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Economic: the financial burden on the EU would be enormous, resulting in a decreased standard of living for many, many decades,

North Africa has the second-largest untapped energy resource on the planet. In this century, energy is going to be a crucial constraint on industrial production. You either neglect this fact in your economic analysis, or you assume that Europe will be able to secure unrestricted access to said energy without any substantial progress towards economic equality between the Northern and Southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Or, to put it a little more bluntly, you are either in denial of the energy constraint on European industrial production, or you are proposing classic colonial expropriation of North Africa's energy resources.

Cultural: Islam is a vector of intolerance towards non Muslims

If Islam were an important causative factor in promoting intolerance, then we should see similar hostility in Muslims who live in Europe. We don't, so it isn't.

Sharia is officially used as the source of criminal and civil law in most of these countries...

The civil and criminal law of an EU member must be in compliance with European federal law. And I really don't see a "Sharia opt-out" to have a snowball's chance in a blast furnace.

which is of course, incompatible with our Western European traditions.

I assume that you do not count Poland as a "Western" country, then? Or is Catholic Sharia OK?

Political: governments in North Africa and Turkey are authoritarian in their spirit and their practice. In short, they are light years away from European democratic models and are anything but supportive of freedoms of thought and expression.

Again, the civil and criminal law of an EU member state must be in compliance with the EU treaties. Similarly, corruption and police impunity must be brought down to tolerable levels prior to entry. And the EU is unlikely to repeat the mistake (made during the accession negotiations for Eastern Europe) of granting points for effort rather than results.

It may be that one or more North African states will decide that these requirements are too onerous, in which case they are free to pursue their interests elsewhere, including in a looser cooperative framework with the EU and/or other interested parties. It may be that those who seek membership despite these hurdles will take five hundred years to reach compliance with the membership criteria. It may be that they will take fifty years to do so. The only thing that is certain in this matter is that the more the EU has to offer, the greater our influence in the region.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 09:47:37 AM EST
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