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Nikki Sinclaire MEP argues that the pre-accession costs of Turkey, Croatia and Serbia means that EU is simply giving billions away in the hope of buying friendship and stability.
“There are certain factions amongst the EU political elite that are unlikely ever to accept Turkish accession. Whilst there certainly are social and economic matters that are problematic, the same could be said of any of the recent new member states.
In his 2004 report urging early accession of Bulgaria, which failed to meet certain criteria, Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden seemed to suggest that the interests of the EU were best served by a prompt accession, and that the problems might therefore be overlooked.
So why is Turkey different? Of course, there is the matter of the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus, but Turkey would not be the only state to join the EU with unresolved border issues - Croatia has long standing disputes with Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro and yet that country is set for accession in July 2013. So are there other issues?
Personally, I don't want to see any further expansion of the EU, but I don't like to see racism being hidden behind so-called economic or social arguments. Turkey is a rising power, and its exclusion from the EU has led it to emerge as one of three main poles of power in Europe, the other two being Russia and the EU.
It is actually a sign of the EU's impotence in foreign affairs that a bloc of 27 nations is unable to dominate its own political space.
We now live not only in a multi-polar world, but in a multi-polar Europe. As a result of Turkey's increasing importance in its own right, support amongst the Turkish population for EU membership has almost halved to just 38%. €4.33 billion, a huge amount of money, has been spent by the EU on Turkey's pre-accession preparations.
To exactly what end is this being spent? Will Turkey ever join the EU?
In 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy stated that "Enlarging Europe with no limit risks destroying European political union, and that I do not accept...I want to say that Europe must give itself borders, that not all countries have a vocation to become members of Europe, beginning with Turkey which has no place inside the European Union."
Is Sarkozy really opposed to EU expansion as his words seem to suggest, or is he just opposed to Turkey?
Given its geopolitically strategic position, Turkey would be well advised to lean east, which it will probably do as soon as the EU stops giving it handouts. This would weaken the EU's already vulnerable position regarding security of energy supply, and would greatly increase Russian domination in this area.
Croatia emerged from its post-conflict mode in 2000, the vital tourist sector is booming, and its institutions and civil society are being rebuilt, which explains the relatively modest sum of €748 million being spent on pre-accession arrangements over 4 years.
However, Croatia is recovering on its own, and looks to be the success story of its region. Ironically, whilst Croatia recovers, economic problems within the Eurozone have caused public support for EU accession to wane.
Accession negotiations with Serbia have yet to be opened, but the country is in receipt of considerable EU largesse; €1.9 billion, to be precise. Serbia has a larger population than Croatia - 7.3 million - a figure which includes the highest refugee population in Europe.
The Serbian economy is also performing well; indeed growth has at times been fractionally higher than that of Croatia.
There remain problems over Serbia's relationship with Kosovo, but President Barosso has declared that the failure of Belgrade to recognise Kosovo is not a barrier to EU accession. Russia has been heavily investing in Serbia's energy infrastructure - demand for energy is growing in Serbia.
Cynics might say that Russia is spending its money wisely, and will receive good dividends, both politically and economically, on its investment. The EU, on the other hand, is simply giving billions away in the hope of buying friendship and stability.”