Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects
expects EU to replace NATO or to compete with Americans in defense related areas. In terms of caring for its citizens, Europeâ€™s burden is growing; and governments have an increasingly difficult time coping with this. In some countries like Germany, the state has recently had to reduce its contributions to the social security system. Consequently the financial contributions of individual citizens have increased. The unemployment rate in Europe as of last October reached 10.1% and this figure is at its highest level since July of 1998. According to Eurostat, the number of European citizens who do not have jobs rose by 80,000 to 15.95 million people. In fact, to maintain a balance between workers and retirees Europe needs a large number of migrant workers. Europe also has financial problems. The recent economic crisis in Greece has reached alarming dimensions. Leading European personalities like Prime Minister Junkers, referring to the financial crisis in Greece, talk about runaway risks to the system. The excessive financial contributions required from rich EU countries or banks to compensate for the deficit created by ailing European economies also generates serious financial problems elsewhere. This situation has led to some thought about a possible review of the existing financial systems in Europe. Some leaders like Chancellor Merkel even question whether Europe should reconsider some provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. In terms of foreign policy, though some steps have been taken in the Lisbon Summit towards creating a better institutional framework for responding to foreign policy concerns, it is still too early to speak about a unified European position on various international problems and crises. This picture is not a promising prospect for Europe. Of course one should not underestimate the achievements of the Union or of the concrete benefits provided European citizens. Obviously the EU will remain an irreversible project that has led to the preservation of human rights and which has helped foster the democratic aspirations of many peoples of the world. The sense of solidarity and mutual dependence will continue to shape the fu-
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...