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Rethinking Europe's enlargement policy

The reunification of Europe that started on May 1st 2004 will be complete on January 1st 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania join. For the European Union it was a moral duty finally to wipe away the effects of Yalta. It is also in its economic and political interest. Now we must focus on Europe's success and there is much work to be done … 

Although the Western Balkans should join the Union we all know that they are not yet ready and that they will need our help and time. Together we shall succeed in putting the 1990's behind us and extinguish the embers of ethnic conflict. It will not be easy, the example of Kosovo clearly shows this, but it is possible. 

However nothing justifies the continued, endless enlargement of the Union unless we really do want to deny it access to the political status that is now required of it in terms of its place and its role in the international arena.

It has the right to a territory, a condition for its political identity and the vital feeling of belonging on the part of its citizens. This territory is limited by the sea in the North, West and South; the line is less defined in the East but it probably lies along the present borders of EU27. Political enlargement has reached its limits. It now produces the opposite effect of that originally sought after: instead of bringing populations together it divides them and is leading to confrontation. The example of Turkey shows us this and calls for our attention.

From blackmail to inaccuracies, both Turkey and the Union have come into constant conflict. The former refuses to respect the rules of the club that it wants to join. It wants to negotiate them. Turkey hasn't understood yet that Europe is all about rejecting narrow minded nationalism and favouring cooperation between the nations. It is up to Turkey, a great country, to take the initiative to settle the Cypriot issues, to reconcile with its neighbours and to accept its past. 

The latter is torn between its interests, its promises and the reality of the situation. It continues like an automat to follow its course without gauging its analyses, its procedures and its attitude against the new world. However more and more is asked from Europe in the international arena of which it is now an actor. IN order to have a common foreign policy "an inside and an outside", i.e. limits need to be defined. Europe not only is a community of values, it is also a territory. 

Turkey and Europe have much to accomplish together, in mutual respect and on an equal footing. If we want them to succeed in this then we must be courageous enough to refute the idea of membership and substitute it with a realistic kind of co-operation.

The enlargement policy has to be taken back to the drawing board otherwise there will be a great deal of disappointment. 

This is undoubtedly the message that the German Chancellor and the French President tried to convey on 5th December with all the diplomatic tact required in such situations. Such is also the meaning of the decision taken by the Foreign ministers of the Union on 11th December. 

I hope that their message will be heard.