|05VIENNA2752||2005-08-17 15:06:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Vienna|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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).