Monday

13th Jul 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Rule-of-law row complicates budget talks

Disagreements are running deep between EU leaders over the overall size of the budget and recovery package, the criteria and mode of distribution and the conditions, with rule of law "another battle ground opening up".

News in Brief

  1. Croatia opens for US tourists, defying EU ban
  2. Poll: only 61% of Germans would get Covid-19 vaccine
  3. UK to spend €788m on new UK-EU border control system
  4. Berlin wants first use of EU cyber sanctions on Russia
  5. Erdogan warns neighbours over hydrocarbon reserves
  6. Bulgaria: political crisis amid anti-corruption protests
  7. Pope and Turkish-German leader join Hagia Sophia protest
  8. France and UK create joint migrant intelligence unit

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Poland's EU-battles to continue as Duda wins tight vote
  2. EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK
  3. Let's have positive discrimination for EU stagiaires
  4. We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises
  5. Romania's virus surge prompts queues and new worries
  6. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  7. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  8. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us