Rhein on Energy and Climate

The French Parliament has voted down a constitutional amendment that would have abolished a national referendum on the EU accession of third countries whose population exceeds five percent of total EU population. Both Turkey and Ukraine will therefore have to pass the litmus test of a popular vote in France before being able to join the EU. Considering the present mood in France this is equivalent to a “No” vote, as far as Turkey is concerned.

This vote will be seen as another blow to Turkish aspirations for accession. Negotiations are advancing at snail’s pace, with not much fervour, let alone enthusiasm on either side.

In retaliation against the Turkish refusal to open its airports and ports to Cypriot shipping, the EU has suspended the negotiations on all chapters related to customs union two years ago. More recently, EU negotiators have complained about the slowing pace of reforms in Turkey, and the Turkish foreign minister has warned his EU counterparts of growing popular disenchantment with EU accession in Turkey.

The French government will, of course, pursue negotiations under its EU presidency after July 1st. Both sides are aware that a collapse of negotiations would not be in either side’s interest. Whatever the final outcome, Turkey has not much choice but to align on most of the EU regulatory standards. No EU neighbour with the exception of Norway is more closely interwoven with the EU. Links will further intensify with the construction of additional gas/oil pipelines across Turkey to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. The EU has a vital interest in a stable, democratic and buoyant Turkey.

Nobody expects Turkey’s membership before 2020. Much will happen until then. Turkey is most likely to assimilate even more closely with European society; and for the emerging EU security policy Turkey will become an important strategic partner.

Negotiators should quietly ignore the French vote and go on doing business as usual. Neither Turkey nor the EU need an additional “crisis”.

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  1. I can only see the reasons behind the European supporters for Turkey membership as motivated by eager economic and strategic issues.
    It should not be so!
    I learned, even being half Brazilian and half Italian, by my Italian mother of the Europeans values. I admire, pursue and defend them. Moreover myself being a woman I deeply admire the work of the European women for our emancipation through the history and the world, our right to study, to vote, to participate i.e. to live within a society.
    So it should be clear for the Europeans that any Muslim country does not fit in the European culture and values. Europe Union should be defined in terms of those principles.
    The price for avid economical interest will be the lost of Europe.
    Europe is Goethe, Cervantes, Camões, Erasmus, Darwin, Dante, Curie, Smetana, Liszt, and so, in a different view point, it is Rasmussen, Columbus, Fernando de Magalhaes, Napoleon, Churchill, there is no place for Saladin and alike as a European figure.
    Europe is not Islamic, it should not be and I hope will never be. Muslim culture is one of the world culture definitively not a European one.

  2. Women were voting in Turkey before many european country and emancipation has a long history in Turkey. Furthermore how would people have discovered greek texts and other triggers to enlightenment would it not have been through exchanges with the ottomans..

    You can only take religion for a cultural asset not for a culture. Otherwise brazilian would be european since a long time 🙂

  3. To soraia and all the same minded people. Europe is suposed to be a democratic nation not a christian club, people of equal opportunity… How can such accepting nations create people like soraia saying muslims dont belong in europe? As a european white guy, I would like to say that no matter what the religion is of a country, the most important is the countries democratic beliefs, no matter what the religion is, as long as they respect equality and other religions. Last time I checked Turkey is a democratic nation…

    Stop making us Europeans look bad, stop creating a christian club, I’m an European athiest, europe is not welcoming racist muslims that cause terror attacks, but also not accepting christians that dont want other believers, in the end its not the ethnicty, but a belief and any European amongst us can be muslim as well, i repeat islam is a belief not an ethnicity!

    Turkey is a culture powerhouse, the people of Turkey are mixed origins but recent gene study shows they are relatives of the Balkans and not the Middle Easts, their economy is growing fast and they are doing the best they can on slowly adjusting their strong ethnic culture and westernising (altough a very westernised country).

    If Turkey doesnt deserve EU membership, than I dont know who does?

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