Brussels on Monday (18 October) flips the framework on its head, with penalties automatically applied unless a majority of states oppose the move. Governments will be given a six-month period of grace in order to fix their excesses in a softening clause pushed through by France. Paris, as well as Warsaw and Rome had initially opposed the idea of automatic sanctions, while Germany insisted any reforms would not be credible unless they had some teeth.
  • This move would require an EU treaty change agreed by a fresh inter-governmental conference, coming hot on the heels of the newly-agrees Lisbon pact.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

German FM: Bosnia 'Must Focus on Reform' for EU - 0 views

  • German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Bosnia would had a clear European Union membership perspective - if its ethnic leaders could stop arguing and focus on reforming the country’s constitution. “Bosnia and Herzegovina has a clear European perspective, but the road to Europe leads through internal dialogue and the unity of the country,” Westerwelle told journalists after meeting top Bosnian officials in Sarajevo, on the third leg of his three-day tour of the Balkans. Westerwelle said Germany expected all political actors in Bosnia to “start working on constitutional reform with courage, energy and good will” immediately after October 3 general elections in the country.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.08.10: Serbia open to EU compromise on Kosovo - 0 views

  • Cracks in Serbia's long-uncompromising position on Kosovo appeared on the weekend as President Boris Tadic said his country is open to discussing a compromise over its UN General Assembly resolution. In July, following a ruling by the International Court of Justice that Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence was not in violation of international law, Belgrade submitted a resolution with the General Assembly declaring "unilateral secession is not an acceptable way to solve territorial issues" and calling for a "mutually acceptable solution to all open issues".
  • Last week, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle bluntly told Serbia: "Kosovar independence is a reality," and: "The map of southeastern Europe has been laid down and completed." He also suggested that Belgrade's acquiescence on this fact was necessary before Serbia could join the EU, despite five existing member states refusing to recognise the breakaway region.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.08.10: German judges strengthen EU court, clarify Lisbon ruling - 0 views

  • Germany's constitutional court has laid down the ground rules for controlling decisions by the EU top's court, an area that had been left unclear after a controversial 2009 ruling by Germany's highest judges on the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's new rule book. In a ruling with far-reaching implications, the German court on Thursday (26 August), gave the green light to a 2005 judgement by the EU court that had called a German law "inapplicable."
  • Thursday's pronouncement backed by seven of the eight judges not only avoids a direct conflict with the EU's Luxembourg court but also appears to strengthen it. Germany's court stated that EU decisions may only be checked if European institutions seriously overstep their powers. A headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says: "Karlsruhe (the court) restricts its own powers."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.04.10: Germany Hijacks Iceland's EU Bid - 0 views

  • Less than one year after the watershed ruling from Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court that empowered Germany’s parliament to trump EU law, Germany is using the ruling to force the EU to conform to its will. The issue Germany has chosen to test this extraordinary power not given to any other EU member nation is Iceland’s bid to join the EU. The EU’s decision to consider Iceland as an official candidate was expected to be made in a late March summit, following a favorable recommendation from the EU commission. It was delayed, however, to give the German parliament time to examine the commission’s opinion. For Iceland to be considered as an official candidate for EU membership, several German parliamentary committees must consent to the move.
  • It is interesting that the first time Germany has forced the EU to consult the Bundestag in an expansion of EU power is in the matter of enlargement—not even if a nation will become an actual member, but in such a trivial matter as whether it will be considered an official candidate. Just look at Turkey’s bid for membership to see how meaningful being an official candidate is. This area of EU power typically doesn’t have a direct impact on any of the current EU members, and so Germany chose to try out its new power in an uncontroversial way. This is apparent by the lack of headlines devoted to Germany’s first use of its national “supremacy clause.” The other heavyweights of the EU, France and Britain, are not calling foul, and none of the other member nations seem concerned that the EU’s enlargement policy was just hijacked by Germany.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.10.09: German coalition keeps cautious Turkey line - 0 views

  • Germany's new conservative-liberal coalition has decided to support 'open-ended' EU-Turkey negotiations and favour a 'privileged partnership' in case they fail, it emerged on Wednesday. The deal is a compromise between calls to reject Ankara's EU bid, coming from chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party (CSU) and the Turkey-favourable stance of her liberal junior partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP).
  • Ms Merkel was a strong supporter of the 'privileged partnership' before becoming chancellor. She now maintains that Turkey must fulfil accession criteria and also that the EU has to honour its commitments. But if negotiations were to fail, the coalition agreement is likely to say that Turkey could be offered a 'privileged partnership.' The wording of the coalition agreement is very similar to the one Ms Merkel negotiated with her former government partner, the Social Democratic Party.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

EurActiv.com - EU talks 'can be unblocked', says Turkish negotiator | EU - European Inf... - 0 views

  • Ankara believes that stalled negotiations on Turkey's EU accession can be unblocked swiftly if the Cyprus talks make headway, the minister of European affairs and Turkey's chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagiş, told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
  • Five chapters of Turkey's EU accession negotiations are currently being blocked by France, while three are being held by Austria and Germany.  The chief negotiator said his country had been promised full membership and was therefore requesting "nothing less, nothing more".  "I checked the 100,000-page acquis," Bagiş said, referring to the EU's lengthy body of approved legislation. "There's nothing besides membership. There is no alternative to membership. It doesn't exist."  "What President Sarkozy used to say […] does not exist," stressed Bagiş, adding that "his colleagues promised me not to use those insulting, those horrible phrases again".  Although he insisted that the Cyprus problem was not directly related to Turkey's accession negotiations, he admitted that a positive development in the island's reunification talks could lead to an unblocking of Turkey's negotiating chapters. 
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