International Herald Tribune - The European Union has to speed up membership talks with Turkey since it badly needs the nation as a reliable energy partner, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, said Monday.
Barroso said he would push to get talks moving again on Turkey's EU membership bid as the bloc searches for alternative energy routes after an energy dispute between Ukraine and Russia left many EU nations short of natural gas.
One option is the Nabucco pipeline, which is being planned to by-pass the feuding nations and carry Caspian natural gas through Turkey to Europe.
"Turkey’s EU membership can in fact be something that is in the interest of all European citizens" Barroso said after meeting the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting the EU for the first time in more than four years.
Erdogan said his country was ready to play a key role to help EU energy security. "Turkey is not coming to the EU to become a burden; we are coming to relieve some burdens off the shoulders of the European Union" he said.