EU General affairs council announces meeting conclusions
The General Affairs Council of the European Union announced the conclusions of its enlargement and stabilization and association progress meeting on December 11. Stating that the Council strongly encourages Turkey's work on a new constitution, and the broad, democratic and participatory process put in place for this purpose, which will remain essential for a positive outcome, the Council indicated the following in its paragraph on Turkey, "The Council welcomes a number of positive developments in the area of democracy and the rule of law such as the establishment of an Ombudsman and a National Human Rights Institution, measures taken in the field of women's rights and gender equality, the adoption of the third judicial reform package, and civilian oversight of the security force." Defining Turkey as a "candidate country and a key partner for the European Union considering its dynamic economy and strategic location," the Council indicates, "Active and credible accession negotiations which respect the EU's commitments and established conditionality, along with all the other dimensions of the EU-Turkey relationship addressed in these conclusions, will enable the EU-Turkey relationship to achieve its full potential. It is in the interest of both parties that accession negotiations regain momentum soon, ensuring that the EU remains the benchmark for reforms in Turkey."