Friday

25th May 2018

Former Turkish ambassador: 'EU dream is dead'

  • Signature of Treaty of Paris in 1951, setting up the proto-EU Coal and Steel Community. Bagis: 'The EU was never seen as economic project by us, but as a peace project' (Photo: diplomatie.gouv.fr)

Turkey's former ambassador to the EU, Volkan Bozkir, has described it as a spent force in world affairs amid general acceptance EU-Turkey accession talks are going nowhere.

Bozkir told delegates at a business congress in Istanbul on Friday (18 November): "The EU dream has come to an end for the world. There is a paradigm shift. The EU is no longer the same Union that provided comfort, prosperity and wealth to its citizens as in the past. It no longer generates visionary ideas such as Schengen [the EU's passport free zone], or the Common Agricultural Policy."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Greece, Portugal, Spain - the EU has a hard time supporting these countries in the economic crisis. It is not able any more to help its members recover from a crisis."

Bozkir, who was Turkey's ambassador to the EU between 2005 and 2009 and is now chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Turkish parliament, blamed the situation on the EU architecture - fiscal union between unequal economies and consensus-based decision making.

Using an automotive image for eurozone economies, he said: "You took cars that can only speed up to 60 kilometres per hour and put them on the road with cars driving 100 kilometres per hour. So of course, these cars crash and are pulled off the road. But when one breaks down, all the others are affected."

He added: "In normal democracies, you have a majority-based decision mechanism, but never a unanimous mechanism ... In order to fix the crisis, you need the vote of countries that caused the crisis. But of course, they say 'No'."

He also blamed unanimity for letting Turkey's historical antagonist, Cyprus block the opening of negotiating chapters in accession talks. "That is what is causing the political deadlock, so the negotiations are not going anywhere," he said.

The negotiations have been on hold since 2009.

Bozkir noted that EU membership is still Turkey's "strategic objective", but only in the sense adoption of EU standards and values is good for Turkey whether it joins or not.

'Positive agenda'

For their part, two EU commissioners, Stefan Fuele (enlargement) and Karl de Gucht (trade), came to the Istanbul event to promote what the EU is calling a "positive agenda" - a plan to keep going with reform talks outside the formal accession process.

Fuele told Turkish TV the "agenda" is "in no way" an alternative to enlargement. But he acknowledged accession talks are at a "standstill."

The commissioner said the Turkish economy is tied to the EU: 46 percent of Turkish trade is with the Union and 80 percent of foreign investment in Turkey comes from EU companies.

Turkey to fill Arab Spring 'gap'

Turkish delegates at the meeting, organised by business association Tuskon, indicated they no longer see themselves as a junior partner seeking favours.

Bozkir said the Arab Spring is transforming Turkey into a regional power: "We don't see the US [dominant] in the Middle East anymore. No one has confidence in the UN. So who is going to fill this gap? Turkey. When our prime minister visits these regions, people really welcome him. They wave Turkish flags in the streets."

Turkish EU affairs minister Egemen Bagis said the question is not what the EU can do for Turkey but vice versa: "The EU was never seen as economic project by us, but as a peace project and we are working to turn it into a global project."

'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit

At the first summit in 15 years with Western Balkan leaders, EU chiefs made it clear that enlargement is not at hand - but offered economic incentives to keep the region close to the bloc.

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

EU tells Moldova it is still corrupt

In an annual progress report, European Commission says "independence of justice, law enforcement as well as national anti-corruption authorities need substantial improvement".

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

News in Brief

  1. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  2. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  3. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  4. UK households hit with Brexit income loss
  5. Report: EU faces 10% cut in steel exports to US
  6. Australia wants more access to EU agricultural market
  7. CV of Italian PM candidate under scrutiny
  8. Puigdemont Spain extradition rejected by German court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Green stadiums at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
  2. Visegrad Four 'nothing to hide' on rule of law issue
  3. GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion
  4. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  5. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  6. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  7. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  8. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'