Thursday, July 01, 2004
You do it, dubya
George Bush has told the EU that it should accept Turkey and all main parties (surprise) over here agree with him. But is it actually in our interests?
I have never gone for the conventional Eurosceptic attitude on EU enlargement. You know the one, the idea that if the EU grows large enough it will be too unwieldy to be a superstate. Well since we joined in 1973 it's grown from nine members to 25. In that time we've also had the Single European Act, the Factortame decision, the Maastricht treaty and now the proposed constitution. So the wider not deeper plan has not worked.
Unfortunately as long as we are members of the EU we have an interest in whether applicant countries should be accepted. So what does Turkey bring to the table. Here's a short list:
- 80 million potential Muslim immigrants
- A lot of poverty
- Borders with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
- A Kurdish problem which makes Northern Ireland look easy
- A history of millitary government
Is that enough?
There is nothing that Turkey brings in for us that we can't get through a couple of civilised free trade agreements.
In the end it comes down to the Americans, and their need for an Islamic ally that doesn't need to rule by fear. If America really wants to keep the Turkish model on track then it should be America signing NAFTA style agreements with Turkey and American visas handed out to Anatolian peasants.
Turkey is not our (Europe or Britain's) problem.
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