BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Friday the current stand-still in negotiations over Turkey's bid to join the European Union was unsatisfactory and the new year offered an opportunity to tackle outstanding issues with renewed vigor.
Turkey began talks in 2005 but has only completed one of the 35 policy "chapters" every candidate must conclude to join the EU. All but 13 of those chapters are blocked by France, Cyprus and the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.
"The membership talks with Turkey have been treading water for too long, the stand-still is unsatisfactory for both sides," Westerwelle told Reuters.
"We should therefore use the new year as an opportunity to give renewed vigor to the rapprochement between Turkey and the EU, and to open new chapters in the negotiations."