Difficult days are coming for the European Union. This is true from the perspective of Brussels, of European institutions and of Europeans. On the issues of Europe and the union of Europe, closer scrutiny will fall on the Union this year. An significant majority of EU members see Turkey as inadequate for membership. According to their assessments, the Turkish economy is not ready for full EU membership and it never will be. A part of the EU thinks that Turkey will be a burden on the EU.
Those who think that Turkey will be a burden on the EU claim that Turkey will consume EU funds, will exploit its resources and run its funds to zero. In truth such concerns are unfounded. They are meaningless. For Greece has already consumed and ran aground everything. However, there must be something left. For Athens was stopped before it could gather the crumbs left on the plate with its fingers. In the end, economies of 12 EU member states are in worse shape than Turkey’s.
In other words, the EU has 12 members to nurse before Turkey even enters the EU. This long list of patients contains Greece, Spain, Poland, Belgium and Baltic countries. From this point of view, it is certain that Turkey’s membership will improve the outlook, condition and statistics of the EU. Should the EU have made Turkey a full member by now, it may have been less affected by the crisis. Indeed it could have secured employment growth and real sector development through projects launched over Turkey.
Despite its most recent reforms, the EU is yet to overcome its cumbersome structure. Brussels and EU institutions are not adequately prepared for change, transformation and development. Of course, this unpreparedness may be a conscious choice. The system, which has to run while supporting the balances between all member states is clearly in difficulty. The EU has only just overcome the constitution crisis. Before the constitution crisis it was rocked by the Iraq crisis. The EU was experiencing a crisis within a crisis during the enlargement process. The financial crisis was an addition to the long list of crises on the EU agenda.
It was only to be followed by the crises of the real sector and employment. To this list may soon be added a potential political crisis to emerge from the economic crisis with Greece. Greenland’s secession from the EU in 1985 may be taken as the basis for a Greece move to be taken as an emergency measure to save the Union. Yet, there may be even more to come. With the toughening of the crisis, reaction and anger on the streets and squares in some EU countries has been rising. The negative atmosphere which has arisen may attach to problems of the day certain historical problems.
The view of the EU, and how it will react in case countries like Spain and Belgium should split, is far from clear. The EU could develop a direct or indirect cooperation mechanism against the possibility of social explosions in member countries and the toppling of administrations through street protests. For the EU, the year 2011 will be problematic. The EU will probably undergo a year of criticism and scrutiny such as it never has before. In the dying days of 2011, we may witness that the EU has grown further apart from being a centre of attraction.
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