The Turkish chief negotiator for European Union (EU) talks said on Friday that Turkey was today more European than ever.

State Minister and EU chief negotiator Egemen Bagis defined EU membership as the most important modernization project of Turkey since the foundation of the Republic.

"Today, Turkey is a country walking on the path to the EU with determination and will do so," Bagis said during a panel discussion on "Future of Turkey-EU Relations and Expectations" in the central city of Eskisehir.

Bagis said Turkey was experiencing significant changes on its path to the union, and said Turkey was more democratic, transparent, free, prosperous and rich today.

The minister said Turkey and the EU would begin accession negotiations on environment, one of the most difficult and technical issues, in December.

Bagis said Turkey had prepared a 1,500-page environment strategy paper to open negotiations on environment and regulations to prevent fuel from causing air pollution.

"Individuals and human beings are important in the EU, and the EU process is raising Turkey's standards," he also said.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005.