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Divination before Christmas in Copenhagen - 12 December, 2002

The main international event of today is likely the summit of the European Union in Copenhagen. The meeting is expected to answer the question, which states will join the European community next years. Hopefully, we will know it soon.

The European press estimations of the summit are mostly pessimist. Especially pessimistic is the German Sueddeutche Zeitung. According to one of its authors, neither the candidates, nor the actual members of the Union express necessary enthusiasm, but only dispute about the money. In fact, it is really so. Many states which intend to become the Union members are trying to obtain from “old” EU members some privileges and subsidies to go through so-called “transition.” The most active is Poland. In this country, almost 40 percent of the population are farmers, and Warsaw is not ready to sacrifice their interests which could be seriously damaged after Poland joins the EU where there are serious restrictions for agricultural production.

In general, so far there are only two states which are ready to follow all conditions of the UE: Cyprus and Slovakia. The rest still hope for gaining some more comfortable conditions for themselves. Whether they will succeed in it, only time can show.

Just another thing is Turkey. The Ankara hopes for becoming soon EU member are hardly realizable. It is not known yet exactly, when the negotiation on this subject will start. However, other candidate states declared their wish to join the Union later, than Turkey. This is why the Turkish authorities are very irritated. European politicians seem to be afraid of taking responsibility. For Turkey with all its political and economical troubles joining the EU could cause serious troubles for the European Union which – whether it wants it or not – would be forced to actively participate in settling them.

Although nobody has said “no” to Turkey, it is still being kept before the  EU door. However, at the latest meeting of the EU foreign ministers, the probable date of the negotiations on the Turkey EU entrance was fixed: July 2005. The called date hardly could please Ankara, for it should wait for several years. The Turkey Prime Minister Abdullah Gul called this date “absolutely impossible,” while insisting on the year 2003. Otherwise, he threatened with “response measures.”

However, Turkey has a powerful ally in this question: the US. For the sake of Turkish military bases which are so necessary for the war in Iraq, George Bush is ready to promise anything to Ankara. The US President, while phoning the Dutch foreign minister, called him to “opening prospects for Turkey joining the European Union.” Though, Washington will not press so much upon the EU in this question. Turkey is Turkey, but the US hardly wants to quarrel with Europeans because of it.

So, the Copenhagen obviously will not be boring. In some measure, it must answer a very important question: first, how stable is the European Union as it is now? And how capable is it in solving problems which appear before it? 

Oleg Artyukov
PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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