Tag Archives: EU

European Union Grapples With Congo Issue

About seventy years ago, Great Britain stood alone as the only nation still fighting the horror of a Nazi German triumph. There were voices in America which said assisting England would be foolish and only lead to terrible problems for America including the possibility its own citizens would wind up dead. In 2008, the British government is taking the lead to halt any intervention on the part of the European Union to provide assistance to the people of the Congo who face an enemy as blood thirsty and cruel as Nazi Germany. Britain is refusing to take part in any armed intervention to save thousands of people who face death while females fear rape. Several nations and human rights groups are urging dispatch of troops to protect innocent civilians, but the UK and Germany stand opposed.

The UN has a force of 17,000 which supposedly can do something in a country equal in size to Texas. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says thousands will die unless more troops are on the scene, but England will not act. Of course, Tony Blair was willing to send thousands of troops on a mission over nothing, but today, when real problems exist, there are few voices in the British government urging providing help.

Is Turkish AKP Losing Political Support?

The Justice and Development Party(AKP) swept into power on a platform that a centrist moderate religious centered political organization could govern Turkey in a manner that made the economy boom while protecting individual rights. There is great concern in Turkey among business and liberal leaders that the AKP is no longer representing its views. There is growing fear corruption is spreading within AKP ranks and Prime Minister Erdogan is not as popular because he has not moved quickly enough to make individual right reform become a high priority. The entire basis for being able to enter the European Union rests on instituting political reforms that foster democracy and individual rights.

The AKP moved too quickly on the headscarf issue for women in universities and would have been wiser to wait until entry into the EU. Erodgan has not reassured the Kurdish minority that its rights will be respected and he has lost considerable support among the Alevis who want true religious freedom.

Go West Young Chinese!

Over 100,000 Chinese migrated to the European Union last year becoming the second largest group of foreigners entering Rumania, and the third for Britain, France and Hungary. The largest group of migrants came from the 140,000 Moroccans who entered the European Union in search of jobs. The largest supplier of migrants within the EU came from Poland where 290,000 of its citizens headed west to other nations in search of work and prosperity. Spain now ranks as the source of the largest number of immigrants entering an EU nation since 803,000 entered its borders.

Immigration into the European Union fills a major problem that is caused by low birth rates in the European Union compelling immigrants to enter their nations and do work that its citizens refuse to accept. The low birth rate eventually will witness the population decline of most EU nations resulting in an ever increasing percent of the population consisting of people from other parts of the world. The EU is becoming the United States of Europe.

Turkish Free Speech Issue Blocks EU Entry

Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code makes it a crime to insult the Turkish nation, and naturally the government decides what constitutes an “insult.” Under pressure of the European Union, the Turkish government last May supposedly modified the article to permit some form of protest against the government, but Justice Minister Ali Sahin has his own ideas as to what is permitted in his nation. He defends the prosecution of writer Temei Demirer because of his statement that Turkey carried out a genocide against Armenians a hundred years ago. According to the Justice Minister, “this man is saying Turkey is murderer state. I am not going to allow anyone call my state a murderer. These(expressions of Demirer)expressions are not exercising freedom of speech: these are humiliating the state, which is exactly what 301 criminalizes.”

Of course, if the Sahin philosophy was law in America, there would be need to build thousands of jails to handle the number of people who believe George Bush is a murderer and hate torturing prisoners. Sahin argues not all cases have gone to court that originally were filed. He misses the point, not a single case should go to court if there is freedom of speech in Turkey. The European Union will not be satisfied by lame excuses as those stated by the Minister of Justice.

Turkey And EU Clash Over Kurd Rights

The inability of Turkish governments to resolve differences with its Kurdish minority have caused the European Union to cite this issue as a stumbling block to entry into the EU. The constant attacks on Kurdish opposition officials and other voices of opposition has raised concerns among European leaders. A Western diplomat noted: “this year, the EU has used more specific language with freedom of expression over the Kurdish issue, as we have witnessed permanent harassment of Kurdish mayors in the southeastern region, despite the fact that they have been expressing non-violent opinions.” Instead of working with Kurdish leaders who support non-violent changes, the Turkish government all too frequently has relied on force and oppression against opponents.

Turkish laws make illegal allow prosecution of Kurds who express public opinions that criticize Turkish government views on the Kurdish question. Turkey has to learn the value of the free market place of ideas.

US Furious At Russian Missiles But Calm About Ours

Five years ago, President Bush informed the United States and the world that Saddam Hussein had WMD which would be fired at the West. He used the argument America must shoot first to protect itself against an alleged attack. Today, George Bush insists Iran has missiles that it wants to fire at Europe which necessitates placing missile bases on the border of Russia to protect Europe against an attack that is not planned and never will occur. Russia, in retaliation, has deployed its missiles near Kaliningrad which has upset Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He termed the action “provocative” and insisted the only threat facing Europe was from missiles originating in Iran. Gates and Bush and the entire Republican crowd believe there is a threat from “rogue states” like Iran which may one day obtain nuclear weapons and fire them at Europe.

The entire basis of US bases in Poland originates from the theory Iran either has or will get nuclear weapons and, then, for some strange reason, fire them at Western Europe. A simple question to which Bush has no answer is–why would Iran fire missiles at Europe? What exactly would be their goal? Iranian leaders are not stupid. They understand sending missiles into Europe would result in nuclear weapons being fired by Great Britain and France which possess those weapons. But, the essential question remains, what would ever lead Iran to initiate a war against the European Union?

European Commission Insists Turkey Reform

The European Commission praised Turkey’s efforts to work for peace in the Caucasus and its attempt to mediate the Israel-Syrian dispute, but it also raised questions about lack of progress in dealing with issues such as gender equality, enforcing civilian control over the military and ending corruption. Oli Rehn of the EU Enlargement Commission, made clear, “I expect Turkey to re-energize its reform efforts.” He also made clear the EU wants Turkey to work to end the current division of Cyprus and to carry out a program of political reform. The Commission acknowledged the current slow down stemmed from a decision by Turkey’s Constitutional Court to ban women wearing the headscarf in universities and threats to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party because of its deep religious roots.

A concern of the EU is the role played by Turkey’s army which regards itself as the defender of secularism and the role of the judiciary which also assumes a role of protecting secular rights. On one hand, Turkish secular supporters want to enter the EU, but on the other hand, institutions which defend secular rights in Turkey go against EU equal rights. EU leaders worry about the polarization within Turkey because of inability to resolve secular and religious goals.

Germans And Europeans Hail Obama Victory

Angela Merkel of Germany hailed the victory of Barack Obama and invited the new American leader to visit Germany and discuss with European leaders how to move forward. Der Spiegel reported receiving hundreds of e-mail exchanges from people all over Europe who expect newly elected president Barack Obama to have America join the Kyoto pact, to close down the shame of Guantanamo prison and to work closely with other nations of the world. Margot Wallstrom, vice president of the European Commission, noted, “I believe we are entering into a new era of trans-Atlantic relations.” She expressed hope Obama will work with world leaders to finally confront issues of global warming, the financial crisis, and world hunger and disease. ‘I believe the era of US unilateralism is over, and that partnership with Europe has become a central plank of US foreign policy.”

Obama will find a welcome reception in Europe which is anxious to end the Bush era of madness and war. European leaders seek peace and serious American commitment to deal with global issues in a cooperative manner.

Mediterranean Union Still Alive

President Sarkozy of France initiated the idea of a Mediterranean Union which would link nations bordering that body of water, but the European Union has decided to rename the project, the Barcelona Process Union(UfM). The original idea was a Sarkozy end run to hold off Turkey’s entrance into the European Union which caused many nations in the region to give lukewarm support for such an effort. The UfM attempts to develop bonds of economic, political, and social relations among the various nations which border on the Mediterranean. It was hoped such cooperation could spark an economic resurgence in the region and through that means establish the basis for peace.

A major issue is the continuing conflict between Israel and other Arab nations in the region. If the UfM had a rotating president it might lead to a situation in which an Israeli was president of the group. Until that issue is resolved, it is difficult to imagine genuine cooperation among participants.

Should Russia Be In European Union?

Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised the question as to whether it was necessary for the European Union to accept Russia into its ranks. “I consider Russia to be a Western country and my plan is for the Russian Federation to be able to become a member of the European Union in the coming years,” proclaimed the controversial Italian leader. Vladmir Chizhov, Russia’s Ambassador to the European Union responded by insisting his nation had no such desire since it was a politcally and economically independent nation. Berlusconi has always been close to Prime Minister Putin and even had him spend time at his villa during the Russian leader’s visit to Italy.

Berlusconi is raising an important issue which eventually will be resolved with Russia entering the European Union as it should enter NATO. Russia has a declining population and is in need of immigrants from other nations in order to deal with important demographic statistics. Accepting Russia would make the European Union the most important economy in the world and would eventually surpass that of the United States. It is common sense for Russia and the EU to unite both politically and economically in order to foster peace and prosperity in the world.