ISTANBUL/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Turkey warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday not to play politics with its European Union ambitions as Berlin blocked moves to open a new chapter in Ankara’s EU membership talks next week.
Turkey said failure to open the chapter would be a major setback in Ankara’s relations with the bloc and one senior Turkish official said it would “draw a strong reaction”.
ISTANBUL/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Turkey warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday not to play politics with its European Union ambitions, and said failure to open a new chapter in accession talks next week would be a major setback in Ankara’s relations with the bloc.
Many EU capitals want to take the long-awaited step on Turkey’s path towards the EU next week, arguing Europe should capitalize on Ankara’s rising influence in the Middle East.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A British drive to put Hezbollah’s armed wing on the EU’s terror list again ran into resistance on Wednesday from governments concerned it would fuel instability in the Middle East, diplomats said.
Britain’s request was discussed for a second time by a special European Union group following an inconclusive meeting on June 4, but British diplomats failed to win over a number of skeptical governments.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is dragging its feet over letting Turkey take the next step in slow-moving membership talks with the European Union amid widespread concern over Ankara’s tough handling of anti-government protests, EU officials said on Friday.
Berlin has criticized Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s heavy handed response to two weeks of protests that began over a redevelopment project in an Istanbul park.
SOFIA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Bulgaria backed down on Wednesday from charges it made a few months ago that Hezbollah was behind a deadly bus bombing on its territory, complicating a British push for the EU to blacklist the militant Shi’ite Muslim group.
The country’s new Socialist-led government said it only had an “indication” that the Lebanese group might have carried the attack that killed five Israeli tourists and their driver in the Black Sea resort of Burgas last year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A British request to blacklist the armed wing of Hezbollah ran into opposition in the European Union on Tuesday, with several governments expressing concern that such a move would increase instability in the Middle East.
Britain has argued that the militant Shi’ite Muslim group should face European sanctions because of evidence that it was behind a bus bombing in Bulgaria last July that killed five Israelis and their driver. Hezbollah denies any involvement.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and France are free to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad from August, after attempts to renew an EU arms embargo on Syria failed on Monday.
After a marathon negotiating session in Brussels, EU governments failed to bridge their differences and let a ban on arming the opposition expire, with France and Britain scoring a victory at the expense of EU unity.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries failed on Monday to agree on easing an arms embargo on Syria to help rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, Austria’s foreign minister said.
The deadlock at a meeting of EU foreign ministers could mean that all EU sanctions on Syria, including those on the Assad government, would expire on Saturday and individual member states would have to decide whether to keep sanctions in place, Michael Spindelegger said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and Austria clashed on Monday over whether the European Union should ease an arms embargo to help Syrian rebels, threatening the unity of the bloc’s Syria policy.
Britain and France are pushing hard for the easing of the arms embargo to support rebels ahead of a peace conference sponsored by the United States and Russia expected next month.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Negotiators from the European Union and Iran will meet in Istanbul this month to discuss future diplomatic efforts to resolve a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The May 15 meeting between the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads diplomacy with Iran on behalf of six world powers, and Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili follows a failed round of talks in Kazakhstan in April.