European Union Expansion

One of my colleagues who has aspirations of becoming a real estate tycoon, recently purchased property in Bulgaria. Her thinking was that once Bulgaria joins the European Union next January, property values will most likely skyrocket.
However, she is not too happy that the European Union is expanding as she is afraid that there will be a massive influx of immigrants who will take away jobs from the local population. I found her whole argument ironic as she is from France and only able to work in the UK freely because of the fact that both countries are in the EU and unlike other countries, the UK has been quite open to allowing citizens from other member states to work here freely.
That said, it appears that much of the citizens in the original EU nations feel the same way. Personally, I think EU expansion is a good thing. It joins together European countries that are in close proximity helping to spread stability and prosperity. Plus by joining forces to become a more dominant single market, it has allowed European countries and companies to be more competitive on the world stage. Finally, if people are working towards similar life goals, they are less likely to go to war against one another. Surely that can’t be a bad thing.

News Analysis: Turkey debate key to EU world role
By Katrin Bennhold International Herald Tribune, Published: September 14, 2006

PARIS Over the past week, the two most prominent contenders for the French presidency went to Brussels and asked the same question: Who is European and who is not?

One of them, Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative frontrunner in next spring’s election, said last Friday that the European Union was not only an idea but also a geographical entity and ruled out Turkish membership. The other, Ségolène Royal, his most popular Socialist rival, sought on Wednesday to finesse her position, suggesting at a private lunch that Turkey may be no more qualified to join the EU than North African countries, an aide said.

Both are courting a French electorate that expressed its unease about the bloc’s expansion by rejecting the European constitution in a referendum last year.

But beyond French politics, the question of Europe’s borders is emerging as a central issue in a quest for a collective identity that can overcome the rift between European citizens and their leaders. Deceptively simple and yet fraught with controversy over how to translate an elusive cocktail of geography, history and common values into frontiers, the debate goes to the heart of the EU’s bid to secure its place in the 21st century.

“If we want Europe to count in the world, we need to address the question of Europe’s geographical and political identity,” said Michel Barnier, a former French foreign minister and former EU commissioner. “That’s one lesson of the referendum.”

Expansion has been the EU’s most powerful foreign policy tool as it spread the bloc’s values over its 50-year history.

Advocates say its future influence rests squarely with its ability to grow further. Expansion, the argument goes, can help bolster the EU’s shrinking and aging population and inject economic dynamism. It can also help spur change and stability in strategic neighboring regions – in the case of Turkey, the Middle East and the Caucasus.

According to Onur Oymen, deputy leader of Turkey’s main opposition CHP party and a former ambassador to NATO, a Turkey firmly anchored in the EU could serve as a bridge between the West and the Muslim world.

Throughout the week, Turkish legislators have lobbied their European counterparts to stay committed to Turkey’s membership talks. And on Thursday, Ukraine’s new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, went to Brussels to express his desire for Ukraine to be moored to Europe through EU membership.

But following the last wave of enlargement in May 2004, when the EU expanded from 15 to 25 members, voters in many countries grew wary of diluting both the Union’s institutional effectiveness and its identity.

The issue of Europe’s borders has come to the fore in France’s election campaign. Sarkozy said last week that Europe should suspend accession talks with Turkey and instead work towards a “privileged partnership.” Royal, whose party split over its position on the EU constitution, was more circumspect, saying that the EU should not “slam the door” on Turkey.
But she, too, appeared to prefer a strategic partnership over full membership. “We have to see the reality of concerns that Europe must have stable borders while making partnerships,” she said.
During a lunch with the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Royal went further, according to Gilles Savary, one of her senior aides. Royal, born in Senegal where her father was an officer in the French Army before independence, told Barroso that Turkey was more different from France than some North African countries.
“Her point is that the question of Turkey’s entry legitimizes the claims of say, Morocco or Tunisia – which she does not consider European,” Savary said. He said Royal urged Barroso to organize an EU-wide opinion poll, asking citizens, among other things, where they see Europe’s borders.
EU officials said that Turkey faced an uphill battle in its accession process because of scheduled elections in France and Austria, where public opinion remains deeply skeptical.
But they added that Turkey’s negotiations were expected to last up to 15 years and that elections would come and go in the meantime.
Politicians in several countries have brought their stance on Turkey’s ascension closer to public opinion.
Resistance has been particularly pronounced in France and Austria, for instance, where several politicians have argued that Turkey’s cultural and geographic background make it incompatible with Europe.
And Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has started to voice her doubts.
Dan Bilefsky contributed reporting for this article from Brussels.
PARIS Over the past week, the two most prominent contenders for the French presidency went to Brussels and asked the same question: Who is European and who is not?
One of them, Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative frontrunner in next spring’s election, said last Friday that the European Union was not only an idea but also a geographical entity and ruled out Turkish membership. The other, Ségolène Royal, his most popular Socialist rival, sought on Wednesday to finesse her position, suggesting at a private lunch that Turkey may be no more qualified to join the EU than North African countries, an aide said.
Both are courting a French electorate that expressed its unease about the bloc’s expansion by rejecting the European constitution in a referendum last year.
But beyond French politics, the question of Europe’s borders is emerging as a central issue in a quest for a collective identity that can overcome the rift between European citizens and their leaders. Deceptively simple and yet fraught with controversy over how to translate an elusive cocktail of geography, history and common values into frontiers, the debate goes to the heart of the EU’s bid to secure its place in the 21st century.
“If we want Europe to count in the world, we need to address the question of Europe’s geographical and political identity,” said Michel Barnier, a former French foreign minister and former EU commissioner. “That’s one lesson of the referendum.”
Expansion has been the EU’s most powerful foreign policy tool as it spread the bloc’s values over its 50-year history.
Advocates say its future influence rests squarely with its ability to grow further. Expansion, the argument goes, can help bolster the EU’s shrinking and aging population and inject economic dynamism. It can also help spur change and stability in strategic neighboring regions – in the case of Turkey, the Middle East and the Caucasus.
According to Onur Oymen, deputy leader of Turkey’s main opposition CHP party and a former ambassador to NATO, a Turkey firmly anchored in the EU could serve as a bridge between the West and the Muslim world.
Throughout the week, Turkish legislators have lobbied their European counterparts to stay committed to Turkey’s membership talks. And on Thursday, Ukraine’s new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, went to Brussels to express his desire for Ukraine to be moored to Europe through EU membership.
But following the last wave of enlargement in May 2004, when the EU expanded from 15 to 25 members, voters in many countries grew wary of diluting both the Union’s institutional effectiveness and its identity.
The issue of Europe’s borders has come to the fore in France’s election campaign. Sarkozy said last week that Europe should suspend accession talks with Turkey and instead work towards a “privileged partnership.” Royal, whose party split over its position on the EU constitution, was more circumspect, saying that the EU should not “slam the door” on Turkey.
But she, too, appeared to prefer a strategic partnership over full membership. “We have to see the reality of concerns that Europe must have stable borders while making partnerships,” she said.
During a lunch with the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Royal went further, according to Gilles Savary, one of her senior aides. Royal, born in Senegal where her father was an officer in the French Army before independence, told Barroso that Turkey was more different from France than some North African countries.
“Her point is that the question of Turkey’s entry legitimizes the claims of say, Morocco or Tunisia – which she does not consider European,” Savary said. He said Royal urged Barroso to organize an EU-wide opinion poll, asking citizens, among other things, where they see Europe’s borders.
EU officials said that Turkey faced an uphill battle in its accession process because of scheduled elections in France and Austria, where public opinion remains deeply skeptical.
But they added that Turkey’s negotiations were expected to last up to 15 years and that elections would come and go in the meantime.
Politicians in several countries have brought their stance on Turkey’s ascension closer to public opinion.
Resistance has been particularly pronounced in France and Austria, for instance, where several politicians have argued that Turkey’s cultural and geographic background make it incompatible with Europe.
And Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has started to voice her doubts.
Dan Bilefsky contributed reporting for this article from Brussels.

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