The European Union must slow down its enlargement process before it finds a solution to the institutional crisis it goes through after the rejection of the European Constitution last year, the European Commission said on Wednesday. And the Commission gave a mid-December deadline for Turkey to open its ports to Cyprus-flagged ships or face unspecified sanctions.

At the end of a reunion aimed at analyzing the progress reported by Turkey in the EU accession negotiations process, the EC decided to dodge a diplomatic conflict by deciding not to recommend the suspention of negotiations with the country, despite speculations in this regard over the past several days.

The decision to suspend the enlargement process affects most countries that are still negotiating or are about to negotiate their entry in the European Union, including most ex-Yugoslav republics.