European Union - EU News

The European Union will decide on Monday to symbolically punish Turkey over what it calls “illegal” drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus and threaten harsher sanctions in the future unless Ankara changes tack, German and Austrian ministers said. Foreign affairs ministers of the 28-nation bloc meeting in Brussels on Monday are due to endorse a decision to curb diplomatic contacts and funding for Ankara, retaliation for what it sees as interference with Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone. In June, EU leaders warned Turkey to end drilling in waters around the island or face action from the bloc. EU member Cyprus has pressed for a tough line threatening harsher sanctions in the future but others have warned against antagonising a key ally on security and migration affairs. “The provocations of Turkey are unacceptable to all of us,” German Minister of State for Europe Michel Roth said on arriving at the talks. “We have now found a balanced language that keeps all our options open, including of course sanctions.” “I can only hope that we do not now add another crisis to the many conflicts and crises. Turkey knows what’s at stake and the European Union is united on the side of Cyprus.” An EU diplomat told Reuters Ankara could lose some 150 million euros of 400 million euros the bloc had earmarked for 2020 for everything from political reforms to agriculture projects to help Turkey prepare for eventual EU membership. The EU had been due to give Turkey 4.45 billion euros…

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