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Old 01-05-2004, 03:18   #1
haku haku is offline
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European Union [discussion thread]

First i wanted to make a thread to welcome the new members in the EU, but then i thought that it would be too limiting so i'm making this a European Union general discussion thread.

I'm old enough to have lived under the cold war and when i was a teenager we used to live with the fear that we could be at war with the Eastern block anyday. I would have never tought that one day some of those countries would actually join the EU.
I also happen to live in a region, Normandy, that paid a heavy price to WWII. The biggest city, Rouen, where i live was destroyed at 20% and the second and third biggest cities were destroyed at 90% (by the allied ironically), it cost heavy civilian casualties and we have French, German, British, American, and Canadian military cemetaries everywhere with thousands of tombs to remind us what a butchery it was.

I'm starting with that because that is the first and main reason the European Community which later became the European Union was created. To prevent a new European civil war, because that's what WWI and WWII are! European civil wars that spread to the entire planet. Europeans had been used to live with regional wars between European states for centuries, but after WWII they realized that the level of destruction had just gone too far and that if there was ever a new continental war, there would be nothing left. France and Germany alone had been at war three times in 50 years, it had to stop.

So the European Community was created and even if it has many flaws, it has succeeded in its main goal: continental peace. Not a single armed conflict between the member states in over half a century, it's actually the longest period of peace that this part of Europe has known since the Roman Empire!

Today the European Union is expanding to the East and that's making me extremely glad. I know that those new members mostly see the EU has an area of economical wealth. Of course that's an essential part of what it is, but i wanted to remind here that the original goal of the EU is to maintain continental peace. Let's never forget that because Europe has known too many wars for us to say that it will never happen again. It could happen again if the EU was to collapse one day.

But i'll stop there. Today is to celebrate the historical day that finally saw the reunification of Europe.

Welcome to all the people of the new EU member states.
~~~~~~~~~~~
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Last edited by haku; 01-05-2004 at 03:56.
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Old 01-05-2004, 05:13   #2
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I will be in Poland the week 1/2 after all these celebrations, and the EU Preparations are actually interrupting our plans, but a lot of those going are very excited to be going back [some of them, to their homes] to a country that is United with that of the rest of Europe... and so i am.

YAY!!!
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Old 01-05-2004, 22:59   #3
freddie freddie is offline
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Thanks I guess.

Well it's been a long journey from 1991. We were extremely lucky to jump ship before Yugoslavia finaly sank and all the bloodshead happened in other Ex-Yugoslav countries in the mid 90s. European Union was always the ultimative goal. We're here now. With mixed emotions. In one way it's cool to end this transitional period symbolicaly with the joining of EU as the most democratic political union of all times. Then again we do have concerns what will happen to our agriculture which has been in a slump for ages. And now with the EU and the open market... I just have doubt our farmers will be able to compete properly with western competition.
Another concern is the poor development of new members in general. Our gross national product is the higest of any joining member but still way lower then any of the existing EU members. And we will have to face this stronger market in an open-trade situation. Who knows what might happen. Just to give you a glimpse at our economic inferiority: Bank Austria is the smallest bank in EU. And even they are larger in capital then all slovene banks put together.

Of course there's no doubt that we have no other choice but to join. Isolation wouldn't be the smartest policy at this time of global integration. Especialy for a nation of 2 million people. We're no switzerland. :P
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Old 02-05-2004, 12:25   #4
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We're in now. Where is that promised milk and honey?

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Old 02-05-2004, 14:30   #5
freddie freddie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luxxi
We're in now. Where is that promised milk and honey?

Lol. No milk & Honey. EU is not Santa. We'll still have to work damn hard to make it in the open market. This might just make it a bit easier compared to the rest of the eastern block. Or will it?
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Old 10-05-2004, 11:46   #6
taty994945 taty994945 is offline
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Congratulations on your membership. I think it's gonna be real good.
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Old 03-06-2004, 15:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haku
I don't see Ukraine joining the EU, they are in the Russian sphere of influence. Personaly, i think that countries that were parts of the USSR (with the exception of the Baltic states of course) should not be admitted into the EU. For me, the former boder of the USSR is where the EU expansion to the east must stop
haku, please, explain why? Im curious to hear why you say that.

So, Bulgaria wasnt part of USSR, but we almost became one at one point (which of course was quickly prevented, since the west was freaking out )... so, do we deserve to be in the EU one day?
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Old 03-06-2004, 15:36   #8
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Yeah, haku could you explain? I'm also curious.

For me, I wouldn't mind at all. We have many Ukranians here (and also people from Romania, and of course many Russians) I love them all! They are very hardworking and very simple and funny - I don't know, they don't have that kind of arrogant side that we do here in the West. So, why not? I'm sure that would help their country a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolasfcuk
So, Bulgaria wasnt part of USSR, but we almost became one at one point (which of course was quickly prevented, since the west was freaking out )... so, do we deserve to be in the EU one day?
For me, every European country who is able to be tolerant and respect other EU countries and contribute to an united strong Europe deserves to join the EU. The ones who only want to stick to their own rules and live in chaos should not join. But I don't think Bulgaria is one of them - although I don't know the country, but from what I've heard, I don't think so As long as there's enough wealth and help for every EU country.. why not?

Actually, I just remembered something Lena said in that memorable Norway interview... "Russia was always alone..." - it's true, and it also applies to the countries that surround Russia. If it wasn't for tATu and this site, I would have never thought Russia and the surrounding countries had so much great stuff to offer - stuff they can't promote, or even if they can, it won't get great reception exactly because of political reasons. I think this is sad, therefore I think that if some ex-USSR country joined the EU, it would break those barriers a little bit and bring some more curiosity for Western Europeans to know more about the eastern countries and what they're about, and even invest in them. It's really sad that we all live in the same continent but some countries have to be 'isolated' from others, just for political reasons.

For example, I'm gonna be working in show-biz. And now I know I can always look for help in the eastern european countries, cause they have such great knowledge and fresh, untouched concepts in terms of music, movies and other forms of art. I didn't know this before, at least not with such greatness and information, basicly due to the Western media which strictly for political reasons does not find this information 'revelant'... I think that should stop.

Last edited by Unplugged; 03-06-2004 at 16:03.
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Old 03-06-2004, 16:39   #9
haku haku is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolasfcuk
So, Bulgaria wasnt part of USSR, but we almost became one at one point [...] so, do we deserve to be in the EU one day?
Of course, i hope Bulgaria will join the EU, if the Bulgarian people want to of course.

For me, any country of the following list can join the EU if they wish:

Bulgaria
Romania
Croatia
Serbia
Bosnia
Macedonia
Albania
Iceland
Norway
Switzerland

But no more.

I'm opposed to Turkey because they are not a European country.

I'm also opposed to any more countries from the former USSR.
Most of those countries are members of the Commonwealth of Independent Sates and obviously have strong economic ties with Russia. Russia doesn't want to join the EU, they want to develop the CIS and strengthen their sphere of influence. For a country like Ukraine, i think it makes much more sense to continue their economic development inside the CIS and have economic relations with the EU on a CIS-EU level. To join the EU, Ukraine would have to severe their links with Russia, which i don't think they are ready to do, and the level of economic development of Ukraine is just too low compared to the EU, it would be counterproductive both for the EU and Ukraine to have Ukraine as a member.
The EU just grew from 15 to 25 members, and could reach 35 with my list above, the geographical/cultural/economic area covered by those 35 countries is in my opinion the right size for a mature EU to develop toward a very tight and stable political union. Once this area of 30 to 35 countries is achieved, the EU will have to clearly say that the EU has reached its maximum size and that no more new members will be accepted. The EU will then be able to focus only on strengthening its political union and maybe evolve toward a confederation, and then a federation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by staringelf
I think that if some ex-USSR country joined the EU
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were part of the USSR and are now EU member states. I've always been strongly in favor of the 3 Baltic states joining the EU and i don't have any problem with them.
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Old 04-06-2004, 15:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haku
I'm opposed to Turkey because they are not a European country.
Me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haku
To join the EU, Ukraine would have to severe their links with Russia, which i don't think they are ready to do
Maybe they want to be ready? I mean, if the prime-minister created a whole new department just for development of Eurovision Song Contest 2005 and building a new arena in order to bring attention to the modern side of Ukraine so they can prove they are a truly european country.

check this article
http://www.doteurovision.com/phpnews...ullnews&id=322

If you read it, you'll see how everybody there is determined to give the Ukraine an EU-approach and back off from the old soviet connections.
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Old 05-06-2004, 13:25   #11
simon simon is offline
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I don't see why countries that were formerly in the USSR shouldn't be allowed to join the EU. Ukraine, for instance, is more economically developed than Albania. Surely it should be up to the Ukrainians to decide whether they want to be in the EU or in Russia's sphere of influence?

And why can't Moldova join? Like the Baltic States, it was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1812. In 1919, it left and became part of Romania (the majority of the people are Romanian). Stalin took it again in 1940, like the Baltic States. I know that Moldova is now the poorest, most economically devastated country in Europe and most adults under 40 now work illegally abroad, but it's so closely related to Romania that it seems perverse to rule that in principle it can never be admitted.
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Old 05-06-2004, 18:54   #12
haku haku is offline
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Ukraine is with Russia and Belarus one of the founding members of the CIS and has been an active member since its beginning, i think it shows clearly that Ukraine sees its future with Russia and not the EU. When the CIS was founded after the collapse of the USSR, the Baltic states refused to join, they made clear statements at the time that their goal was to join the EU in the future and therefore it made no sense for them to join the CIS, they even asked Russia to withdraw completely their military forces from their territories. And the Baltic states did not only made statements, they acted. Following the example of former communist countries in central Europe, they engaged profound political and economic reforms which allowed them to meet EU standards in 10 years!
Ukraine did no such thing. As far as i know Ukraine's economy is still very Soviet like, entire sectors of the economy are still state managed. Very little reforms have been engaged and they don't seem very eager to accelerate the process.

And yes, i've read the article posted by staringelf and some of those quotes are incredible, and not in a good way. First, insulting the EU commission by saying "the EU commission has been put in its place" is not going to help them. Those journalists have to stop making a relation between winning the Eurovison and joining the EU! There is no relation whatsoever, winning a tacky song contest does not make you economically and politically ready to join the EU.
Second, what's scary there is that they seem to *demand* to join the EU *now*, and they don't seem to realize at all the huge amount of work they have to do before being even close to EU standards. They should focus a little more on reforming their economy instead of going crazy for "Wild Dances" thinking that it's going to solve all their problems.
Whether they like it or not, Ukraine is in no shape or form ready to join the EU, and it won't be the case anytime soon.

Let's throw in just a few numbers here, the raw GDPs (Gross Domestic Product) per inhabitant of the 15 EU member states before the enlargement:
Austria $25,432 - Belgium $23,981 - Denmark $31,852 - Finland $25,385 - France $24,037 - Germany $24,209 - Greece $12,202 - Ireland $32,105 - Italy $20,554 - Luxembourg $45,778 - Netherlands $26,250 - Portugal $12,200 - Spain $16,457 - Sweden $26,966 - UK $25,950

Average for EU 15: $24,890

Raw GDPs of new EU member states:
Cyprus: $13,289 - Czech R: $6,806 - Estonia: $4,336 - Hungary: $6,400 - Latvia: $3,500 - Lithuania: $3,432 - Malta: $10,051 - Poland: $4,896 - Slovakia: $4,389 - Slovenia: $10,600

Average for new EU member states: $6,769
Average for EU 25: $17,642

Now, talking only of the former communist countries, we can see that Slovenia already has a GDP comparable to some older EU members, the Czech R. and Hungary are around $6,500 and are progressing very well, the five others are between $3,500 and 5,000 which is quite low but again their economic stats are encouraging. All those new members have a high growth rate and i am confident that most of those countries will reach a $15,000 per inhabitant GDP in the next 10 years, even faster for countries that are doing well like Slovenia, the Czech R and Hungary.
Those countries did what had to be done to be ready to join the EU, and after another decade of help from the older 15 members, they will have filled the gap and will be fully participating to the wealth and growth of the whole EU.

Ukraine is another story, its current raw GDP per inhabitant is of $843, that's 4 times smaller than the lowest GDPs among the new members! 20 times smaller than the average of the EU! It's simply impossible to admit such a country in the EU. The EU is rich, but the balance between the richer members and the less rich members has to be "reasonable", there has to be enough rich members to help the less rich. The EU just admitted 10 new members that will have to double or triple their GDPs to fill the gap with the older members, it's going to take some time to "digest" that enlargement.
But like i said, i'm confident that it's going to go well because those new members have the will and they have made the necessary reforms to meet that goal.
I haven't seen any such thing from Ukraine, that, plus their choice of participating in the CIS, is why i don't believe Ukraine should join the EU. And BTW, Ukraine has not even applied to join the EU! They haven't even made an official statement to the EU that they intend to do so. (Only Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, and Turkey have officially applied to this day.)
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Last edited by haku; 05-06-2004 at 23:19. Reason: to correct numbers
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Old 05-06-2004, 19:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haku
I'm opposed to Turkey because they are not a European country.
Hey, Israel takes part in whole lot of European thingies and it's even less of a European country than Turkey yet nobody complains.
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Old 05-06-2004, 19:33   #14
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A very interesting post, haku. I was surprised that your figure for the GDP per capita of Ukraine was so much lower than that of the Central European and Baltic States. The reason is that you quoted them with purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP per capita, while you quoted Ukraine's raw GDP per capita. It's like comparing apples and oranges.

The CIA World Factbook http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

gives PPP GDP per capita: France $26000, Latvia $8900, Ukraine $4500

http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/menu_infopays.html

gives raw GDP per capita: France $24037, Latvia $3500, Ukraine $843

You can see that the difference between Ukraine and Latvia is in fact much less than the difference between Latvia and a rich EU member state like France.

Incidentally, Russia is as wealthy as Latvia either way.

I do agree that Ukraine is in a mess. It hasn't reformed and shouldn't be admitted now. But I wasn't saying that it should be. I was disagreeing with your view that it should never be.
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Old 06-06-2004, 00:53   #15
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Simon, thanks for giving the accurate numbers and those helpful links.
I have edited my post to reflect the correct numbers (using raw GDP.)

I'll admit that saying never is going too far, so i'll take that back.

When i said that the expansion of the EU to the east will have to stop to the border of the former USSR, i really meant it as "for the foreseeable future".

The EU has to expand to the east progressively and in logical steps.

The first step is Central Europe states + Baltic states.
The second step will be eastern Balkan states.
The third step will be western Balkan states.

Between each of those steps the EU will have to take breaks of several years, integrating 15 countries that are considerably behind in terms of economic development is not an easy task. The goal is to bring every country to the level of the older 15 members, not to bring every one down. As rich as the older 15 are, there is a limit to how many countries they can help at once. Things have to be done progressively.

So in my opinion, anything further east than the former USSR border will have to wait for the foreseeable future, especially since those countries are members of the CIS and are receiving help from Russia.
I'm optimistic though, i'll say that it's going to take from 10 to 20 years for the former communist countries of Central Europe and the Balkans to fill the gap with the older 15 EU member states. That's not that long.
And Ukraine may not still want to join the EU in 20 years, they may feel more comfortable within the CIS with Russia.

In any case, the debate on the future definitive borders of the EU is interesting. It is time for the EU to make a final list of which countries will be allowed to join and which won't. The EU citizens need to get a clear picture of the final shape of the EU, to reach a stable political Union the EU need fixed borders.

Personally, i stay on the list of 10 more countries i've given in a previous post. That would be an EU with 35 countries covering an area that i consider suitable to develop a wealthy economic union and a stable political union.

A brief article on this topic:
http://www.euobserver.com/?sid=15&aid=16346
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Last edited by haku; 06-06-2004 at 03:27.
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Old 06-06-2004, 14:04   #16
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As an environmentalist I think enlargement has serious downsides. The Common Agricultural Policy is going to lead to the destruction of Central and Eastern Europe's forests and meadows unless it is totally reformed. The CAP might be reformed satisfactorily if the veto is removed in the new Constitution. If big reforms aren't made, enlargement will be a huge environmental disaster over the next 20 years.

However, the prospect of EU membership has been a tremendous carrot to get candidate countries to improve things in many areas. I don't think that the leverage was fully used - the Czech Republic and Slovakia were admitted even though they persecute Gypsies. Hungary by contrast made big efforts to improve the treatment of Gypsies. I don't think the Czech Republic and Slovakia should have been admitted until they made similar efforts. I'm also troubled by the way Slovenia was admitted without satisfactorily resolving the issue of residents of non-Slovene ethnic origin who had been secretly stripped of citizenship and denied civil rights.

I'm concerned that Romania may be admitted in 2007 despite various human rights problems, such as the failure to protect children and the 'disappearance' of journalists. The treatment of Gypsies is also a problem, but it's not as bad as in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Obviously, Ukraine is a very long way from being an acceptable EU member state. Absorbing a country with the same sort of population as France or the UK or all the 10 admitted this time put together, would be a huge challenge. But Ukraine wants to join the EU and the carrot of membership could have very positive effects on a country that would have no incentive to do these things if it was told it couldn't join. It would force Ukraine into Russia's orbit, which is surely the last thing we want.

I think the same argument applies to Turkey. Look at the positive changes that the prospect of EU membership has brought. They even outlawed discrimination against lesbians and gays in order to comply with EU standards! Can you imagine Turkey having done that on its own initiative?

The difficulty with Turkey is that it would be the biggest member state and would unbalance the Union because the country is so conservative in its cultural values. Albania and Bosnia are largely Muslim, but there's no problem because most people there take Islam about as seriously as most Europeans take Christianity - which is not very much at all. The real problem with Turkey is that it's too Muslim (these French geographical arguments are just a smokescreen). I do see that as a really serious problem. For the foreseeable future, I think that treatment of the Kurds, the practice of widespread torture and the political role of the military are all excellent reasons for not admitting Turkey. If Turkey ever reformed itself sufficiently, we'd be in a real bind. You can't say that you're not admitting them because the population take their religion too seriously and the women aren't liberated enough, but that's the truth.

By the way, I think we should admit Moldova at the same time we admit Albania and Bosnia. It's not that much more of an economic basket case than them and you haven't given any good reason to put it behind your ex-USSR iron curtain. Without the prospect of membership, it will sink ever further. Most of its citizens between the ages of 18 and 40 already work illegally in the EU. You can't accuse them of not wanting to join the West enough!

Last edited by simon; 06-06-2004 at 14:16.
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Old 06-06-2004, 15:11   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon

You can't say that you're not admitting them because the population take their religion too seriously and the women aren't liberated enough, but that's the truth.
I agree...it's totally politically incorrect to say it, but that's just about the way it is at the moment.
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Old 06-06-2004, 22:32   #18
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I agree that some ethnic discriminations in some of the new and future members have to stop. Those countries must understand that those old feuds have no place in an EU with no internal borders and where citizens, goods, and money can travel freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simon
these French geographical arguments are just a smokescreen
Oh when i said that i was opposed to Turkey because it's not a European country, i was not talking geographically, i meant that this country does not belong to the European civilization, and i don't intend to be politically correct here.

In my opinion, the EU can only admit countries that are part of the European civilization, meaning countries that are part of the Celtic, Italic, Germanic, Slavic, and Greek ethno-linguistic groups. (I am aware that Finns, Estonians, and Hungarians are not Indo-European peoples, but they've been immersed in European culture for so long that, except for their languages, they are now indistinguishable from Europeans.) And this has nothing to do with the EU being a Christian club, in my eyes Christianity is not what defines the European civilization, this civilization existed long before Christianity. European values and cultural traits have their roots in ancient Greece and also in the common background shared by all European peoples, all far more ancient than Christianity.

The EU is about unifying the European civilization, not unifying the European civilization and its neighbors. To the south, we have the Arabic civilization and no countries from that area will be admitted, to the south east we have the Turkic civilization that spreads from Turkey to the Uighur region in China and no countries from that area should be admitted either. We have nothing in common, either ethnically, culturally, historically, or linguistically, nothing at all.
And i have nothing against those civilizations, i hope that they will create pan-Arabic and pan-Turkic areas for their countries to develop in common, but that's for them to build, not us.

I am amazed to see some people criticizing the EU for only admitting European countries. That's only normal. The goal of the EU is to provide a stable, peaceful, and wealthy environment to all European peoples that share common culture, values, and history. The EU won't work if we admit a country that clearly does not belong to the European civilization, that would only jeopardize everything we've built and bring chaos.
And the theory that admitting countries from neighboring civilizations would create "bridges" and prevent a clash of civilizations is simply ridiculous. We would get the clash *inside* the EU, no good can come out of that, it would destroy the Union.

And let's be honest here, Turkey is only interested in the economic side of the EU and could care less of the political implications. Do the Turkish people really want to take part in the European parliament? No. Do they share our values about human rights and equality? Certainly not. A simple trade agreement between the EU and Turkey is enough, but the integration of Turkey as a member state is out of the question.
This ambiguous situation with Turkey which is mainly due to Turkey's strategic geographical location during the cold war has to stop, the EU must say clearly to Turkey that it won't become a member, ever.


As for Moldova, Ukraine and even Belarus, well, obviously they *are* European countries and have the right to apply, but they need to be patient. First because their economies are a mess and they need to reform, second because the fact that they are members of the CIS makes things difficult. Being of member of the CIS means that Russia still has a lot to say about what those countries do, Russia has military forces stationed in all of them, a large part of Russia's navy is stationed in Ukraine for example, Ukraine will have to work this issue with Russia because Russia won't let its navy be under EU's jurisdiction, not to mention that Russia is getting a lot of resources from Ukraine at a very low cost, that would change with an EU membership.
I agree that Moldova with only 4 million people is not too much of a burden for an EU with then 500 million people, but all the difficulties with Russia about Ukraine joining the EU also apply to Moldova even if for Russia it's more a principle than a real threat to its security.
Moldova really missed its chance 10 years ago right after the collapse of the USSR, at the time it could have merged with Romania and now it would be joining the EU in 3 years. It's a missed opportunity for them.
The wrecked economies of those countries and the necessity to work an agreement with Russia leads me to think that those countries won't be joining before the 2020s.
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Last edited by haku; 07-06-2004 at 03:26.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:41   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haku
In my opinion, the EU can only admit countries that are part of the European civilization, meaning countries that are part of the Celtic, Italic, Germanic, Slavic, and Greek ethno-linguistic groups. (I am aware that Finns, Estonians, and Hungarians are not Indo-European peoples, but they've been immersed in European culture for so long that, except for their languages, they are now indistinguishable from Europeans.)
The Finns, Estonians and Hungarians speak non-Indo-European languages that emanate from somewhere in central Asia, but DNA evidence shows that ethnically they're just the same as their Indo-European speaking neighbours. There's no trace of central Asian genes in their DNA. They were simply conquered by people from outside at one time in their history and ended up speaking their languages, without absorbing their cutures in any way we can see today.

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The EU is about unifying the European civilization, not unifying the European civilization and its neighbors. To the south, we have the Arabic civilization and no countries from that area will be admitted,
Actually, both linguistically and largely genetically the Maltese are Arabs. I think the important point is that historically and culturally they are more European than Arab.

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to the south east we have the Turkic civilization that spreads from Turkey to the Uighur region in China and no countries from that area should be admitted either. We have nothing in common, either ethnically, culturally, historically, or linguistically, nothing at all.
What's ethnicity got to do with it? Why should it matter about their ethnicity? Why should people have to be 'white' to be admitted? Anyway, not only are the Maltese not Europeans ethnically, the Turks (although not the other Turkic-speaking peoples) are ethnically Europeans. DNA evidence actually proves that they are very closely related to the Greeks and other Balkan peoples. There is also a strong historical connection between the Turks and the people of the Balkans - they ruled the Balkans for hundreds of years.

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The EU won't work if we admit a country that clearly does not belong to the European civilization, that would only jeopardize everything we've built and bring chaos.
And the theory that admitting countries from neighboring civilizations would create "bridges" and prevent a clash of civilizations is simply ridiculous. We would get the clash *inside* the EU, no good can come out of that, it would destroy the Union.

And let's be honest here, Turkey is only interested in the economic side of the EU and could care less of the political implications. Do the Turkish people really want to take part in the European parliament? No. Do they share our values about human rights and equality? Certainly not. A simple trade agreement between the EU and Turkey is enough, but the integration of Turkey as a member state is out of the question.
Unfortunately, that's true. It would be lovely if everyone could get along, but we have enough difficulty with nationalism in Europe when we all have so many common values. Trying to bring in people who don't really share our values wouldn't work. It's a conclusion I've drawn reluctantly, because it seems so exclusionary to keep Turkey out.

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As for Moldova, Ukraine and even Belarus, well, obviously they *are* European countries and have the right to apply, but they need to be patient. First because their economies are a mess and they need to reform, second because the fact that they are members of the CIS makes things difficult. Being of member of the CIS means that Russia still has a lot to say about what those countries do, Russia has military forces stationed in all of them, a large part of Russia's navy is stationed in Ukraine for example, Ukraine will have to work this issue with Russia because Russia won't let its navy be under EU's jurisdiction, not to mention that Russia is getting a lot of resources from Ukraine at a very low cost, that would change with an EU membership.
Yes, but if the Ukrainians want to be free of Russia, we should help them (sorry, any Russians reading!). Russia has no right to exploit Ukraine as it is still doing. Russia's lease on its naval base in Sevastopol will expire in 2017 and it's going to build a new base on Russian territory.

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I agree that Moldova with only 4 million people is not too much of a burden for an EU with then 500 million people, but all the difficulties with Russia about Ukraine joining the EU also apply to Moldova even if for Russia it's more a principle than a real threat to its security.
Russia deliberately sabotaged Moldova by sponsoring the breakaway 'Republic of Transdniestria'. The area east of the Dniester River had been transferred from Ukraine to Moldova by Stalin in exchange for taking away Moldova's sea access. Russia placed forces in Transdniestria supposedly as peacekeepers, but actually to threaten Moldova. Transdniestria shouldn't be in Moldova, but Russia shouldn't be in Transdniestria.

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Moldova really missed its chance 10 years ago right after the collapse of the USSR, at the time it could have merged with Romania and now it would be joining the EU in 3 years. It's a missed opportunity for them.
In 1992, the Moldovans thought that Romania was in a worse state than they were, then the trouble with Russia over Transdniestria made Romania very reluctant to get involved with them. Romania has rather cut off Moldova, regarding it as trouble. In 1996, as part of their original failed attempt to get into Nato, Romania signed away any claims to the parts of both Romania and Moldova that Stalin had given to Ukraine. It was a real betrayal of Moldova.

Last edited by simon; 07-06-2004 at 16:11. Reason: more information about the Russian navy
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Old 29-06-2004, 07:31   #20
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long article i saw in bbc news about turkey ... will paste bits i found interesting as the whole article is quite long.

Turkey's unrequited EU love

Two years ago, Turkey won the Eurovision song contest with a tale of unrequited love.
In many ways, it echoed the country's own unsuccessful bid to woo the European Union since 1963, when it signed an association agreement that promised eventual membership of the bloc.

Things began moving in 1999 when Turkey was officially recognised as an EU candidate, and especially after the election of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in 2002, which quickened political reforms to an unprecedented pace.

Earlier this month, Turkish state television began broadcasting in Kurdish, the language of a sizeable minority in this country of 67 million.

On the same day, the government released four Kurdish activists, including human rights award winner Leyla Zana, who had spent 10 years in jail after trials deemed unfair by the EU.

Over the past 18 months, the government has passed nine reform packages, including a ban on the death penalty, a zero-tolerance policy towards torture in prisons, and curtailing the interference of the military in politics, education and culture.

"I am impressed - because starting with the constitution, they've changed a lot of laws," says Murat Celikan, a human rights activist who writes a regular column in the daily Radikal.

"To give one example, two years ago, a radio was banned for one year for airing a song in Kurdish and in Armenian. Now the state television has Kurdish programmes - so that's a great change."

The EU has also welcomed the reforms, but it wants them implemented across this vast country by local police, judges and bureaucrats. So far, implementation is uneven, especially in the provinces and the Kurdish areas in the south-east.


...


The prospect of EU membership, coupled with IMF-inspired reforms, have also brought greater stability to the crisis-prone Turkish economy.


...

For Guenter Verheugen, the European enlargement commissioner, Turkey's strategic position straddling Europe and the greater Middle East is an asset rather than a drawback.

At a recent conference in Brussels, he warned that the EU would make a tragic mistake if it stopped or reversed the process of democratisation in Turkey by denying it eventual membership.

...

In October, Mr Verheugen will issue a progress report on Turkey which will form the basis for the decision of EU leaders.

While the report is widely expected to be positive, public opinion in France, Germany, Austria and elsewhere is becoming increasingly reluctant to accept a further enlargement of the EU, especially to include a large Muslim nation like Turkey.

Since the Netherlands will be holding the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of the year, I asked Ben Bot, the Dutch foreign minister (and a former Dutch ambassador to Turkey) how worried he is about the lack of public support among Western voters?

"Perhaps there has been a lack of proper communication and now there is, I think, an unjustified fear of Islam, which is perhaps understandable in the context of terrorism and so on, but which is not justified - because I think that the situation in Turkey is completely different.

"They also forget that Turkey has been a member of Nato, of the Council of Europe, that it has helped the West during all these years, also during the Cold War, has been a staunch ally.

"And so, it's in itself astonishing that people all of a sudden are against Turkish participation, whereas we think that Turkey would be a very valuable member of the EU. It will take a long time, that I agree, it will certainly take many, many years of negotiations before they fully comply with all the criteria."

Indeed, in 10 years or so from now, the EU will be a very different union, and Turkey will be a very different country.

But come December, EU politicians face one of the toughest decisions they have ever had to take.

If they say no to Turkey, they risk alienating a key ally in the Muslim world. But if they say yes, they may upset many voters at home who are already unhappy about where the EU is going.


full article : -- > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3847373.stm
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