Cablegate: Eur/Pdas Ries Meeting with Matthias Ruete
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001871
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/28/2014
TAGS: PREL TU CY EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EUR/PDAS RIES MEETING WITH MATTHIAS RUETE
Classified By: USEU External Affairs Officer Andrew Erickson
for reasons 1.5 (B) and (D).
1. (C) On April 26 EUR/PDAS Charlie Ries met in Brussels
with EU Commission Enlargement Director Matthias Ruete, who
is responsible in the Commission for Turkey's accession bid.
Ries emphasized the US view that Turkey should not be
punished for southern Cyprus' rejection of the Annan Plan.
He encouraged Ruete and the Commission to look at creative
ways of recognizing northern Cyprus' yes vote, and
underscored the US view that Turkey has shown it is willing
to do the heavy lifting required to fulfill its end of the
accession bargain with the EU; it is up to the EU to offer
Turkey a date in December. Ruete responded that the Cyprus
vote created a "dichotomy between the political situation and
the legal reality" of the division of Cyprus and Turkey's
accession quest. Ruete also warned that EU member state
political debate about whether Turkey should join the EU is
not over. He noted public comments in France by governing
party officials that "Turkey is not ready". He also asked
that the US deliver a strong message to German opposition
leader Angelika Merkel that her anti-Turkish position is not
helpful. End comment.
2. (C) On April 26, EUR/PDAS Charlie Ries met with Matthias
Ruete, Director, Enlargement Directorate for Romania,
Bulgaria, and Turkey, to review Ries' March 31 meetings in
Ankara with Turkish government and political leaders on
Turkish efforts to fulfill the Copenhagen Criteria. Ries
underscored continued strong US support of Turkey's accession
bid, and reminded Ruete that the EU should not let Greek
Cypriot rejection of the Annan Plan prejudice Turkey's
accession bid, particularly given Ankara's excellent progress
on the Copenhagen Criteria. In the aftermath of the decisive
vote in the "TRNC" in favor of the Annan Plan, now is the
time to reward Turkey for progress, not punish it.
Responding to the
3. (C) Ruete responded that Greek Cypriot rejection of the
Annan Plan was a heavy blow to supporters of a date for
Turkish accession talks. The GOT had shown that it could do
the heavy lifting in very difficult political areas; but
irrespective of who is to blame for the failure of the Annan
Plan, Turkey is most likely to pay a price. With the failure
of the Annan Plan, there is now "a dichotomy between the
political situation and the legal reality" of the division of
Cyprus. Under the Accession treaty, Ruete said, "all of
Cyprus enters the EU, and Turkey doesn't recognize Cyprus";
these are realities that now block Turkey's path towards
accession. It remained to be seen how the EU could address
4. (C) Ries suggested that the EU look at creative ways of
politically recognizing Turkish Cypriot good will in the
referendum. Ruete dismissed any parallel with the Hallstein
doctrine (governing recognition of East Germany up until the
1970s). Ruete noted that even if EU members were inclined to
recognize "TRNC", the reality was that the twenty-five EU
members had just signed and ratified an accession treaty
recognizing Cyprus as the legitimate government of the whole
island. For this reason, Ruete said, there are no meaningful
parallels with Taiwan. The EU is locked into recognition of
the Republic of Cyprus alone. The bottom line for Ruete was
that "the Republic of Cyprus has a capacity to be a nuisance
which is enormous," with the legal tools at its disposal to
back up its position.
5. (C) The rejection of the Annan Plan in the south was a
bad thing; there was no question about this, in Ruete's eyes.
But Cyprus' accession to the EU still brought positive
elements for citizens of the "TRNC". For instance, Turkish
citizens in the north are in most cases "Cypriot/EU citizens"
under the terms of accession. The challenge now for the EU,
and the Commission, was defining the future of the Green
Line. It could go two ways: either it could become "a real
border" or, Ruete suggested as his preferred alternative, "it
could become more permeable; this is what I've heard from the
north". Ruete speculated that while Cyprus would not take
the first step in developing a formal bilateral relationship
with Turkey, it would be easier for Turkey to recognize the
south; this would be a clever step on the part of the Turks,
he said, and might lead to some progress.
The "Turkey in EU"
debate is not Over
6. (C) Ruete (strictly protect throughout) noted that the
context of Turkey's accession bid was "evolving rapidly",
with pressure growing in the European Parliament for a
factual analysis of the costs and benefits of Turkish
accession. The key, said Ruete, was to move off an emotional
debate on the subject and on to a discussion "why Turkey
should join the EU." The political debate in Europe is not
won. Ries mentioned that he was getting on a train to
promote the Turkish case in the Netherlands on April 27;
Ruete asked for a read-out of Ries' discussions in The Hague,
which Ries promised to provide.
7. (C) Ruete asked that the US ensure that German opposition
leader Angelika Merkel hear a clear message from the US on
why she shouldn't oppose Turkish accession; Ries said he
would make sure that Washington was aware of the need to do
this. On France, Ruete said that "Chirac's party is making
increasingly anti-Turkish comments" with the message that
"Turkey's not ready" to join the EU. Ruete offered that this
message might moderate after the EU parliamentary elections
this summer. Nonetheless, the Layla Zana case was "playing
very loudly" in the French press. The argument is that "a
country with political prisoners can't be an EU member."
Ruete had heard that the GOT was working the Layla Zana case,
and he would be glad if something were done, but he had heard
this before. He wanted to see results.
8. (U) EUR/PDAS Ries did not have a chance to see this cable
prior to departing post.