"EESC and Turkish organised civil society organisations shadow accession negotiations"
PRESS European Economic and Social Committee PRESS RELEASE No 76/2006 18 July 2006 EESC and Turkish organised civil society EESEE organisations shadow accession negotiations Many important issues, such as progress with the negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU, the involvement of organised civil society in that process, trade union rights, the situation of women on the Turkish labour market and the application of the Lisbon Strategy in Turkey, were discussed at the 21st meeting of the EU-Turkey joint consultative committee (JCC) in Kayseri, Turkey, on 13 and 14 July 2006. The meeting was held one month after the opening and closing of the first chapter in the negotiations: "Science and Research". It was graced with the presence of a number of guests with important roles in the accession negotiations. The minister of state and chief negotiator, Mr Babacan, stressed that the Turkish government needed the participation and support of civil society in the negotiation process. Mr Kretschmer, the European Commission's head of delegation in Ankara, and Mr Demiralp, ambassador and secretary-general for European affairs in Turkey, both stressed that civil society representatives in the EU and in Turkey must come together and get to know each other. Mr Kretschmer stated that "Turkey must win the EU's hearts and minds, and for that reason, Turkey must present a clear picture, particularly with regard to the political criteria for accession". During the discussion on dialogue with civil society, the Finnish presidency representative, Ms Serenius, Finnish ambassador in Ankara, outlined the Finnish presidency's priorities for Turkey's accession to the EU. The meeting also touched on the facilitation of visa procedures for civil society representatives. This will be dealt with in detail at the next JCC meeting. Three joint reports were presented, concerning women and employment, economic development in Turkey in the context of the Lisbon Strategy, and the situation of trade union rights in Turkey. At the end of the meeting, a seminar on regional development policy management took place involving members of the Committee of the Regions and representatives of Turkish local and regional authorities. Those present discussed and pooled their experience and best practice. For information: the EU-Turkey JCC is an official body bringing together representatives of organised civil society in the EU (via the EESC) and Turkey. Its members come from diverse economic and social interest groups representing civil society in the various countries. The EU-Turkey JCC held its 21st meeting in Kayseri on 13 and 14 July 2006. EN For further information please contact: Karel Govaert or Christian Weger, EESC Press Office 99 Rue Belliard, B-1040 Brussels Tel.: +32 2 546 9396/9586; Mobile: +32 475 75 32 02 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: http://eesc.europa.eu/activities/press/index_en.asp The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the Community decision-making process. The Committee has 317 members. Its members are appointed by the Council.