Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Bulgaria and Romania are In.

by p------- Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 10:47:03 AM EST

The BBC reports:

EU approves Bulgaria and Romania

The European Commission has announced that Romania and Bulgaria will be admitted to the EU in January 2007, but under strict conditions.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said both countries had made enough progress to join the union.
But they will be checked for progress in curbing organised crime and corruption, and ensuring food safety and the proper use of EU funds.

Bulgaria's PM said the move was the fall of the Berlin Wall for his nation.

The conditions are tougher than those imposed on previous new members, observers say.



Conditions such as:

Both countries will have to report every six months on progress in fighting corruption.

By March, they also need to set up agencies to handle millions of euros worth of EU farm aid, or risk losing a quarter of the cash.

Both will face food export bans due to outbreaks of animal diseases like swine fever, while Bulgarian planes could be banned from flying into EU airspace until the country improves its air safety standards.

There could also be restrictions on migration to other EU countries for up to three years.

Read Gradinski Chai's earlier diary on the conditional acceptance of Bulgaria into the EU.

The Official Report of the EU Commission on Bulgaria and Romania. (pdf)

Now, about Switzerland...

[Addendum by Colman:]

The EU's rules are currently covered by the Nice treaty, which sets a cap on the number of members at 27. This will be reached in January. Croatia, which is next in line to join, will now have to wait until the EU decides what to do with its constitution.(Guardian)

As will Turkey. Looks like the Guardian writer forget them - only Croatia and Turkey are in formal talks.

Display:
Sorry, Colman.  The funny thing is that the whole time I was writing this, I was paranoidly looking at the recent diaries list to see if anyone else had posted it...

Still, my diary has more fun links and a nice picture to go with it.  You made the right choice. ;)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 10:59:04 AM EST
I'm expecting to see an attempt from the religious/racist right to set-up rules for new entrants that exclude those annoying brown and Muslim Turkish chappies. Probably nonsense about shared cultures or something.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 10:59:52 AM EST
Hey, where's my comment about Switzerland?  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:02:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was the story I was looking for: BBC
"There is no formal decision but... I think it would be unwise to bring in other member states apart from Bulgaria and Romania, which will be joining us soon, before we have sorted out the institutional question," Mr Barroso told reporters in Brussels.

"I do think it would not be wise to proceed with any enlargements before we have resolved the constitutional issue in Europe," he said.

Mr Barroso stressed that there were limits to the EU's capacity to absorb new members without new rules to make an expanded bloc work effectively.

However, he said he "would like Croatia to join as quickly as possible, if it fulfils all the criteria".

Croatia has expressed hopes of completing its membership negotiations by 2009.

Mr Barroso made no mention of the other candidates for membership - Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which officially gained candidate status in 2005.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's depressing.

When I heard this bit reported on the TV:

"There is no formal decision but... I think it would be unwise to bring in other member states apart from Bulgaria and Romania, which will be joining us soon, before we have sorted out the institutional question," Mr Barroso told reporters in Brussels.

I felt that it was possibly a correct statement. Politically motivated, but correct, in that some kind of constitutional issues do need to be worked out to make EU governance work and putting it into the growth timetable is probably the only way to do that.

To read this, however:

However, he said he "would like Croatia to join as quickly as possible, if it fulfils all the criteria".

Croatia has expressed hopes of completing its membership negotiations by 2009.

Mr Barroso made no mention of the other candidates for membership - Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which officially gained candidate status in 2005.

Indicates where he is really coming from and it is to me very sad. All he's really wanting to do is put a roadblock on negotiations with Turkey. He's not even actually interested in forcing a proper discussion on the constitutional issues (which having Croatia ready but hanging around might be seen to do...)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just for the sake of debate, why should Turkey be a member of the European Union?  Why would it make sense?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To ensure Europe is not a Christian club.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Europe was a secular club.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The religious right don't agree.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You spend too much time listening to Jerome.

Only France is truly secular in Europe.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The moderate Islamists were apparently disappointed that the EU courts upheld the ban on headscarves in schools in Turkey.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the official EU position on sep. of Church and State?

BTW, it's not just Jerome.  A friend of mine recently refered to Europe as "the land of the truly godless", LOL.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately not all the religious nuts emigrated to North America.

Why does the EU have to have an official position on the deparation of Church and State? There is no meaningful lowest common denominator among the 27.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When discussing religion in Europe one needs to distinguish between 1) secularism; 2) separation of church and state; and 3) religious freedom.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:13:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By secularism, I mean that official governing bodies do not endorse or bow to any particular religion.  What the citizens they govern decide to do on their own time is another issue.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While personally I would favour an absolutist separation of church and state like in France, I can see some logic in other options. The German argument goes that if religious education and finances go through the state, that also means some control by the state, which results in keeping those religions moderate and open. The few fundies in Germany (including US-inspired creationist evangelicals) do indeed want to close off and build their own separate infrastructure.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is precisely the Turkish argument. Historically the mosques have long been controlled by the state there and in many other countries.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:53:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it's historically part of Europe and has been on the path to joining  the EU since very, very early on. Because it's a huge market that wants to join. Because it's a secular democratic state that wants to join. Same reasons that apply to any other candidate country.

The reason for not allowing Turkey in? We don't like dirty Turks.

The poverty argument applies to several countries that have already joined. The religion one shouldn't even be relevant. The cultural one is total bollox: much of Turkish culture is shared with the other states in the region and is heavily influenced by and influenced Europe. Their organs of state are derived from the French, their civil code from the Swiss and their  alphabet is Roman. Turkey is Muslim in the sense that France is Catholic.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 11:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey is Muslim in the sense that France is Catholic.
We had the same debate two weeks ago.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:06:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect we'll be repeating it regularly over the next few years.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Turkey, the State pays imams' wages, and provides religious education in public schools (article 24 of that country's Constitution). The State has a Department of Religious Affairs (article 136 of the Constitution), directly under the Prime Minister bureaucratically, responsible for organizing the Muslim religion - including what will and will not be mentioned in sermons given at mosques, especially on Fridays.

The Alsace-Moselle area...is still under the pre-1905 regime established of the Concordat, which provides for the public subsidy of the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Reformed church and the Jewish Religion as well as public education in those religions. An original trait of this area is that priests are paid by the state; the bishops are named by the President on the proposal of the Pope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state

Sounds like trouble on the horizon...

by asdf on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 10:45:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 02:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Turkey, the State pays imams' wages, and provides religious education in public schools (article 24 of that country's Constitution). The State has a Department of Religious Affairs (article 136 of the Constitution), directly under the Prime Minister bureaucratically, responsible for organizing the Muslim religion - including what will and will not be mentioned in sermons given at mosques, especially on Fridays.
Muct be because the German government is not involved in levying Church Taxes, or because Spain or Italy don't have concordats. All that is in the past in Europe, but not in Turkey.

Except that it isn't.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:01:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess the reason Colman (and I) don't understand asdf's comment is his second blockquote, which shows that the Alsace region in France also has non-total separation of church and state (from the quote, a system similar to the German one).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:21:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I saw the "pre-1905" bit I interpreted the comment to be a parallel with WWI. Now I don't understand the comment either ;-P

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, first, because the claim is made here constantly that Europe is a secular region, when it clearly isn't. You can argue about church attendance, but the statistics are funky in both places. Meanwhile, there are explicit connections between chuch and state in many countries, and open funding of churches by the state. From this side of the pond, where the government is both formally and in practice secular, European claims in that direction seem questionable at best.

Second, the potential conflict is that if Turkey is pressured to reduce her support for Islam, then she may fairly ask why France, Germany, Britain, Spain, et al. are allowed to support their churches. At that point, who gives in? Do the French cathedrals close due to having no members, and get turned into restaurants? (As happens in the U.S.) Does England allow the next king to be Catholic?

My view is that adding such a huge new member to the EU will cause big changes on both sides--and Europe is not officially admitting it. Europe may plan to press existing EU ideals onto Turkey, but an obvious reflex will be for Turkey to press her ideals on to Europe.

Specifically, how will European countries divide the financial support that they give to churches? Will it be by population, i.e. Muslim churches get, say 70% of the government money and Christian churches get, say, 30%--because there are so few Christians? Or will Christian churches get 90% of the money because Europeans are Christians after all?

Will the EU church-supporting fund have to be significantly enlarged to fix up all those Turkish mosques that desperately need repair? After all, with Turkey's huge population, and that population almost entirely Islamic, equity demands that EU cultural maintenance be distributed in proportion.
http://www.ndp.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=588

by asdf on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:33:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't Church support be left to the member states, as it is now?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:37:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The url down at the bottom of my previous post was about an EU program that supports cultural artifacts--largely churches. I was suggesting that if Turkey were a member, then perhaps the bulk of that money would go to Turkey, because a.) their buildings are presumably in worse shape, and b.) they claim >90% church membership, and c.) they would be a big chunk of the total EU population.
by asdf on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The support for cultural artifacts is based on cultural value, not church attendance. The grants are apparently in the framework of EU structural funds. The structural funds are allocated on the basis of regions, and the difference between the EU average and the regions' average GDP. It is true that would Turkey join, it would get a rather large share of structural funds, while a number of regions in other countries would move above the thrershold of applicability for EU grants. This happened during the last EU accession too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 04:16:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and the difference between the EU average and the regions' average GDP

Roughly. There are other measures used too, like the state of the infrastructure. This is why your example, Ireland, was still eligible.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 04:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good old Ireland: high income, low wealth.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 04:19:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about saving, investment and consumption? Is the high income being used to increase the wealth?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 05:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, lots of infrastructure building going on. But take a trip through Germany or the UK and compare it to Ireland - we're still way behind on our infrastructural stock - comes of spending fifty years avoiding developing an economy.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 05:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From this side of the pond, where the government is ... in practice secular.

Um. So religion isn't an issue in public life at all in the US?

Second, the potential conflict is that if Turkey is pressured to reduce her support for Is

Who's asking Turkey to?

My view is that adding such a huge new member to the EU will cause big changes on both sides--and Europe is not officially admitting it.

Oh no, not change. How will we survive? Of course, adding 12 new members hasn't changed a thing.

Will the EU church-supporting fund

What are you talking about? Is it raining strawmen where you are or something? If there are mosques of architectural merit that need help then they'll fall under that sort of scheme.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note churches have even been converted to discos in the Netherlands.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 11:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And in London.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 05:53:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that so long as a country is a secular democracy, religion should not enter into it.  I do think that if you can make the argument that Turkey shares a history with Europe, then you could make the same argument for Russia.  However, both have histories which also diverge from that of much of Europe.

I am wondering, in terms of contemporary geo-political concerns, what would obviate the inclusion of Turkey into Europe?  I should think that given it's proximity to the conflicts in the Middle East, there would be some concern about creating any "we've got your back" promises with Turkey.  In addition to any racism or Islamophobia, there may be practical concerns for aligning themselve too closely with Turkey.  Mind you, I'm not endorsing them, just suggesting that there might be less nefarious reasons...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The key difference between Turkey and Russia is that Russia doesn't want to join. Turkey put itself on that path from the foundation of the state. When you say they have histories that diverge from "much of Europe" which "much" did you have in mind? Greece? Bulgaria? Ireland? Spain? Every state in Europe has a history that diverges from much of Europe.

Turkey is already a member of NATO, so the "we've got your back" promises are effectively made already.

No-one has put forward a non-nefarious reason that didn't apply to other states who have already joined, which is the test to my mind.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. I guess I could see the hypocracy better if we were talking about Croatia v. Bosnia instead of Croatia v. Turkey.  

  2. RE: NATO, that's with the US having their back too, so it is not as much of a burden for Europe.  It's not an internal worry.

  3. But other states that have already joined have not occupied a historically and culturally gray area between Europe and the Middle East.  The border that defines Europe, whether the idea of Europe or the political entity or the geographic entity, has historically been fluid.  That there should be debate about where to draw the line now seems pretty natural to me.  I don't doubt that there are racist people fighting against Turkey's admittance into the EU.  I just think you are not acknowldeging the significance of the decision.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

RE: NATO, that's with the US having their back too, so it is not as much of a burden for Europe.  It's not an internal worry.

You know, for someone sensitive to anti-American comments, you're quite casual with the anti-European propaganda that we're freeriders...

<ducks and runs>

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big fan of NATO now are you?  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no hypocrisy in Croatia vs. Bosnia as Bosnia is a de-facto EU protectorate.

Don't tell me NATO and the EU have nothing to do with each other. All the former communist candidates for accession thought you could not have one without the other. [Still waiting for Marek's diary on Atlanticism]

I know it is a significant decision and I don't know what the right answer is.

To talk about a "gray area" implies that Europe and the Middle East are somehow poles in some relationship. I don't think that's the case. There are more ways to look at Turkey. The Ottoman empire was its own thing, and it inherited as much from the Caliphate as it did from the Byzantine empire.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points, which made me think of something:

I'm sure that if you ask people opposed to Turkish membership if they would take Japan in the EU, they would be much more inclined to say yes.

The geographic argument would suddenly shatter, to reveal the reality beneath it: that it's essentially the fear of Islam and perceived third-worldness that fuel the "no to Turkey" mindset. No one is afraid of Buddhism, Zen, etc. And Japan, wow ... all those cute little mangas, and all that sense of honour & respect ... wow wow wow.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Huh? I don't understand your point at all. Bosnia is white and has lots of Muslims unlike Turkey which is brown and has lots of Muslims. Some of the states who have been allowed in straddle other boundaries between East and West.

  2. Most of the EU states are already in a military alliance with Turkey. The EU is not a military alliance. Is there any obligation for Ireland to come to Greece's defence if the Egyptians tried to invade? I'm not aware of one.

  3. " I just think you are not acknowldeging the significance of the decision." We've been more-or-less promising Turkey membership for fifty years: I do acknowledge the significance of the decision. Refusing membership now on "cultural" grounds indicates that we have decided to build a white Christian club and that we have no principles whatsoever.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is not a military alliance. Is there any obligation for Ireland to come to Greece's defence if the Egyptians tried to invade? I'm not aware of one.

See, this is how I learn things.

I guess I just want to ask the everyone here to realize that I, like much of the world, do not actually live in Europe, so if I ask ignorant questions, maybe you need to just be happy I care and kindly explain to me the situation and not snarky about the fact that I got something wrong.  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't being snarky. I'm not 100% sure there isn't such an obligation. I don't think there is though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't ask the questions we don't know what needs explaining. And we don't know all the answers either.

As for the EU's military side, check out European Defence Agency and Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One moment you are saying it is about race and one moment you are saying it is about religion.  Let's agree that both are bad criteria for deciding if a country should belong to the EU.  If the EU has no defense function, (and should have not cultural function), what are we left with for criteria?  Good governance and what?  Some sense of shared something or other?  That's vague to me.  

It may be implicit to you, as a European, of what should constitute a European Union.  But to an outsider, it is not clear.  It's obviously not clear to a lot of people in Europe, either.  Be aware that there is a difference between honest inquiry and agenda pushing.  I have no agenda.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:04:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm saying it's about race and that the religious argument is a cover for that.

I'd be perfectly happy with an EU that included the countries around the Mediterranean that have been linked to Europe for a long time. Some want in, some don't. I'd also be happy with overlapping supra-national organisations so long as the requirements were compatible. It'd be challenging but the idea that you can only belong to one club is predicated on a system where the clubs are in competition.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we need to re-examine some of the statements here. Is Turkey more different to Greece than Greece is to Finland?

What about Spain and Latvia?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:18:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I realize it's because I'm sick and feeling puny but I give up.  I've asked repeatedly what would be the criteria for not including a country and every time it is implied that that is a hypocritical thing to ask.  I don't know what Greece and Finland have in common.  I was hoping someone might tell me.  

I don't advocate exluding people on the basis of race or creed but if they whole world decided it wanted to join the EU, on what grounds would you deny them admission?  Or would you prefer everyone were allowed in?  And if so, would you continue to call it "The European Union?"

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A country should be excluded if it refuses to implement and enforce EU law, is too far geographically and historically from the EU or if it has an unacceptable form of government. I'd cheerfully allow Russia in, in about twenty years or so after substantial reforms.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:30:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's so early in the process that I think it's smart to state your standards before the real nitty-gritty bargaining begins. I do believe that once the train gets rolling all such standards will become irrelevant simply because the EU has not dealt with a nation with the history and national sentiment that Turkey has. So, you can establish equal standards in the beginning, and insist on the acquis communitaire, but because of all the interests involved, I seriously doubt that Turkish accession will look like any other accession process. And this is not because of racist elements. Mainly, Turkey has a big military, a strong sense of national unity, a very different economic system (and by this I'm referring to nitty-gritty day-to-day economics, such as distribution even, which operates very differently in Turkey than it does anywhere else). As well, Turkey is a conduit for natural resources. Turkey will attempt to enter the union from a position of relative strength, and this will produce a very nervy set of negotiations.
by Upstate NY on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 03:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've asked repeatedly what would be the criteria for not including a country

Currently: (1) not having adopted the full legal framework, (2) failing to win the support of the populace of members that have referendum on the issue, (3) being caught up in the EU's institutional bottleneck (e.g. the EU structures are currently set up for a maximum of 27 members, which we reach next year, only a new framework like the one proposed in the Constitution can allow more). The rules may change. Conservatives certainly want so, adding cultural, religious or geographical criteria. There is a broader opinion to add time and size limitations based on the EU's ability to cope with assimilating new members.

if they whole world decided it wanted to join the EU, on what grounds would you deny them admission?

See above. Currently, the EU could theoretically grow to encompass the whole world.

Or would you prefer everyone were allowed in?

Personally, I would very much endorse an explicitely open-ended EU, albeit one growing slowly (say, integrating the current 27 in the next ten years, absorbing ex-Yugoslavia and Turkey over the following ten, Ukraine and Morocco over another ten, Russia, Syria, Lebanon, a peace-agreed Israel/Palestine over the twenty years thereafter...)

But another possibility I would like is one Colman hinted at, that EU-like organisations start to grow elsewhere. I note there are some already: ASEAN and the African Union were in part modelled on the EU, they look like earlier stages of European integration, and could develop into something similar to what we have now over decades. If such organs of regional integration develop, it would be best if instead of confrontation, there could be some overlap, say Morocco being a member of both the EU and the African Union. This would be nothing radically new: think for example of Norway, which is part of a a closer Scandinavian cooperation and customs union, but not an EU member.

And if so, would you continue to call it "The European Union?"

I don't think names matter that much. It could be changed to "Euro-Mediterranean Union", "Eurasian Union", "Yellow Stars On Blue Union"... Such a name change wouldn't be the first: after all, the EU is called the EU only for one-and-a-half decades, before there were names like European Community, the Common Market, Montanunion...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for criterion 2) I would like to see all future treaties subject to referendum in all member states.

As to regional organisations, don't forget Mercosur.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:59:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Why?

  2. EU membership doesn't end Turkey's NATO membership. Why are Turkey's potential wars less worrying than instability affecting Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia?

The only reason I can see is the Kurdish question, but all this is contingent on the same human rights process all the other entrants had to go through. It's imperfect but it's certainly capable of either stalling Turkish membership or helping to solve the problem in some ways. Separatists are not a new issue for nations within the EU.

3) As opposed to a historically and culturally grey area between Western and Eastern Europe? Or between Sweden and Greece?

It's perfectly legitimate to be anti-expansion, but to suggest that Europe is not a cultural grey area in itself is a lie that needs resisting.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've finally worked out how complicated the Kurdish situation is: four linguistic/tribal groups that don't get on among themselves spread over four(?) different nation states, not along the linguistic boundaries, that don't generally like them much. A good chunk of Kurdish violence is targeted at other Kurds with everything from Islamist to Marxist groups involved, all backed by different governments and populations.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. That's why I felt I had to mention that the potential human rights issues around the Kurds as it exists in Turkey could certainly be an accession issue. But that's different to stopping negotiations and taking the ball home.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The key difference between Turkey and Russia is that Russia doesn't want to join.

But if they did, you don't think it would be a request worthy of some debate?  Don't get me wrong.  I don't have a horse in this race.  It just seems that ... I guess I don't know what you'd accept as a good reason for not being a admitted the EU.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:43:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman, please answer this and I promise I will leave you alone.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave me alone?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it would be worthy of some debate. But the parallel is spurious. Russia hasn't been moving towards membership for the last half-centrury.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:17:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it would be, in fact there has been some debate before. But as Colman noted, Turkish governments aspired and asked to join for four-five decades now, that discussion progressed much more. I also add that Turkey is presently also stronger bound to the existing EU members due to the millions of Turkish guest workers and immigrants working in the EU: even if they moved in permanently, most keep connections with relatives at home, and even if they absorb a lot of local culture (contrary to what xenophobes assume) many keep various levels of cultural ties.

Regarding Russia in the EU, before the joining of the last 10, there was some serious discussion (on the Russians' part!) about partial EU membership: meaning the Kaliningrad district, which found itself with the prospect of separation from the motherland by two Schengen borders.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia notes two things, both of which I should have remembered: that both Schröder and Berlusconi have on ocassion talked favorably, and on their own initiative, of Russia's EU membership on a longer term.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that so long as a country is a secular democracy, religion should not enter into it.
It shouldn't, but it does.

The nefarious reasons come from the Christian Democrats, the largest party in the European Parliament, being Islamophobic.

As for cooperation between Europe and Turkey, consider NATO, the EuroMediterranean Partnership and the Alliance of Civilisations.

Turkey is in Eurovision, UEFA, NATO and the Council of Europe.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:22:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we have customs union with them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:23:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Turkey is in Eurovision, UEFA, NATO and the Council of Europe.

But they have an Asian international telephone code (90) ...

(I say that in jest, I'm personally favorable to Turkey joining. The immigration argument is the silliest. The examples of Spain and Portugal show that migrations go the other way round once the countries join the EU and benefit from accelerated development)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that Turkey is already a member of NATO, concerns about military treaties entangling us in unfortunate wars might remind some of stables being bolted after horses have left...

And I don't think there is any serious argument that if Russia wanted to join the EU (pending acceptance criteria that exist for Turkey, just as they have for Romania and Bulgara) they'd likely be more welcome than Turkey is at the moment. Of course, Russia isn't interested in the EU for various reasons.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally don't think people are ready to have Russia in the EU, although we surely all want to be close to Russia for different reasons (mine being cultural, and for all I know genetic, others' reasons may be energetic/political ...).

But the day that the EU will take in a member as populated as all the EU states put together, and as large as half the surface of the Moon, has not arrived yet.

I frankly think people are more open to Turkey joining (what's the EU average on this, has anyone seen the latest Euro barometer figures on this? is it usually at around 35% yes?). And ALL are certainly in favour of being best buddies with Russia.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:41:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This makes me conclude that Russia is just too big. If you break it down into Russia I and Russia II then it becomes a near certainty that the EU will take in both, - with perhaps a 10 year gap between both memberships, just enough time to let nationalist trends start growing in both havles.
by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This makes me conclude that Russia is just too big. If you break it down into Russia I and Russia II then it becomes a near certainty that the EU will take in both

In this case you'd probably talk about Russia I to X at least, with North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkotorstan (mostly Muslim), Yakutia (partly Yakut), Khanty-Mansi Region (almost no population but huge oil resources, I bet EU would love to have them in), and, last but not least, the Central Russian Orthodox Republic, after accepting which the EU will truly learn what does it mean to have to heavily Christian countries (another is Poland) on different sides of the religious divide...
     Frankly, you don't want THIS experience which will generate endless possibilities for discussing racial and religious reasons to not admit one of these pieces... besides, citizen of today's Russia (Alpha and Omega) would start hating the EU the first time this idea gets aired, and the whole exercise would be moot.

by Sargon on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Central Russian Orthodox Republic, after accepting which the EU will truly learn what does it mean to have to heavily Christian countries (another is Poland) on different sides of the religious divide...

Explain?

The idea is a bit mad anyway - Russia doesn't want to join.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:33:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, it wouldn't be an admission to the EU, it would be a merging of the EU and Russia. The scales are too similar.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A dangerous trend in the Russian nationalism is actually content with encouraging other ethnic separatisms around, so that "Russians proper" - russkie - bang together and develop of feeling of national (or, rather, ethnic) self-identification. If forced to choose between the current country and some hypothetical "ethnic" thing with much smaller territory, I'm afraid they'd choose the latter. These guys are also heavily Orthodox and interpret the religion in a very old-fashioned way. In particular, Catholicism is evil for them (as Orthodoxy is for some die-hard Catholics).

     There are some political forces in Russia (such as Yabloko) which are all for accepting European values and even becoming EU members, when the time comes. However, everyone understands quite clearly that an invitation is not forthcoming (just look at Ukraine!) So in some sense, "we don't want to be in the EU" sounds like "sour grapes" to me.

     But then, of course, there's a joke that it's not about Russia entering the EU, but EU joining Russia :-)

by Sargon on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  But then, of course, there's a joke that it's not about Russia entering the EU, but EU joining Russia :-)

It would really be a merger, not an acquisition. I'm not sure it would be a good idea: the resulting power bloc would be terribly powerful.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 02:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Russia is too large to be anything other than the center of its own geopolitical pole.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 06:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no-one in the EU is ever instantly ready for expansion. If you took a poll about expansion to include Spain and Portugal back before the process of talks had begun you wouldn't see a lot of "ready."

You could well be right, but I think that subject to all the usual issues (economics, crime, human rights) people would accept Russia joining. But maybe the UK just has different neuroses to France about the EU.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the day that the EU will take in a member as populated as all the EU states put together, and as large as half the surface of the Moon, has not arrived yet.

Well, on population, Russia is not as big as the whole EU, it is much less: currently, 31% of the EU-25 (142.8 million vs. 458.5 million). But while Russia's population declines faster than any country in the EU-25 (in fact the whole EU-25 is projected to grow until 2025), the EU will most likely absorb another 120-150 million (Romania, Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia, Turkey) before Russia. So if Russia joins say in 2025, it will be around 20% of the then-EU: about the same ratio as Turkey would be in 2015, or the last ten new members were to the EU-15.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:17:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah you're right, for some weird reason I always project Russia at 350 million people!
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:00:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Truly weird -- even the Soviet Union was only 250 million. Then again, if we consider that in a recent poll for the National Geographic, only 31% of young American adults correctly guessed the US population in the 150-350 million range [it is now just shy of 300 million], while 58% guessed higher (29% guess 1-2 billion!).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:21:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Woouuuuuudj, but then again I'm more certain about my "half the surface of the Moon" declaration, even if I need to recheck this.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 09:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's wrong too: the Moon's surface is some 150 million square kilometres, almost nine times that of Russia (17 million).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:55:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...but it is 4.5 times that of the current EU...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn damn damn.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 11:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait a minute!

On Wikipedia it says that the Moon's surface area is 3.793×10^7 km² (0.074 Earths). Or roughly 37 million square kilometers.

If Russia is 17 million square kilometers, then Russia's surface area is close to half the surface area of the Moon after all, no?

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn damn damn! I don't know where I took the wrong figure from...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 04:09:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well after reading your comment, I thought damn damn damn, but then wondered how I had gotten it so wrong. So I googled "surface area" or "land surface" (can't remember), and found both values on various sites (150 and 37), that's when I realized something was wrong and checked further.
by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 05:40:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just one of those unexplainable things, like my conviction that I'm not drunk when I've had half a bottle of whiskey, or that I'm a super jogger with my nearly daily 6-9km runs though I keep receiving emails from a friend in Seattle who tells me he's preparing for the marathon there this year and for instance ran 29km the day before.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. I see someone at Wikipedia was toying around with similar calculations, albeit they did so on the basis of present population numbers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Turkey is Muslim in the sense that France is Catholic"
you ve probably never been there to write this ridiculous statement.

i frankly dont get why some pro-europeans are willing to turkey, fortunately that will never happen.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 09:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think for the sake of argument we should debate why Turkey couldn't possibly be a member of the EU?

I'll create a typical debate below and we can work from there:

No person - "Because it's poor"
Yes person -  "But Ireland and Spain were poor when they joined too, look at how rich they are now"
No person, edging at pessimistic approach - "Yeah but Turkey is dirt poor, and is very populated."
Yes person, edging at liberal approach - "Yes but imagine all the market opportunities this will create. Just looking at Spain, its membership in the EU has created 150 000 jobs in France alone, according to François Bayrou."
No person - "Anyhow Turkey is a different culture entirely from Europe, it's not even Christian"
Yes person - "This is why Turkey must join, to ensure that EU remains an open secular union and not just a gigantic Lion's Club for Christians."
No person - "Turkey may be secular in name, but it is currently ruled by an Islamic-tinted coalition"
Yes person - "But look at how much that so-called 'islamic' coalition has done to be in line with the EU, it proves they're modern and open"
No person - "Who cares, there is the issue of Cyprus anyhow"
Yes person - "No, Cyprus is already in the EU"
No person - "Look, at some point we have to decide where the EU's borders have to be, and Turkey seems like a good candidate for a border"
Yes person - "An inclusive border then"
No perosn - "Fuck you"
Yes person - "Fuck you too"

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Romania hosted one of the suspected black sites the CIA uses to torture people? Maybe I am wrong about that, but it seems rather surprising that the EU would want a nation willing to participate in war crimes to become a member.
by Jett on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:20:37 PM EST
Well we haven't thrown out the UK yet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:22:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Dana Priest of the Washington Post published all he knows about the issue, maybe we'd be able to address that point.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 05:15:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that (unless I'm mistaken) the Romania signed the bilateral treaty not to extradite American Servicemen to the ICC, in direct contradiction of EU requirements. What's up with this?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd forgotten that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like they signed it before the EU took a common position ...
 Correspondent - The European Commission today has voiced its stance
regarding the Romanian-US accord, by which Bucharest pledges not to
extradite any US soldiers belonging to peacekeeping forces to the
International Criminal Court. A spokesman of the commission pointed
out that Romania should have waited until the European Union adopts
a joint position, which is expected to happen in September. He
emphasized that Romania was a candidate country wishing to join the
European Union, hence it would have been only normal to consult with
the latter. Moreover, the spokesman said that Brussels would contact
the Bucharest authorities to clarify the situation...

here
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sidenote: I don't know if this has been asked before, but will Gradinski Chai be repeating the ET experience with his students?
by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:25:22 PM EST
Reading this discussion gives me the feeling we are of-focus.
The real discussion is IMHO what kind of Europe we want?
The one for marketista multinatonal globalised profit seekers or the one confronting the real issues of improving everybody's life by tackling unemployment, poverty, global warming,income distribution, sustainable energy, food provision, health care, education.........?

I came acros this today ;

Bulgaria has earned a reputation as an anything-goes weapons bazaar where Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars, antitank mines, ammunition, explosives and other items are available for a price--no matter who the buyers are or how they might use the deadly wares. In the 1990s Bulgaria has been a weapons source for armed forces in Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Angola, and Rwanda, among other countries. It has been implicated repeatedly in weapons sales to regions of armed conflict, countries under international or regional arms embargoes, and armed forces known to commit gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Bulgaria is an important source of small arms and light weapons, but it has also sold a considerable amount of surplus heavy weapons from its arsenal.

This is already making problems:

Russia accuses Bulgaria over illegal Kalashnikov sales
"Russia loses billions of dollars from illegal production of the Kalashnikov assault rifles in Bulgaria," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister.
"We must take a tougher stand to protect the rights of our intellectual property owners," Ivanov said.  

 Do we want such bandits in the EU ?

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 06:00:38 PM EST


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