The European Union might not start accession talks with Serbia before the end of 2012, Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, Denmark's permanent representative to the EU, told journalists at a conference, on 23 November. Presenting the country's priorities for the EU, he failed to mention Serbia. When asked why, he said: "I did not mention Serbia because I don't expect negotiations with Serbia under the Danish Presidency. But indeed we are very conscious of the fact that the issue of candidate status is on the agenda and we have to see what comes out of that. I just don't foresee negotiations on accession under the Danish Presidency". An EU source told Europolitics that even if the European Council decided to grant Serbia EU candidate status, "the opening of negotiations are not foreseen under the Danish Presidency of the European Union". As EU leaders decided, on 9 December, to postpone decision on the country's candidacy status till March 2012, it is most likely that no important breakthroughs will occur during the next six months. Belgrade, which finally reached an agreement with Pristina over their border control issues on 2 December and started tearing down the barricades at their common frontier, was said to have made these efforts too late, in a "desperate move to convince EU member states," an EU source said.


No new chapters have been opened for over a year in Turkey's EU accession negotiations. "We can push, but I cannot promise any major breakthroughs," Tranholm-Mikkelsen said, on 23 November. Since the beginning of the accession talks, in October 2005, 13 of the 33 chapters have been opened, and only one has been provisionally closed. If no breakthroughs are foreseen for Ankara in the next six months, it is almost certain that nothing at all will happen during 2012. The Turks have also threatened to freeze all relations with the Cypriot EU Presidency, which will start in July 2012. Turkey, which is at odds with Cyprus over drilling activities in the Mediterranean, "needs to commit itself unequivocally to good neighbourly relations and to the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, having recourse, if necessary, to the...

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