Following the EU agreement with Turkey on returning migrants, David Burrowes MP, Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate and CFCyprus Parliamentary Chairman, sought assurance from the UK Government that the EU will not renege on the need for Turkey to recognise the Republic of Cyprus before there can be any liberalisation of visas or EU accession agreements.
Mr Burrowes’ question and the minister’s response is below:
Mr David Burrowes: I share concerns about the increasingly illiberal and authoritarian approach of Erdogan to, in particular, minorities such as Alevi Kurds, but we must also pay credit where it is due. The refugees are imposing a great burden on Turkey, and its camps are of a much better standard than those in any part of Europe, not least France. May I ask the Minister a question about the European Union’s move on the liberalisation of visas and the opening of chapters? Will he confirm that, in the negotiations, the European Union will not renege on its commitment to ensure that no progress is made on those two matters before the republic of Cyprus has been recognised, and progress has been made towards a solution to the Cyprus problem?
Mr David Lidington (Minister of State for Europe): My hon. Friend hints at one of the issues that have caused a stalling of the accession negotiations in recent years. That, too, will need to be thought about, and talked about, during the days before next week’s European Council meeting. There has been no agreement, as yet, on the opening of any accession chapter.