French FM: EU ball squarely in Turkey’s court

France’s foreign minister called Tuesday for Ankara to open “easy chapters” in its EU accession negotiations, promising help while not backing away from his country’s opposition to seeing Turkey enter the European bloc.

“The ball is in Turkey’s court,” Bernard Kouchner told a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in the Turkish capital city of Ankara.

The minister added that France is “ready to help Turkey” with opening three of the 35 chapters that candidate countries must successfully negotiate prior to membership, calling for the chapter on competition to be opened by the end of the year despite approaching general elections in Turkey.

Kouchner said the chapter on social policy and employment should be opened next year and urged Ankara to enact sweeping reforms to open the chapter on public procurement as well.

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