Reuniting Europe

I don’t think that Felipe Gonzalez, chairman of the ‘Future of Europe’ reflection group, reads my blog, but I had challenged him and the other “wise men” not to neglect the place of Turkey in their report. Now it turns out that there is only one accession country mentioned by name, and the country is Turkey.

I’m back from the Council, where Gonzalez gave a copy of the report to Council President Van Rompuy, while thousands of citizens were enjoying the Open doors day of the European institutions. I was able to snatch a French copy. In the Council website the report is not yet published while I am writing.

On page 36 of my French copy, the reports says that the Union should honour its commitments vis-a-vis the present official candidates, namely Turkey, and continue the negotiations process. Ansked to comment if this was not some kind of defiance towards Sarkozy, Gonzalez said that he had heard ‘rumours’ that the Reflection group should not dwell on the future borders of Europe, but added that his personal view was that Europe should keep its promises.

He also said that not all governments will equally like the report.

However there is no answer to the simple question – will Turkey be in the EU in 2030 or not.

I asked Gonzalez why did the reflection group work in secrecy and no public consultations were conducted. My second question was how much did the report cost.

Gonzalez first answered about the cost. Apparently the Reflection group members were not paid, and the entire budget is low, he mentioned one million euros. He said that he took the decision that no public consultations would be held, as Europe was in crisis and he did not want to overspend.

Frankly, if Europe has no money to consult its citizens, why should we believe in its ambitions to be a major world player? Written in a close circle, this is just “another report”.

I just read the report and my first feeling is that I could perhaps write a better one if I take two weeks off. I’m joking of course.

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  1. Yes: that one-word reference to Turkey is in the English version too. But in fact the Wise Men do not tackle the enlargement issue – they were probably prevented by their mandate. It is also feeble on relations with Russia.
    Otherwise, this is a worthy and well-written report. But for a million euros…? There is not much that is really new, nor with which any reasonably committed European would disagree. It does tackle the demographic issue – more so than most current discussion – and the consequent need for more immigration, but makes no mention of friction arising from Islamic practices.
    It stresses the need for change in the approach of national governments to the EU, and the lack of support and participation of citizens. But is it not ironic that this report should appear just as the UK electorate has given most votes to a party which wants to subject any new EU initiatives to referenda – which is tantamount to rejection?

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