BELGRADE – President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker does not expect Turkey to become a member of the European Union in the next 10 years.
Turkey’s EU membership talks began in 2005. The European Union and Turkey have provisionally agreed to speed up membership and visa liberalization negotiations in exchange for Ankara helping Europe in tackling the current migrant crisis.
“Turkey is currently not ready for accession,” Juncker told the German Handelsblatt newspaper on Wednesday, adding “I think that won’t be the case in 10 years either.”
The European Council will hold a two-day meeting starting on Thursday, where an agreement is expected to be reached on an EU-Turkey action plan that envisions a one-for-one exchange of undocumented migrants for approved refugees.
“In the coming days, we will conclude a binding agreement with Turkey, which we had already prepared during the last summit,” Juncker told Handelsblatt, saying he was “cautiously optimistic” about the deal.
Earlier in March, Ankara pledged to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived to the European Union from Turkey and send in their place documented Syrian refugees on a one-for-one basis in exchange for a total of six billion euros ($6.6 billion), the acceleration of visa liberalization negotiations and EU accession talks.