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EU Celebrates, Considers How to Make Orderly Home

December 16 2002 at 6:35 PM
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B.W.  (no login)

 
EU Celebrates, Considers How to Make Orderly Home
Sat Dec 14, 9:28 AM ET


By Brian Williams

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The European Union was on the road to becoming wider and bigger on Saturday after embracing 10 mostly ex-communist nations but now has to make an orderly home for 450 million people speaking a multitude of languages.

With all-night champagne parties celebrating the EUs biggest ever expansion over, reality was still setting in about what comes next and what could still go wrong.


German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (C) shakes hands with Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul (L) next to French President Jacques Chirac (R) during the EU enlargement summit in Copenhagen, December 13, 2002. The European Union was on the road to becoming wider and bigger Dec. 14 after embracing 10 mostly ex-communist nations but now has to make an orderly home for 450 million people speaking a multitude of languages. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)


The decision to add 10 new members to the present 15 came at the end of an intense two-day Copenhagen summit and means the EU's population will grow by 20 percent to 450 million people, creating an economic colossus to rival the United States.

On the horizon are another 65 million if Turkey fulfils its pledge to be ready to start formal entry talks by 2004.

"Good Morning Europe," was the headline of Poland's leading business daily Rzeczpospolita while Slovenia's Novy Cas proclaimed "Weve got it. They invited us to the EU."

"Europe is spreading its wings in freedom, in prosperity and in peace. This is a truly proud moment for the European Union," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the summit host, said in an emotional final speech.

Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak republics, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta won the right to join the EU in May 2004, creating a bloc of 25 nations extending from the Atlantic to the eastern Mediterranean.

The candidates, whose 75 million citizens are, on average, less than half as well off as their EU counterparts, won promises of extra cash, higher farm subsidies and output quotas in bargaining which ran late into Friday evening.

EU leaders made minor concessions, but managed to keep the overall cost of paying for the expansion to some 40.8 billion euros -- less than was originally budgeted back in 1999.

But the challenges before formal entry are many.

TOWER OF BABEL

They range from a risk of the EU turning into a so-called "Tower of Babel" from the many languages in which negotiations must now be conducted to gridlock on decisions because of the need for consensus and unanimity.

The first steps are referendums in the 10 countries accepted at the summit on arrangements -- mainly financial -- for entry.

Hungary is the first with a referendum in April followed by votes in other countries over the next year.

Reflecting deep-seated concerns of becoming second-class EU citizens, opponents were already setting out their stalls.

"Also Officially in Europe" wrote Slovenian daily Delo. It derided EU farm policy as "catastrophic."

Polands Lech Walesa, former leader of the Solidarity trade union, could not resist a swipe at the deal Poland negotiated.

"We paid a heavy price for this day. Those who once pulled us to the East now pull us to the West," he said.

Czech Republic political commentator Viliam Buchert said economic benefits were not the important issues.

"Why haggle with Brussels for a few euros when there is no discussion on whether the united Europe will not take away a part of our sovereignty?" he asked in a newspaper article.

LUCRATIVE MARKETS

But money, and the prospect at last of access to the EUs lucrative markets was on the mind of many business people.

"I hope the huge pile of papers I need to import and sell western things here will now disappear. Unless Brussels prepares new ones..." said Marek Budic, 42, a food importer in Prague.

The looming new blocs population of 450 million becomes the worlds largest market surpassing the 420 million in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

However its economic power of $9.5 trillion is second to NAFTAs nearly $12 trillion.

The United States welcomed the landmark accord.

"...the European Union's decision further unites the new and the established democracies of Europe, and advances the creation of a Europe whole, free, and at peace," said a statement issued by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites).

Turkey, whose hopes of an early EU invitation were dashed after a lobbying effort backed by the United States, preferred to look at a glass half full rather than half empty.

The summit said it would review Muslim Turkey's progress in human rights in late 2004 with an eye to opening talks in mid-2005. Turkish leaders had wanted a firm talks date in 2003.

"Yesterday's decision was a step forward for Turkey, and we assess it as a closer approach to the EU," Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said.

"The glass is not half empty. We need to look at the full half," Sener told a conference at the alpine resort of Abant.

Turkeys mass-circulation Milliyet said the summit was one of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

"We finally got a date, but not the date we wanted," the newspaper said.

 
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pranachandra
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Turkey's entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 6:38 PM 


I'm happy to see that the European Union is sticking to its guns in refusing to bow to American and Turkish pressures on this issue. True to their shameless form, the Bush Administration has tried everything in its power to badger the EU into compromising its principles when it comes to criteria for membership into the union.

I now hope that the issue of extreme discrimination against the Kurdish people will feature into the human rights criteria of the EU when they consider Turkey's qualifications for possible membership. And to think that the Bush Administration has promised Turkey that they would ensure that the Kurdish people do not present a problem for their government.

Maybe they have a contigency plan to wipe out the Kurds as a solution to this "problem" so that they could stage their attack on Iraq from northern Turkey. Congratulations to the EU for not kowtowing to the Bush Administration.

 
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RFman007
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Re: Turkey's non-entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 6:39 PM 

USA simply had to look like doing their utmost to help Turkish "cause".

I think all players, including Turkish politicians, know that Bush has no leverage on this matter.

Turkish politicians backed themselves into a corner by making this membership bid into a crusade. As if this were a referandum on Turkish identity and what EU said mattered immensely. They had to play to their audiance and had to LOOK like they are doing EVERYTHING within their power to further the "cause"!

What better way to (look like) further any cause then getting the only superpower behind it!

In the end, not even a fig leaf was offered. Which is for the best.

EU has effectively postponed Turkish memebership to an indefinite future where none of the current generation of Turks or Europeans need to worry about it.

That far into the future, since we will ALL be Americans, it really does not matter. LOL!

 
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klinkxx
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Re: Turkey's non-entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 6:40 PM 

Silly fool

there is no such thing as an amerikkkan (except Native Americans) - no class, no culture not even decent cars - just a melting pot of people from around the world - not necessarily bad as it is happening around the world - but you will run out of $$$ well before you have any opportunity to have the world.

Didn't Hitler try that? Is that where Goerge W gets his lines?

 
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Unity87
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Re: Turkey's non-entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 6:42 PM 

One wonders.

If Bush's promises to Turkey to intercede on its behalf with the EU were intended to be little more than lip service, then it was a foolish promise to make. It has resulted in far more condemnation from the EU than would have been expected from Turkey without it and shows Bush's stunning lack of experience in foreign policy matters.

If the promise was genuine, then not only does it demonstrate his ignorance, but also his willingness to promise anyone anything, whether he can deliver or not, in order to get his way. Not only should this be a lesson to Turkey and the entire EU membership, but to the American people as well.

 
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jkandem
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Re: Turkey's non-entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 6:43 PM 

RF's post was right on target. EU gave up to the US as soon as US entered Bosnia to prevent the racist killings of the Serbs.

I've worked in France, England,and Ireland. I've also worked in the US, frankly French have no chance of even dominating your ex-colonies. This does not happen by working from 9 to 5 and taking 2 hour lunches accompanied by 2 glasses of wine. It also does not happen when companies are afraid to hire some one because it will take them 2 years to get rid of the person if things do not work out.

USA is taking over, whether you like it or not. They do not have to own your country to own you. Wake up and smell the coffee.

 
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yu_hawan
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US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 6:56 PM 

I am American and it disturbs me that my government is meddling in EU affairs like this.

The US wants Turkey to become part of the EU because Turkey cooperates with the US military.

The EU has plenty of good reasons to be concerned about Turkey's membership in the EU and it should be allowed to discuss and debate those issues.

Turkey wants EU membership...but only on its terms.

It should show some good faith by withdrawing its military from the occupation of Northern Cyprus - immediately.

That might help some.

 
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sagehen03us
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 6:58 PM 

The US wants Turkey's admission to the EU because it wants the country to be economically integrated. Economic integration would take care of existing ethnic tensions between the Turks and Kurds. Economic integration would furthermore keep Islamic Fundamentalism out.

But I think Turkey should just form an eastern regional bloc and include Russia, possibly Greece, the Central Asian states, and Iran when the fundamentalists fall from power. After all the combined populations of those states would be greater than the EU, and most of them have oil.

 
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gator
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Re: Turkey's non-entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 7:00 PM 

Many actions by this admistration puts on the same path as Hilters ascension to domination.

Secret intelligence system capable of spying on any American without cause. Not answerable to anyone other than Rummy Rumsfeld.

Hiring convicted felons, 3 I believe, into power management positions, This motley group is headed by Poindexrter convicted after the Iran Contra shinanigans.

Destroy all logical environment laws.

Under the mantra of "War on Terrorism" use secrecy to undermine at will the constitution, and the bill of rights

It is hard to "get a life, get real... or both" when a president who certainly does not have the brightest light in the harbor, imposes what surely appears to be facist doctrines.

 
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yu_hawan
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:08 PM 


Probably truth to what you say.

The Kurds, however, are as populous as the other peoples of the Middle East. They number total (in Turkey, northern Iraq, Western Iran, Northern Syria) at around 30 million thus they are more numerious than Syrians, Lebanese, Israelis, Iraqis, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Saudis,etc. In fact the only nationalities in their vicinity which are more numerious than them are Turks (~50million) and Persians/Iranians (~40million).

To deprive them of their own country while all of the neighbors are allowed to have theirs is - well, it's morally wrong.

 
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snoble_2000
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:09 PM 

yu-hawn is a racist. He is writing nothing but anti Turkish propaganda. He claims to be Celtic but from all his hatred hearted posts he can only be Greek or Armenian. All he mentioned on other topics were about Armenian and Greek suffering. He is nothing to argue with because he wears it on his sleeve.

 
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pong_god
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Re: Welcome new slave states?

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December 16 2002, 7:11 PM 

Dream on. The EU and the US FedGov are central authorities that spend countless manhours writing new laws that restrict what we can do with our lives. If I truly have control over my life, why does the IRS have over 10,000 pages of code to determine how much I can keep of what I earn for myself?

 
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snoble_2000
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Re: Turkey's entry in the EU

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December 16 2002, 7:12 PM 

What discrimination when there are Kurds in the Turkey's goverment. During the Gulf war the big boast was that the president of Turkey was a Kurd. Remember their women P.M. Oh please stop the jealousy. Europe will bow to America while it crumbles from the weight of it's dead beat members.

 
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unbenttwig
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World unites and US recedes

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December 16 2002, 7:14 PM 

While the world unites the USA recedes into its self-made corner with new enemies popping out every day and backpack nuclear weapons proliferating.

When Gorbachev took down the cold war in 1989 he made this statement to the USA: "We are going to do the worst thing imaginable to you - we are going to deprive you of an enemy."

There is much wisdom in that statement but the reality of the "modern" USA is that with a friend like Israel we don't have to go looking for enemies.

 
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Pelitos74
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:15 PM 

I am also American and I find it highly hypocritical that President Bush is lobbying on behalf of Turkey for entry into the EU, when he cannot even agree to sit down and discuss immigration reform with Mexico's President Fox.

Turkey's entry to the EU would allow the free movement of labor as well as provide Turkey with financial assistance from the EU. As a developing nation of 70 million people, the EU is correct in its hesitation to admit Turkey into the union. If Bush can lobby on Turkey's behalf, then he should be able to do the same for a neighboring developing country of 100 million people.

 
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surferde234
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Turkish polticians harmed their cause

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December 16 2002, 7:16 PM 

With their agressive ways of DEMANDING and THREATENING the Turkish politicians have just harmed their own cause. They are really not skilled "diplomats" and did a terrible job in the negotiations.

When people in EU countries saw how agressive and demanding the Turkish politicians acted at the summit many started to wonder what a union with Turkey would be like. They got scared of accepting Turkey as an EU member. A lot of sympathy and confidence in Turkey has been lost. So not even the pressure from W. could help.

 
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snoble_2000
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:18 PM 

yu_hawan is just an Anti-Turk because all he has written about on the message board is how mean the Turks were to the Armenians, Greeks and Kurds. His or her view on history is a making of a hateful imagination.

---

I am glad that you are a proud american, Not! The Turks would have built up Europe as they did for Germany and that is why Germany is a power in Europe and the largest bank accounts are those of the Turks. So go.

 
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surferde234
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:19 PM 

Pelitos, I agree to you... many people in Europe notice the hypocracy of Bush concerning this issue. Maybe the EU leaders should lobby for open borders and billions in US financial aid to Mexico to increase the stability in Central America.

Friends of mine from Turkey have also realized Bush's true intentions which are the use of Turkish millitairy basis in an attack on Iraq and the construction of an oil pipeline from the Caspain Sea to a Turkish port.

 
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Pelitos74
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:21 PM 


If you read my post carefully, you will find that I am not actually opposed to Turkey's entry into the EU. What I am pointing out is that Turkey's admission to the EU is very much similar (economically) to an immigration pact between the US and Mexico. The facts are that the US and the EU are rich and Turkey and Mexico are developing nations that provide immigrants (both legal and illegal) to them respectively.

---

Surferde, it is obvious that Bush's true motivation for getting Turkey into the EU is to gain greater military cooperation with Turkey as well as in the construction and protection of oil pipelines.

Now would be the perfect opportunity for EU leaders to point at Mexico and ask Bush why he can't practice what he preaches.

----

I should also add that if we are to compare Turkey's admission to the EU to an immigration reform pact between the US and Mexico, we could further Mexico's by pointing out that Mexico is a Christian country. As a Christian, why would Bush lobby on behalf of a Muslim country yet not sit down and negotiate with a Christian neighbor?

 
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millhousej
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Re: US Should Stay Out Of This Debate

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December 16 2002, 7:22 PM 

Obviously, Bush didn't lobby very hard because Turkey wasn't admitted. Also, we have economic aggrements with Mexico. The NA in NAFTA stands for North American and includes Mexico as well as Canada.

I suspect the "immigration reform" that your speaking of amounts to a relaxation of immigration laws. It will not benefit the US or Mexico to have a large migration of people across an open boarder.

We are able to have that type of border with Canada because the economic conditions in the two countries are similar, so having an open boarder doesn't result in a Canadian mass-exidus. The same can't be said about Mexico.

 
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