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Sweden calls for EU unity over Turkey entry

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17:07 CEST+02:00
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds on Friday rejected an Austrian call to reword the European Union negotiating framework for accession talks with Turkey set to start next week.

Austria on Thursday cast a shadow over the highly-anticipated talks by insisting that the EU allow for the possibility of something other than full membership for Turkey if it does not fulfill all the criteria for membership or if the union is unable to "absorb" it.

Fears were running high within the EU that the demand could postpone or derail the talks, which are scheduled to get underway on 3rd October.

"This is, when you think about it, a strange demand, since it is obvious that we are launching these negotiations with the aim that Turkey become a member," Freivalds said in an interview with Swedish public radio.

All the EU countries "have actually already been in agreement when it comes to Turkey. I hope that we will reach a clear standpoint" before the talks begin, she added.

The foreign minister also told the TT news agency that: "We have to be firm. There are after all 24 countries against one here and I think the one standing alone should listen to what the rest of us have to say".

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AFP

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