Tag Archives: EU

Sweden Backs Turkey For European Union

There is an ongoing dispute as to whether Turkey is an Asian or a European nation, but the Swedish government made clear it wants Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt said “Sweden fully supports Turkey’s bid to join the European Union… Turkey belongs to Europe.” However, he urged that Turkey could assist its own desire to join the EU by working to resolve problems on the divided island of Cyprus. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into a Muslim and a Christian nation. Most nations recognize the Greek Cypriot state but few recognize the Turkish Cypriot state. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan warned hard line Turk Cypriots not to create problems that would impair his nation’s ability to enter the EU.

Turkey faces many issues in obtaining membership in the EU. There is fear of allowing a predominant Muslim nation into the group so it is important for Erdogan to find a way to resolve the Cypriot division in such a manner that respects the rights of both groups. Unless he does something, it seriously damages the ability of Turkey to be treated as a European nation.

Is Big Brother Watching Over Your Shoulder?

The European Commission will undertake an investigation into failure on the part of the United Kingdom to protect its citizens from secret surveillance. The actual legal action leading to this study is the use of controversial behavioral advertising services which are being tested on BT’s internet customers without their consent. The EU says internet users must provide “clear consent” before a commercial organization uses data related to their shopping habits. Phorm has developed technology that allows internet service providers to track what their users are doing online. That information can then be sold to media companies and advertisers. EU telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding said: “I call on the UK authorities to change their national laws and ensure that national authorities are duly empowered and have proper sanctions at their disposal to enforce EU legislation.”

The world has yet to fully grasp changes in technology that allow government and private bodies to gain control of private data and engage in activities that intrude on the private lives of people. There is no question advertisers are trying to develop programs which provide them data concerning not merely the purchasing activities of individuals, but also about their everyday activities.

Is Obama Good For Turkey?

President Obama’s strong statement in support of Turkey’s application for entrance into the European Union caused some negative reaction among European leaders such as President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who thought the American was attempting to get involved in the internal affairs of Europe. Some Turks wonder if the Obama endorsement will damage their application, but most analysts believe it can only be a positive factor. Grenville Bysford, a long time researcher on Turkey noted in reference to any damage that might result from the Obama support: “It would be if Bush had said them, but Barack can get away with things Bush could only dream about.” There is still a tremendous resentment of Bush within the European Union and thus its leaders are willing to bend over backward to support the new American president.

Most Turkish leaders believe the Obama comment can only stand to give greater credence to their application for entry into the European Union. Obama has come across as a Western leader who is gaining support within the Muslim world for his positive comments about Muslims and his desire to heal old wounds.

Turkey’s Troubled Path To The European Union

President Barack Obama on his visit to Turkey came out strongly in support of that nation’s entrance into the European Union, but his views were not necessarily those of Europeans. The Council of Europe on Tuesday urged more constitutional reform in Turkey that would meet the concerns of secularists. The ongoing crisis between secularists who fear the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Erdogan seeks to undermine Constitutional guarantees that Turkey is a secularist state. The Council of Europe took note that “many reforms announced by the government are perceived from the outset as attempts to erode the founding principles of the Turkish Republic.”

The Council of Europe is still not pleased at failure on the part of Turkey to ensure torture is not used in prisons as well as greater evidence the rights of minorities is protected. If Turkey is able to address these issues the question of entrance to the EU might well be resolved.

Obama Urged To Shut Up By Europe!

During his recent visit to Turkey, President Obama spoke of his strong support of the Turkish bid to enter the European Union and expressed the hope it would soon be a reality. However, his words aroused a storm of protest from German and French politicians who believe the president is interfering in the internal affairs of the European Union. While Obama could say, “Turkey is bound to Europe by more than the bridges over the Bosporus,” many German leaders do not share that same vision. Bernd Posselt, a member of the European Parliament, responded with, “it is a meddling in the internal affairs of Europe” and suggested, “he should accept Turkey as America’s 51st state instead.” Most European leaders accept the US has a voice in NATO issues, but who enters or does not enter the EU is their business.

President Sarkozy made clear that while “I have been working hand-in-hand with President Obama, but when it comes to the European Union, it is up to the member states.. to decide.” Barack, this is not Chicago.

Tony Blair – New EU President?

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is working hard to secure the position of the first permanent president of the European Union. The current British prime minister Gordon Brown is not the most vocal supporter of his former boss, but he is ready to see the appointment of Blair because he believes it would be in his nation’s interests to have someone from England in such an important role. He has put past antagonism away and is urging other European leaders to back Blair. French President Sarkozy who many thought would make a run for the position has come out in support of Blair.

The concept of a permanent president of the European Union is felt to be an important step in creating a more continental government. Everything now depends on the vote of Ireland in favor of the Lisbon Treaty.

Obama Backs Turkey Entry To EU

The admittance of Turkey into the European Union has created a controversy between Muslims and Christian Europe as to whether the presence of non-Christians within Europe requires accepting reality for the need of a Muslim nation in the group. President Obama on his European trip, urged the European Union to admit Turkey. “The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbors and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and Violence.” However, his request encountered strong opposition from President Sarkozy of France who stated bluntly: “I have always been opposed to this entry, and I remain opposed.”

The issue is whether continued Muslim immigration will eventually alter the demographics of the continent and reduce its current Christian majority. However, the fact there are most Muslim does not translate into a Muslim majority. Europe is many, many years from such an eventuality. Perhaps, the real issue is developing economic and educational programs that lead to integration of Muslim within Europe and the eventual creation of a new mixture as to what constitutes being a European.

Hamas Reaches Out To Europe While Israel Burns Itself

A new government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as the Israel people turned to right wing demagogues even as Hamas is reaching out to Europeans and putting on the face of compromise. Ahmed Yussef, a political advisor to the Hamas Foreign Ministry, revealed his group has been in contact with Norway and other European nations who are urging his organization to renounce violence and work for peace with Israel. A French official has been working with Hamas leaders in Gaza in an effort to secure the release of Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Hamas is finally realizing with Israel digging deep into its bunker, Europeans will welcome any group that comes across as desiring peace in the Middle East.

The key issue for Hamas is whether it will accept the concept of recognizing Israel as a legitimate state. If they are willing to make that commitment, it would not be difficult to become accepted by European nations as a legitimate force. Meanwhile, Israel has decided to go with right wing haters like Avigdor Lieberman who does not wish to recognize the right of a Palestinian state. It is not beyond the stretch of imagination for Europe to be on the side of Palestine and Hamas while Israel remains buried in its bunker mentality of denial.

Barack Obama wants peace in the Middle East. Hopefully, Israelis will finally grasp that Obama is not George Bush.

Kurdish Nationalism Rises In Turkey

Local elections in Turkey the past weekend revealed that Kurdish nationalism is alive and growing even stronger. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) encountered strong evidence that Kurds did not trust the stance of current Prime Minister Erdogan who they believe lied to them about his commitment to work through peaceful means in dealing with issues related to Kurds. The opposition Democratic Society Party (DTP) which has been championing Kurdish rights strongly increased their lead in Kurdish areas of the nation. In 2007, the AKP had a higher percent of the vote because Kurds accepted his pledge to work peacefully in dealing with their rights. However, he switched and backed military plans for attacking Kurdish rebels in northwestern Iraq.

The issue of Kurdish rights hangs like an albatross around the neck of Turks who seek entry into the European Union. The EU will insist on local rights for Kurds and if that is not forthcoming, they will reject Turkey’s application for membership.

European Union Leader Blasts Obama Economics

The European Union has not been overly enthusiastic about economic plans advocated by President Obama to deal with the economic crisis. A top political leader, Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose nation holds the presidency of the EU slammed the Obama stimulus package as a “way to hell” and warned that it would undermine the stability of the world economic structure. Most European leaders favor tighter financial regulation and do not support huge stimulus packages to jump start economies. The upcoming meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 might well be rather hectic.

It is doubtful if the Czech leader is among the world’s leading authorities on how to deal with economic issues. But, there apparently is a rather stark difference between the European emphasis on regulation versus the Obama drive to have a stimulus package that will send American debt to a new high. In a sense, both views will eventually be proven correct or not. Hopefully, the rest of us can survive if either one is wrong.