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Betraying Sarkozy, ‘wise men’ back Turkish EU bid 11 mai 2010

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, France, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Today’s Zaman (Turkey), 11 May 2010, Tuesday

Selçuk Gültaşlı, Brussels

The European Union’s Reflection Group, which was created in December 2007 upon the initiative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to present recommendations for the year 2030, has concluded that Brussels should keep its promises to Turkey, meaning that negotiations should continue with the aim of full membership. 

The 12-person group, headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, which held its first meeting during the French presidency of the EU in December 2008, announced their findings on Saturday, hugely disappointing Sarkozy. When Sarkozy floated the idea back in 2007, one of the aims was to find legitimate reasons to reject Turkey’s bid for EU membership. However, the findings of the European wise men concluded just the opposite, warning the EU to keep its promises or lose credibility.

Answering reporters’ questions in Brussels, Gonzalez clearly warned the EU to continue accession talks with Turkey and bluntly declared that the EU would lose its credibility if it did otherwise. The report, officially named “Project Europe 2030: Challenges and Opportunities,” says, “In line with this policy of engagement and inclusiveness, the Union must honor its commitments with regard to the current official candidates, including Turkey, and carry on with the negotiation process.”

Gonzalez argued that if the conditions of the engagement with Turkey were to change, this could only be achieved by the consent of the two parties, not by one party deciding unilaterally. Asked if the French president would be disappointed, Gonzalez said they did not have any mandate to please any European leader or any European country.

In another setback for Sarkozy, the report clearly argues that EU does not have geographic borders, which the French president has energetically tried to impose. The wise men argued that the borders of the EU are based on “values” and nothing else. “The EU must stay open to potential new members from Europe, assessing every candidacy on its own merits and compliance with the membership criteria. These are in fact the true limits of Europe,” the report says.

The 46-page report, prepared after one and a half years of intensive debates, refutes the policy of Sarkozy and right and extreme right-wing politicians on a very sensitive issue: immigration. The Reflection Group concluded that immigration is one of the basic instruments of counterbalancing the problems that will be created by declining birth rates. “But with European demographic patterns becoming entrenched, the impact of these measures will not be sufficient. In the end, the European Union’s demographic challenge will only be addressed through two sets of complementary actions: boosting labor market participation rates and implementing a balanced, fair and proactive immigration policy,” says the report, stressing that the EU will need 100 million immigrants by the year 2050. Sarkozy and right-wing politicians have declared immigration one of the root causes of problems Europe faces today. Immigration together with Islam and integration were called the “three vote catchers” in the regional elections in France held in March.


1. EU Wise Men back Turkey, thus oppose Sarkozy | Erkan's Field Diary - 19 mai 2010

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