Dealing with the European Challenges ELENI THEOCHAROUS* If the efforts of the Turkish accession to the European Union had to be classified, one would find two main facets: the issues related to external affairs on the one hand and those focusing upon the internal democratic reforms on the other. Turkish ambitions for a strategic role in the world and a global and regional leadership are eminent. Its plans to emerge as a diplomatic and economic regional power with aspirations of regional leadership in the Caucasus, the near and Middle East, the Black Sea and the Balkans, are more than obvious. Beyond the issues which affect foreign affairs however we must also observe the dramatic change and efforts made by Turkish society to satisfy the gate-keepers of the EU and on the reformist initiatives taken by the AKP and the opposition parties, in order to improve the protection of human rights and set limits upon the military control exercised over the civilian governing processes. These efforts constitute a package of reforms with the aim of radically changing the image and institutional infrastructures of the Turkish State. They are of utmost importance if they are to achieve Turkish full membership. Since the initiation of the accession process, and particularly since 2005, changes in the Turkish society have become both visible and significant. Nevertheless, the accession of Turkey is multifaceted and has political and economic aspects. Under certain conditions, Turkey as a full member of the EU would gradually have the greatest number of votes in the European Council within the next 15 years and the largest budget transfer. Within 15 years, unrestricted migration may increase the number of the Turkish immigrant population up to 3 million in Germany, and this might increase the problem of integration of this community into the German society. This is of course a German problem, since the German Government considers the immigrants of Turkish origin as temporary workers.
* Member of the European Parliament
Member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey of the European Parliament
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...