Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
Nonetheless, the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Füle, is right in pointing out that “Turkey needs the European Union and the European Union needs Turkey.”24 Be it for economic, geostrategic or security considerations, it is in the interest of the EU to retain good relations with Turkey and support it on its way to prosperity. However, good neighborly relations also entail a high degree of honesty. When stating that Turkey is not yet ready for EU membership because of a number of persisting challenges, the EU Commission is certainly right. However, it also hides behind these arguments by giving Turkey the feeling that its accession only hinges on compliance with Community acquis, thereby ignoring the important criterion, stressed by the European Council, of the EU’s capacity to integrate new members.25 If the EU grows to be too large, it will lose strength as taking decisions and speaking with one voice both internally and internationally will become increasingly difficult. As the recent discussions concerning how to proceed with regard to Libya or with Greece and other EU member states affected by the crisis have shown, this is already now the case. The EU is in desperately in need of consolidation. In this regard, the foreseen enlargement to Croatia appears contradictory. Yet, the Balkan country is quite small and will therefore not be a pivotal player in EU politics. Turkey, on the other hand, due to its size would be entitled to a large number of Members of the European Parliament as well as votes in the Council; and in this way, it could block more than three quarters of EU legislation. While candidate status appears to be a good incentive for Turkey to align its policies with European standards and thus become more competitive, it is by nature tentative. Consequently, the EU will have to offer a positive vision on how to proceed with Turkey if it does not join the EU. One way to deal with Turkey would be by means of a “privileged partnership” as favored by the German government. This would entail the extension of the customs
24. “The EU Enlargement and Economic Growth. In the CEE New Member Countries”, Economic Papers 367, March 2009. 25. Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council on 14/15 December 2006.
Turkey on the European doorstep
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...