wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
05VIENNA2944 2005-09-02 10:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vienna
Cable title:  


pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VIENNA 002944 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/01/2015


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Carol van Voorst.
Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: On August 31, EconPolCouns met with the
Foreign Ministry's Assistant Secretary-level Director for
Southern European Affairs, Clemens Koja, to receive a
readout of the Cypriot Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou's
August 30 visit to Vienna and to discuss Turkey's accession
talks with the EU. Koja reiterated that Austria would not
"veto" the start of the Turkish talks on October 3.
Austria opposed a link between Cyprus and Turkey, he said.
Koja said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik's letter to the
British Foreign Secretary -- the text of which appeared in
the Austrian wire service almost immediately -- restated
the Austrian view that, while the talks could lead to full
Turkish membership in the EU, the negotiating framework
should specify alternatives if full membership were not
possible. However, Austria had very little support for
this position -- Plassnik told the Austrian press that the
tally was "one against 24" -- and would drop it if this
remained the case. Koja said Austria had no desire to link
Croatia and Turkey. End Summary.


Talks will Take Place October 3


2. (C) Koja said Iacovou expressed frustration with
Turkey's position on recognition of Cyprus. Nevertheless,
Iacovou and Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik
agreed, as they stated in a press conference, that they
would not/not "veto" the start of Turkey's accession talks
with the EU on October 3. Plassnik said publicly that
Turkey would have to recognize Cyprus when it enters the
EU, but "now we're talking about another issue -- the issue
of the start of the (accession) talks." Koja noted that
French statements seemed to be backtracking from a hard
link between Turkish talks and recognition of Cyprus. He
added that Iacovou had told Plassnik that the French
statements were simply the result of the internal battle
between President Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy to show who
could be tougher on Turkey.

3. (C) Talk of delaying the start of Turkey's accession
talks was mere posturing, Koja opined. The December 17
agreement to set the date for the Turkish talks was a
decision of the Heads of Government. There was no regular
meeting of Heads of Government before October 3 (although
the British were now floating the idea of an extraordinary
meeting on September 24) and it would be almost unheard-of
for Ministers to overturn a decision of their superiors.
(Comment: this may or may not be true, but the fact that
Koja took the trouble to spin out this scenario indicates
that the Austrians are not thinking of derailing the
talks. End Comment.)




Plassnik-Straw Letter: "include alternative or interim




4. (C) Koja gave us a copy of a letter FM Plassnik had
sent to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on August 29
(text para 6 below). Koja said the letter simply restated
Austria's position. In the letter, Plassnik argues that,
"while negotiations may lead to full membership in the
future," the negotiating framework for the Turkish
accession talks should include specific wording on
alternative outcomes should agreement on membership not be
possible. Reiterating what he told us a week ago (reftel),
Koja said there was very little support for the Austrian
position in the EU. In fact, Plassnik has admitted as
much. In the press conference with Iacovou, she said the
Austrian view was "not broadly shared" among EU member
states. She was even more explicit at the "Gymnich"
meeting in Wales, telling the press, "In reality, it's oen
against 24." Koja all but admitted that the purpose of the
Austrian position -- which was a personal initiative of
Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel -- was to address domestic
concerns about the possibility of Turkish accession. Only
ten percent of Austrians approve of Turkish accession, and
it was important to the Chancellor to show his constituency
that he was reflecting their views. That said, it was less
important for the Chancellor to achieve a change in the
negotiating framework than for the public to know that he
had tried. (It was therefore no surprise that the full
text of Plassnik's letter appeared on the Austrian Press
Agency (APA) wire service on August 30.) Koja said Austria
had no intention of blocking the start of the Turkish talks
because of this issue, and would "bow" to the majority view
among EU countries. (Note: this does not mean that
Plassnik's protestations that the objective should be to
restore Europeans' confidence are false. End note.)


No Link to Croatia


5. (C) Koja was aware of British allegations of a cabal
among some Central European countries to link the start of
the Turkish talks to movement toward giving Croatia a date
for talks. Koja said the British were mistaken about
this. Austria and its neighbors were not coordinating
their policies to the extent the British implied. They
agreed, however, that Croatia was a prime candidate for EU
membership, both for geostrategic reasons and for reasons
of trade and commerce. Austria and like-minded countries
believed that, while the Croatian government had spent a
long time shielding Ante Gotovina from the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), it had
reversed that position over a year ago and was now doing
everything it could to meet ICTY demands. None of this had
anything to do with Turkey, however, Koja asserted. In
fact, it was the British who had recently floated a "deal"
by which the British would work to obtain an ICTY
certification of Croatian cooperation if Austria would
agree to start the Turkish talks on October 3. Koja said
Austria would not "play that game" -- for one thing,
Austria thought there was sufficient movement toward
reaching agreement in the EU to give Croatia a date for
talks that it did not need a deal with the British. For
another, Austria had already agreed that the Turkish talks
would proceed. Finally, Austria had no desire to link the
idea of Croatian accession to the EU, which was very
popular in Austria, with Turkish accession -- which is not.

6. (U) Text of Plassnik-Straw Letter (original in

29 August 2005

Dear President, Dear Jack,

We will meet in Newport shortly to discuss enlargement at
our informal meeting.

In the Austrian view, our shared objective over the next
months will be to reconnect with Europeans, restore trust
and thus resolve the current crisis of confidence. Much
will depend on our visible and credible capacity to respond
to the concerns of citizens, not least those expressed
during the recent referenda. In particular, Europeans
request greater clarity about the extent and pace of
eventual future enlargements.

In this context, I would like to reiterate the Austrian
position with regard to Turkey:

Austria has consistently expressed full support for the
remarkable political and economic reform process under way
in this important partner country. It is in the interest
of both the Union and Turkey to start negotiations on an
even closer relationship.

While negotiations may lead to full membership in the
future, such negotiations cannot at this stage exclusively
aim at full membership. They must include alternative or
interim solutions should the Union not have the capacity to
absorb new members or Turkey not meet all membership
criteria. In our mind, this is the very essence of
open-ended negotiations.

In substance, such an alternative or interim relationship
would go considerably beyond the present association
agreement. It would establish a specifically designed
Turkish-European Community. While providing a more
realistic medium-term objective for both Turkey and the EU
member states, such a partnership would not exclude the
perspective of full membership.

For Austria, the Union's absorption capacity, the
open-endedness of negotiations with Turkey and a specific
alternative to full membership are of the utmost

As requested at our last Council meeting in July, these
elements must definitely be more clearly reflected in the
wording of the negotiating framework proposed by the
European Commission which has to be adopted unanimously.
Best regards,


End text.