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AFET Chair meets with Turkish EU Minister

The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs held on Thursday, 16 October 2014, a bilateral meeting with the Minister for European Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Volkan Bozkir, on the occasion of the Minister's visit to Brussels to hold meetings with European interlocutors on the accession process of Turkey to the EU.
 
During the meeting, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, Mr Brok and Mr Bozkir discussed the accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU and the need to provide new dynamism to the reform process in Turkey. The meeting also touched upon Turkey's peace and reconciliation negotiations with the PKK. Cooperation between Turkey and the European Union in foreign policy terms, with particular reference to the on-going conflict in Syria, the security situation in Iraq and the vast numbers of refugees from Syria in Turkey, now estimated at 1.5 million, was also at the centre of the discussion.
 
Later in the morning Minister Bozkir held an exchange of views with the Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the accession process of Turkey as well as on security and stability issues in the Middle East.
 

 
Association Agreement with the Republic of Moldova

The Foreign Affairs Committee gave this morning its consent to the ratification of the Association Agreement with the Republic of Moldova, with 44 votes in favour and 3 votes against.
 
"Through such high support the Foreign Affairs Committee sends a clear and strong message to the Plenary of the European Parliament to swiftly go ahead with the ratification process and calls on the national Parliaments of the Member States who have not yet done so to proceed with their ratification process. The committee reiterated its continued and unwavering support for the progress made by Moldova in strengthening relations with the EU ahead of the Moldovan parliamentary elections taking place on 30 November" said Elmar BROK, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
 
The European Parliament will vote on the positive recommendation by the Foreign Affairs Committee on the conclusion of the Association Agreement at its plenary session of 13 November.
 

 
EP will remain committed to membership perspective of Western Balkan countries

Today, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, presented the 2014 enlargement strategy and the progress reports on the seven enlargement countries to members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Members discussed with the Commissioner the current state of play in the enlargement process and the preparations of individual countries for EU accession.
 
Committee Chairman Elmar Brok confirmed that the European Parliament will remain committed to the EU membership perspective of the Western Balkan countries. In his view, the fact that no new member state will join the EU in the next five years is not due to the lack of political will but rather due to the time frame required to successfully conclude accession negotiations. In this context, he also stressed that, in order to maintain a functioning European Union, no political discount can be given and that both the Copenhagen criteria, including the respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights as well as the fight against corruption, have to be fulfilled and the EU's integration capacity respected.
 
At the end of the meeting, Elmar Brok thanked the departing commissioner for his cooperation with the committee during his term in office.
 

 
Statement by AFET Chair Elmar Brok on Italian marines held in India

I am delighted to learn that one of the two Italian marines detained in India since February 2012 was recently permitted to travel back to Italy in order to undergo medical treatment in Italy.
 
Both marines were apprehended following the killing of two Indian fishermen whilst on an anti-piracy mission on a commercial vessel.
 
The mission was undertaken in compliance with Italian legislation and in accordance with international law.
 
Despite these positive developments, I call on the Indian authorities to put an end to undue and unacceptable delays in the trial against the two marines.
 
I hope that the situation can be resolved by the Indian authorities in a mutually satisfactory and swift manner, in full compliance with the international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  
 
I also draw attention to President Schulz's statement about the fate of the two soldiers made at the beginning of the EP plenary session on 24 February this year.
 

 
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