Blog: Dave LeggettTurkey, EU and human rights

Dave Leggett | 1 May 2003

If you read yesterday's 'Editor's Weekly Highlights' e-mail, you may have noticed that the opening editorial section strayed into what can be controversial territory. Turkey's economy is becoming increasingly tied to the EU's - the auto industry is a good example - and there's the sensitive question of Turkey's formal political relationship to the EU to consider. Under an agreement struck last year, Turkey needs to improve on human rights if it wants to start talks on joining the EU, but if it meets certain criteria, then EU accession talks can begin in December 2004.

Seems fair enough to me, given that countries like Romania and Bulgaria are being allowed to join. Or is it an exclusive club? Deepening versus widening? That old question still divides, but as the next wave of joiners from Central and Eastern Europe joins, why shouldn't Turkey be allowed to go through the same accession process that these countries were subject to? As more countries join, it has become too late for 'deepening' now I think and most people don't seem to want that anyway - Brussels is already a remote place for many. Maybe some people with a vested interest in a smaller, more exclusive EU club are frustrated with the way the EU is headed (lowest common denominator decision-making with more numbers makes deepening integration more difficult and shifts the balance of power also).

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