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Sarkozy snubs Sweden: French press

TT/AFP/The Local · 29 May 2009, 12:36

Published: 29 May 2009 12:36 GMT+02:00

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Sarkozy had planned to meet Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt next Tuesday but pulled out of the engagement with just a few day's notice.

Official sources in France and Sweden claim the French president was forced to pull out because of an over-booked diary. But an unnamed French government minister claimed that Sarkozy's volte face had come about in response to an interview with Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt published in Le Figaro on Monday.

"Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled his visit because of the interview with Carl Bildt," the minster told French daily Le Monde.

But according to Roberta Alenius, a spokeswoman for Fredrik Reinfeldt, the postponement was due to "a calendar issue".

"Turkey has nothing to do with this," Alenius told AFP, adding that the differences between Stockholm and Paris on Ankara's EU membership were "already known."

French press reports citing a dispute between the two countries over Turkey's European Union membership application were "speculation," she added.

France had announced the postponement on Wednesday but had given no new date for the meeting.

Sweden takes over the rotating EU presidency on July 1st, and is in favour of Turkish membership in the bloc while France is opposed to it.

Le Monde noted that Sarkozy has made his opposition to Turkey's EU membership an issue in the campaign for the European parliament elections on June 7th.

Another French paper, Liberation, said Sarkozy decided to postpone his trip "to underline his deep disagreement over the pro-Turk plea" by Bildt.

Story continues below…

Bildt had told Le Figaro on Monday: "We have to avoid halting EU enlargement," adding that he was referring to Turkey.

Alenius said talks between Sarkozy and Reinfeldt would focus on Sweden's priorities during the presidency, including the economic crisis and coordinating positions on the climate issue ahead of a UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:15 May 29, 2009 by rifram
he will come back on July 3rd
15:38 May 29, 2009 by mdeklyn
I totally agree with the NO vote on Turkey joining the EU Turkey is not even in Europe who next Australia
16:20 May 29, 2009 by byke
The history books have always referred to Turkey as the gateway to Europe.

If we really want to talk about europe, what is israel doing in the EU song contest?
16:37 May 29, 2009 by Nutcracker
"EU enlargement" is the last thing the EU needs! That is the very thing that has crippled it: the original EU waived its own financial requirements for entry with regard to all of the most recent entrants, none of which countries were economically stable enough and the resultant huge debts, especially East European ones, are preventing growth and they can't cope with EU over-regulation. Anyhow, only 3% of Turkey's land mass is in Europe, the rest in Asia Minor; its human rights record is abysmal and in every poll of European countries taken on the issue of Turkey's possible entrance, the peoples are emphatically against it.
16:43 May 29, 2009 by karex
Pro/Con Turkey joining the EU discussions aside, Sarkozy is just doing what Sarkozy does best: acting like a spoiled brat.
17:27 May 29, 2009 by eZee.se
Sarkozy is nothing but a bitch for the record and movie industries and responsible for making France on par with China in trying to censor the net (not a good thing for those of you who were born from two dim witted parents)... however much I despise the man, I do agree on his stance of not allowing Turkey to come into the EU.

While Turkey might be "the gateway" into the EU, as has been pointed out exactly how much of its land mass is in the EU? even without rounding that number given that number its easy to see its stupid.
17:49 May 29, 2009 by karex
OK, as to the Pro/Con issue: it would be interesting to see what the real motivations of France and Germany are behind blocking membership to Turkey. Please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that Germany supports France on this.

Many people may have opinions based on location, how much of a percentage of the country is/is not in the EU and other such valid arguments. But based on previous behaviour, I'm just wondering if their particular motivation isn't based on loss of power?

I mean, how often have the two giants joined forces to bully other nations into accepting their ideas about how the EU should be run? Could there be a hidden fear here that the "other team" might become a bit too big now to be effectively bullied so easily? Just a thought...
18:23 May 29, 2009 by Mikael Ekman
Why is it when someone argues against a Turkish membership, they never present any arguments?

The Turkish human rights record is well known but they're not actually an argument against Turkish membership since they would have to solve these problems before joining.

Even Sarkozy has been unable to present any argument beyond "It is not in Europe" which, besides being untrue (part of Turkey is in Europe) should also be moot as we already have a member state, Cyprus, which is situated on the other side of Turkey.
19:40 May 29, 2009 by Nutcracker
There is an excellent argument against Turkey's entrance into a "European Union": history:-

20:50 May 29, 2009 by vladd777
Another mind-bending link..

20:55 May 29, 2009 by Mzungu
Haven't read the link,but for those who will,they could find this less frustrating...

21:08 May 29, 2009 by Pacey
After the Srilankan snub , the French have snubbed the Swedes.It shouldnt make news. Sweden is getting snubbed all the time!!! Now Greenland,Iceland etc will be in the queue!!

I believe Turkey shouldnt join EU.Rather the situation would reverse in 5 to 10 years when the EU would want Turkey to join and they saying no.
21:11 May 29, 2009 by Merik
What are you people afraid of? The attitude here is that of a kindergarten playground. Turkey is already part of Europe,

fear leads to the darkside, ommission is a sin, get over it allready and grow up. Turkey is a key democratic alliance and without it the coldwar could have ended in a historical tragedy. Thank God, someone is smart enough to figure that out. If you embrace then you will see they have already embraced.
22:03 May 29, 2009 by glamshek
Why is Mr.Sarkozy or his likes so proud of EU. Will it last forever? Hatred finishes in hell !!

And by the way Turkey should know itself. It is capable of everything, yet so inconfident !!
22:12 May 29, 2009 by Nutcracker
Sorry, here's the correct link:

22:18 May 29, 2009 by Kaethar
The tabloids are at it again...

France and Sweden have been disagreeing about this for a long time.
23:02 May 29, 2009 by reason
If true, it'd be a very childish move. But, as has been stated, the standpoints of both France and Sweden have been known for some time, so it seems much more likely that there is some other reason.

As for Turkey, I'm very much in favour for it eventually joining the EU. However at the moment I think neither Turkey, nor the EU is ready. The EU needs to take care of some serious restructuring (that should have taken place years ago) before it is complicated by an even further expansion. And Turkey has some human rights and democracy issues that should be tackled. I really don't see any reason to rush.
23:07 May 29, 2009 by Antioche
I can't believe the irrelevant and subjective links that posted on this topic. Yeah friends, Turks are evil and did every genocide in Earth even though there weren't such concept before 1950 and France, UK were all over the World to bring roses to natives(Algeria for example).

I am deeply frustrated by close-mind and stereotyping of some Europeans.
23:09 May 29, 2009 by 7
i'd like to point out that the loudest voices speaking out anti-anything other than white european comes from the western shores of the atlantic ending at the pacific.
00:18 May 30, 2009 by onur25

I should know better than trying to make sense of anything in these discussions, but nonetheless... It has been a long day or maybe I'm just dumb, but can you clarify the last comment?
00:20 May 30, 2009 by Harshal Owalekar
Why should EU limit itself to the political boundaries of Europe. EU should get out of it protectionist mindset of who deserves to be in the EU and who doesn't based on the geographic location of a nation. Why can't EU become a union of nations with similar ideology of upholding of human rights practices, free market & labor movement, democracy and equality. As such EU should reward any nation around the world who meets these paramenters and standards with a membership in the Union, be it South Korea, Chile, Australia or Turkey.

If these relatively successful nations in their respective regions are inducted in the EU, it will also serve as a incentive for other nations in these regions to clean up their act.

EU has been one of the biggest political successes of the 20th century, but If EU has to remain relevent in the 21st century and remain competitive against proposed unions like BRIC, it has to broaden its mind towards what represents european and what doesn't.
00:49 May 30, 2009 by 7
sorry. i mean many are from the US.
05:07 May 30, 2009 by swed
so the criteria is the geographical location to be a member? what a deep discussion is that? people who base their argument on this funny standpoint, should go and check a world map, see where the cyprus is! Is it in the middle of Europe? no ? why is it in the EU? It is politics! Please go and read some well written history books. Turkiye has been a part of Europe in very many ways.

P.S. I dot not want Turkiye to be a member of the EU, after seeing many EU member countries. what difference would it make?! Except that it changes people´s attitudes toward others in the Europe who are not EU citizen. Non-EU citizens, please proceed this way...
11:10 May 30, 2009 by hilt_m
Yes Australia for EU membership lol
17:34 May 30, 2009 by alopeciaa
+ New Zealand

18:00 May 30, 2009 by Nomark
The great achievement of the EU in the past twenty years was in admitting the former communist countries of central/eastern Europe. Many such countries have undoubtedly not been "ready" but one should think of how they would have been had the EU not offered the carrot on the stick of membership. The process of gaining membership led to a raft of reforms in the right direction. It would be amazing if, eg, corruption wasn't still a problem, given their history and their economic condtion. However, without EU membership we could well be looking at a load of volatile countries on our door step and something far more serious than the Yugoslav wars. This achievement isn't only due to the EU since NATO membership also plays an important role. However, for the most part, aspirants saw both NATO and the EU as two complementary, and essential, national goals.

Similarly, Turkey has, for years, been steadily implementing more and more reforms with the eventual aim of securing membership. It is undoubtedly a more democratic and open society as a consequence. For example, the military's meddling has vastly reduced. However, it still has a long way to go. In principle, I have no problem with Turkey joining, though this shouldn't happen for at least a decade.

Geopolitial stability in our neck of the woods is something many of us take for granted because we have grown up with it and this gives us a tendency to think its the natural and permanent order of things. Its only when things fall apart (eg the recent banking crash) that it becomes clear that we were living in a fool's paradise and we should have looked more carefully at the issue of stability.
18:07 May 30, 2009 by Nomark
As for Sarkozy, he's a jerk and seems to be playing a silly game. He's already annoyed Merkel by his grandstanding and p*ssed off the UK by trying to turn D-day commemorations into a

French-American affair. Annoying another government, especially one which currently holds an influential position in the EU, may give him some domestic support but such behaviour will come at a price, eg the next time he sits around an EU negotiating table and looks for concessions from others.
18:37 May 30, 2009 by Jamtjim
He's a French politician, of course he's a jerk. They all are and have been since DeGaulle.
19:06 May 30, 2009 by Nomark
True, but some were smarter than others and, at the very least, most stayed close friends with the German EU paymasters.
00:55 June 1, 2009 by commenting
I appreciate Sarkozy's position. If a country don't give the right to a 15-25 milion (Kurds) to express their identity, meaning that Turkish government denies other identities, aside from their history with Armenians Genocide which they still deny it! I wonder about Sweden's position (where 80,000 Kurds are living) what will be the least basic right for Kurds in Turkey?? still advocating Turkey's membership?
12:14 June 1, 2009 by Roger O. Thornhill
Doesn't France already have a problem with Muslims? Turkish membership and open migration is probably the last thing Sarkozy wants.

(attached image not shown)

What is with the snubbing of UK/Queen over D-Day ceromonies after 60 years?
16:09 June 5, 2009 by usgepo
The bummer of it all is that EU membership or not the Turks are allready here, every where! They can tell you they are part of Europe until they are blue in the face the fact is they are not Europeans!
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