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After the 2014 European Parliament Elections: What is at Stake for Europe and Turkey-EU Relations? 24 septembre 2014

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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IPC-Mercator Policy Brief, September 2014

Ebru Turhan *

The 2014 European Parliament elections took place at a time when the European Union (EU) seemed to face serious internal challenges. The low voter turnout, particularly in new member states, raises questions about a “true reunification” between the Central and Eastern European countries and the rest of Europe a decade after the EU’s eastward enlargement. The election success of Euroskeptic and far-right parties is unlikely to shake the political discourse at the aggregate EU level due to the heterogeneous structure of the anti-establishment political landscape. However, at the national level, the governing mainstream parties may find it necessary to increasingly adopt “moderate” Euroskeptic positions in member states where anti-establishment parties made big gains. The results severely weakened the profile of French and British leaders, while reinforcing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position at both EU and national levels. Given their weakened profile and upcoming elections, French and British leaders can hardly act as balancer against Chancellor Merkel in intergovernmental talks on Turkish accession to the EU. The anti-establishment parties are expected to be highly active in the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, which could complicate the visa liberalization dialogue between Turkey and the EU. In the aftermath of the elections, the European political elite may lean towards policies that don’t favor immigration and enlargement. However, an increasingly inward-looking, Euroskeptic Union could hardly overcome its crisis of democratic legitimacy nor could it establish itself as a credible actor in global affairs.

* Ebru Turhan is a Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), Sabancı University.

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