06 July 2006

No to Turkey

To keep it short, I do firmly oppose prospective Turkish membership of the European Union. I believe that a federal Europe can survive if and only if there is a strong feeling of mutual identification and solidarity among European citizens. Put it simply, only if there is a strong sense of European identity, or better still - a European nation.

I believe that people of Europe can never feel close enough to Turkey because it lies in a different cultural sphere. Yes, Turkish accession may be beneficial for economic reasons once the issues of the Armenian genocide and the occupation of Cyprus are solved. Yes, Turkey can be the key to overcoming the Western inability to communicate with Teheran and Damascus. Despite all that, the Turkish entry to the EU would mean the end of deeper political integration, the end of pursuing the ideal of a united, federal Europe. That is indeed why the Eurosceptic forces like the Czech President Václav Klaus or the British political establishment wish that Turkey joined the Union. On the other hand, the fervent federalists, like Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the President of the Convention which drew up the Draft Constitutional Treaty, are against Turkey joining the EU.

My political party, Europe United, has a very good policy on the enlargement. Every new candidate state should be subjected to a vote in a pan-EU referendum:

A Pan-Union referendum would be simultaneous referenda in each member state with each vote being counted at Member State and Union level. This means that a citizen who votes contrary to the majority in their respective Member State can still have their say at Union level. A Majority would be required in 65% of Member States and at Union level.

As a result, every big constitutional change such as enlargement would have to acquire full backing of the electorate, while eliminating the possibility that just one small state might block a reform supported by everyone else.

Nevertheless, the Party cannot actually be neutral on the subject, because it has to decide whether it will have a branch in Turkey or not. So far, there is a Turkish branch and as an implication Europe United supports the Turkish membership of the EU.

I, and my fellow Senators Nikolas Tilaveridis of Italy and Araceli Turmo of France have therefore drafted a resolution regarding Turkey, which we thought had a realistic chance to get a majority of votes. It basically demands depriving Turkey of its status of an EU candidate country unless it recognises Cyprus and takes responsibility for the genocide of the Armenians.

The resolution has now become an official policy of Europe United, having received a majority of votes in the internal Party poll. You can read the whole text of the resolution and the debate on it here.