Thursday

15th Nov 2018

Van Rompuy: 'Turkey will never be part of Europe'

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, a leading candidate to win the presidency of the European Council, is strongly opposed to Turkey ever joining the European Union.

"Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe," Mr Van Rompuy said during a meeting of the Council of Europe on the subject of Turkey's possible entry into the EU, held in the Belgian parliament on December, 2004.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The Belgian leader believes Turkey would threaten Europe's 'Christian values' (Photo: Luc Van Braekel)

During the speech, the Belgian leader underscored Europe's Christian "fundamental values," which would be undermined by admitting Turkey into the union.

"An expansion of the EU to include Turkey cannot be considered as just another expansion as in the past. The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey," the then opposition politician said in a speech that until now has remained buried.

Belgian officials confirmed to this website that the speech was made, but noted that the comments were made when in opposition.

Anticipating that the UK, which does not favour Mr Van Rompuy as a candidate for the EU top job and which is pro-Turkey, would immediately jump on the speech as an argument against the Belgian leader, one official said: "Things that are said in opposition, as David Cameron will soon find out, are different from what you find yourself saying when in government."

"Serious politics, however, is to judge someone by what they say and do when in power," the official said.

Nevertheless, it is understood that British diplomats are not particularly concerned.

"If we ruled out all the politicians that had said awkward things in the past, we'd have a very short list indeed," said one.

Mr Van Rompuy is said to have the backing of France and Germany for the presidency post, set to be decided along with the new EU foreign policy post at a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday evening (19 November).

The question of whether Turkey - an official candidate - should be a full member of the European Union has long divided member states.

Van Rompuy makes debut at Turkey-sceptic gathering

Herman Van Rompuy on Thursday delivered his first official speech as president of the EU council at a party gathering of Bavarian conservatives, just days after the group caused a stir in Turkey with a paper underlining its opposition to the country's membership of the EU.

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

EU ministers' discussion on how to address rule of law issues in Poland and Hungary gets stuck on procedural issues, while Viktor Orban's government claims it is a target of the Brussels elite because of its anti-migration stance.

EU's centre-right make Weber their man to replace Juncker

The centre-right EPP party's congress wanted to show unity - but divisions remain after the political alliance lined up behind Germany's Manfred Weber as their 'Spitzenkandidat' ahead of next year's European election.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  2. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  3. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown
  4. Second UK cabinet minister resigns over Brexit deal
  5. UK Brexit secretary quits morning after deal agreed
  6. Romanian MPs call for national 'Magnitsky Act'
  7. Tusk: Brexit summit on Sunday 25 November
  8. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  2. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  3. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  4. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  5. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  6. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  7. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  8. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us