Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, attended the 61st meeting of Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee in Brussels.
Bagis, before the meeting, paid a visit to Hans-Gert Pöttering, the President of the European Parliament. Joost Lagendijk and Yasar Yakıs, the co-chairmen of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commitee, also attended the meeting.
Bagis delivered an opening speech at the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting held at the European Parliament. Issues such as EU-Turkey relations, accession negotiations, the role of Turkey in the Middle East, energy safety and climate change were at the agenda.
Making contacts with the European Union authorities Bagis met Jasques Barrot, the vice president of the EU Commission responsible for justice, freedom and security; Jan Figel, member of the EU Commission responsible for education and culture; Mariann Fischer Boel, member of the EU Commission responsible for agriculture and rural development; Stavros Dimas, member of the EU Commission responsible for environment, and Joe Borg, member of the EU Commission responsible for fisheries.
Bagis also came together with Martin Schulz, Chairman of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament (EP) and Robert Cooper, Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.
Holding a press conference at the Istanbul Center in Brussels, Bagis stated that the European Court of Justice's decision related to Turkish people was being evaluated by the EU Commission and EU states and said: "Whether to evaluate this decision as 'involving only the truck drivers carrying goods to Europe' or as a decision saying 'from now on no EU member state can ask for visa from any Turkish citizen' is not clear. We, in order to protect the rights of Turkey and our citizens and in order not to be neither the cheater nor being cheated on, do whatever we can. Every unit of the state is working in coordination here".
Stating that every representative of the opponent parties he had met declared their support for Turkey's EU membership target, Bagis, in the three-year-time which there would be no elections, wanted support especially for the reforms requiring constitutional amendment.
Bagis related the fact that the opponent parties did not give any positive respond to the government's calls for compromise to the "election atmosphere" and said that they anticipated "the opponent parties to still defend their declarations (support for Turkey's EU membership)".
Bagis stated that the government expected the support of the opponent parties especially on issues such as public auditing, judicial reform, the European Council Venice Commission's recommendations to Turkey relating to the legislation on political parties and the strategy for the fight against corruption.
Upon being asked whether the financial provision of the EU for the overhauling of Ukraine's pipelines -some of them dating back to 40 years- would mean that the Nabucco project is given up or not, the State Minister Bagis said: "If not only Nabucco but also 10 more projects alike were realized, the natural gas need of Europe within 20 years cannot be met. For this, Nabucco is not a simple project that can be sacrificed for a decision of overhauling a pipeline. Nabucco is an important project and we, as Turkey, are supporting it. The problem about Nabucco doesn't arise from Turkey. The problem involves both the provision of the gas to be given in this line, and the states buying the gas to distribute the necessary infrastructure funds for this project to become real. Turkey is the part of the solution in all these problems concerning energy and will continue to be."