French Foreign Minister Fabius: Chapter 22 will be the first step
Following French President François Hollande's pledge to open a new page with Turkey, the first step was taken in Turkey's bid for EU membership. Turkey's continued attempts resulted in France lifting the obstacles in Chapter 22, one of the five chapters in Turkey's EU negotiations blocked by France. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius over breakfast yesterday prior to the Libya Conference which was organized by the French Foreign Ministry. In a statement about the meeting, Fabius said, "We are going to open Chapter 22 first. I have assured Davutoglu that this chapter will be opened." Confirming Fabius' remarks about opening one of the five chapters in Turkey's EU negotiations that have been under French blockage, Davutoglu said, "Today, France officially notified us about a change in its previous attitude. It is just one chapter for a start, but they displayed their political will to lift the obstacles in relations between Turkey and the EU and their readiness to work with us." Turkey's expectation was the removal of the French blockage on Chapter 17 (Economic and Monetary Policy) and Chapter 22 (Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments). In addition, Turkey anticipated a statement of intention to lift the political obstacles in five chapters blocked by former French President Sarkozy.