Tag Archives: European Union

Turkey Deserves EU Membership

Five years have gone by while Turkey awaits a decision from the European Union as to whether its request to enter will be granted. NATO General Secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urged the EU to cease treating Turkey as a second class member of NATO and accord it the same rights as others in being involved in military research and decision making. He denounced the “unfair treatment” of Turkey. His comments make sense, but do not touch on key issues as to why the Turkish application is delayed. The bottom line is clear, many European Union members do not wish a nation which is predominantly Muslim to enter because they fear hordes of Muslims will come streaming into their countries. Relax, fellows, Turkey has a vibrant economy which functions at a higher rate than most European nations and its employment rate is sufficient to keep most folk at home. The European Union needs Turkey inside the tent, not standing outside in anger and frustration.

We argue keeping Turkey out damages chances for peace in the world. Turkey could be a lead nation in working with Muslim countries like Iran or groups like Hamas. A Turkey outside the EU is a nation that eventually will assume leadership of discontented Muslim societies. d

Turkey In European Union?

Turkey has been engaged for several years in the quest to enter the European Union as an equal partner with the current members. Over the past few years there has been a continuing decline in the percent of Turkish people who support this goal. The latest figure indicates that only 45% now are in favor of entering the European Union, which represents a drop of about 7% from last year. There are several issues to consider about Turkish membership in the EU. From a European perspective, accepting Turkey as a member means there will be an increase in the number of Muslims within the EU. From a Turkish perspective, it means the European Parliament which has recently obtained greater powers will be able to dictate to Turkey about issues such as equal rights for Kurds and Armenians.

It is still unclear whether Turkey really wants to be a member of a national organization which might require certain adjustments in law that go against Turkish culture or the Muslim faith. Reality is that Turkey will have to make societal adjustments that impinge on their ideas regarding religion and issues such as women’s rights. Is the price too high?

Christian Iraqis Welcomed In Europe

Among the disasters of the Bush invasion of Iraq was the resulting prejudice against Christians in that nation which has resulted in the flight of over two-thirds of the prewar population. Ironically, under the Saddam Hussein regime, Christians enjoyed freedom of religion and protection against persecution. Saddam disliked and feared fundamentalist Muslim leaders so he allowed Christians to live in peace. The American invasion resulted in a rise to power of Muslim fundamentalist and an unleashing of violence against Christians. Most have fled although few have ben welcomed in the United States. The European Union is granting refuge to over 10,000 Iraqi Christians and at least one fourth will be granted asylum in Germany.

Most of the historic Chaldean Christians trace there ancestry back over a thousand years and predate the arrival of the Muslim religion. The blundering Bush invasion which did not even recognize the precarious position of Iraq Christians has resulted in their need to flee from their homes and seek safety elsewhere. Does President Bush ever regret what he did to the Christians of Iraq?

All Quiet On Eastern European Union Front-Momentarily

Two people have died and thousands of trucks are stuck at the border between Poland and the Ukraine this week after custom officials went on a wildcat strike. They are complaining about bad pay, overwork, and lack of preparation for dealing with the new Schengen zone borders. The Schengen zone or passport-free travel was expanded to include ten more nations. As part of participating in the Schengen zone, these countries had to tighten border security. There are now an estimated 3,000 Polish trucks stuck at the Ukraine-Polaish border and another thousand are on their way.

The European Union is experiencing growing pains as it expands the scope and breadth of its free zone area. Polish custom officials believe they were not provided sufficient training nor did anyone anticipate the additional work entailed in moving from checking all passports to having in place an effective security system.

There is a new world goliath being created as the European Union continues its eastward expansion. One can only wonder if the coming years will witness a southeast movement towards Turkey and other nations of the Middle East.

Common Health Market Created In European Union

The European Union will begin the process within a year of offering its citizens the right to secure health treatment in any member nation of the EU. The United Kingdom announced that a UK citizen will be able to secure medical treatment by providers in all of the European Union member states. The offer is based on the concept that if there is undue delay in obtaining medical treatment for a particular issue, the UK citizen could obtain that treatment in any of the EU nations with the British National Health Service picking up the bill. In turn, any citizen from a European Union nation could obtain similar care in the UK provided they had a referral from a doctor. During the past five years, the Blair government has poured about $90 billion into the NHS to raise its standard of care.

This is a fabulous concept which will broaden the scope of medical care in Europe. It might also lead to certain nations specializing in care for particular diseases. The American tragedy is even within our own country there is no such flexibility in helping people to go anywhere within our national boundaries to obtain needed medical help. Perhaps, the United States might consider joining the European Union if that is the only way to ensure open medical care for Americans.

Gordon Brown And Sarkozy Clash Over Europe’s Future

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England clashed with French President Sarkozy over future directions of Europe. Brown was able to persuade European Union leaders to agree there would not be any changes in direction or structure “for the forseeable future.” Sarkozy wants to create a group of “wise men” who would examine the European Union in order to develop new strategies which would compel its members to more closely integrate their economies and political structures within the framework of a redeveloped European Union. He believes the time has been reached in the history of European development for a “new European dream” which entails integrated armed forces, integrated foreign policy, and more completely integrated political systems. The French president also differs with Brown over the issue of allowing Turkey to become a member of the EU, an action he opposes while Brown is more willing to consider the possibility.

As the European Union matures, it becomes more cognizant of how further economic, political, and military integration can enhance its power and prestige in the world. Sarkozoy is leaning in that direction while Brown, like many other European leaders, is not yet prepared to consider such changes. Perhaps, in the short term, Brown’s view will be accepted, but in the long term there is a strong likelihood the Sarkozy “European dream” might eventually become a reality.

Free Travel–From The Baltic To The Atlantic!

For the first time in history, it will now be possible to travel from Estonia to Portugal without worrying about border checks. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Malta have now joined the border control-free group known as the Schengan Agreement. A traveler can leave Estonia and go all the way to Portugal without encountering a single border official. When the original Schengan program began in the 19080 between Germany, France, and the Benelux nations, there was widespread fear it would result in an increase in crime. No such occurrence ever happened. The greatest immediate concern is revolves around illegal immigrants from eastern Europe who are expected to head for wealthier areas of the European Union in the west.

The European Union continually moves in the direction of creating a vast free trade and travel area in which people and goods can move without being hampered by borders or restrictions. In a sense, Europe is becoming more like the United States which has a three thousand mile free trade and travel area. Crime in America has no connection with the concept of free travel. Most probably in the coming years the presence of this free trade area will encourage greater cooperation among nations which in the long run makes crime more difficult.

German Chancellor Blasts French Mediterranean Ideas

German Chancellor Angela Merket came out strongly against the vision of French President Nicolas Sarkozy for creation of a Mediterranean Union. She considered his idea “very dangerous” to the future of the European Union since it would create another union, only this time it would be led by France, not Europe. In a sarcastic aside, she wondered if Germany should establish an Eastern European Union with nations like the Ukraine. Merkel was concerned that creating separate blocs split the essential core concept of a European Union in which all members shared equally in expanding the boundaries of concern for other nations. “One thing has to be clear,” she said, “Northern Europeans also share responsibility for the Mediterranean, just as the future of the borders with Russia and the Ukraine is an issue that concerns those living on the Mediterranean.”

On Wednesday, Sarkozy speaking in Algeria said he wanted France and Algeria to form the axis of a future Mediterranean Union that would stretch from Morocco to Turkey and include at least seven EU nations. One can only wonder if Sarkozy is proposing an end run around the application of Turkey for membership in the European Union, something that concerns many of its members because it would dramatically increase the number of Muslims in the Union. The Sarkozy gambit may simply be another manifestation of his desire for the limelight and going it alone in order to create controversy.