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05VIENNA2752 2005-08-17 15:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vienna
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1. (C) The Austrian position on Turkey's EU accession (as

reported ref b) has been fairly consistent over the past

several months and is not likely to change prior to October

3. Austria does not and will not want to reopen the December

2004 decision to begin talks this autumn. Austria will also

not seek to impose additional conditions before accession

negotiations can begin. Austria recognizes that a Cyprus

settlement will have to occur in a UN-sponsored process.

Austria will therefore not demand that Turkey formally

recognize the Republic of Cyprus as a prerequisite for

discussions with the Commission on adopting the voluminous EU


2. (C) On the other hand, Austria was less than satisfied

with the outcome of the December 2004 EU Summit, when it

pushed hard for a reference to outcomes other than full

membership. Recent statements by ForMin Plassnik and

Chancellor Schuessel (ref b) make it clear that Austria will

seek to insert a mention of "open-endedness" or of a

"privileged partnership" for Turkey in the negotiating

mandate EU leaders give to the EU Commission. Austria is

particularly likely to pursue this goal if Chancellor

Schuessel judges that the political consensus on Turkish

membership in other important EU member states (e.g. Germany,

France, the Netherlands) has moved in this direction.

3. (C) Chancellor Schuessel has personally determined

Austria's position. Arguments about Turkey's progress to

date, and the role the incentive of EU membership has played

in Turkey's reform process, are important to him. Still,

they do not address Austrian reservations about the impact of

Turkish accession on the EU's cohesiveness and, especially,

on EU finances. Schuessel will already have taken into

account our assessment that Turkey might react negatively to

a negotiating mandate that includes language about

alternatives to full membership. However, recent, highly

publicized polls show seventy to eighty percent of Austrians

are either deeply skeptical or strongly opposed to Turkish

entry. All of Schuessel's political competitors - even the

Greens - have read these tea leaves and have tilted away from

support for Turkey in recent weeks. Public misgivings about

admitting Turkey could have a significant impact on

Schuessel's chances for victory in the 2006 general election.

He will need to be able to tell the Austrian public,

credibly, that he understands their concerns and fought for

them "in Brussels."

4. (C) Embassy Vienna will report septel Austrian MFA

reaction to talking points contained in ref (a).

van Voorst