European Council Head urges closer EU partnership with Turkey
Praising Turkey's active regional role, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday called on the 27-member European Union to develop a closer relationship with the candidate country without waiting to see the eventual outcome of its ongoing membership negotiations. "Turkish reform efforts – partly achieved to adhere to EU standards – have delivered impressive results," Van Rompuy said during a visit to Budapest. "At the same time, Turkey plays an ever more active role in its neighborhood. (For instance) in mediating between Syria and Israel, or in its improving contacts with Armenia." He added, "Turkey is also a full-standing member of the G-20, just like five EU countries and the EU itself. In my view, even before an outcome of the negotiations, the EU should develop a close partnership with the Turkish Republic." He also stressed that the EU's credibility as a global player depends on achievements in its immediate neighborhood.