Enkele commentaren uit de Duitse pers, verzameld door SPIEGEL, willen we u niet onthouden. Vanwege de actualiteit bij uitzondering in het Engels; tijd te kort om te vertalen.Interessant is de opmerking in de “Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung” dat de Verenigde Staten het gestuntel van de EU-politici tot een beslissing konden brengen! Zo heeft Amerika ook in de EU een grote vinger in de pap.

For Turkey, the Road to Brussels Goes Via Zagreb

The near-collapse of talks aimed at providing Turkey with membership in the European Union has met with a collective raspberry from the German press, but everyone seems to find it embarrassing for a different reason.

Is Turkey a part of Europe? This question has befuddled bureaucrats and politicians involved in building a “European Union” for the better part of four decades. The brinksmanship in Luxembourg on Monday over letting Turkey into the EU — sorry, over talking about letting Turkey into the EU — comes off as a comedy of diplomats and populist prime ministers who still can’t make up their minds. During 11th-hour bargaining over the language of the parameters for accession negotiations, Austria discovered some objections to the idea of Turkey as an EU member, and suggested that a “privileged partnership” should be put on the table, along with full membership, when the Union extended a formal invitation to Turkey to start the long (maybe 15-year) ordeal of membership talks.

But Turkey had spent years trying to meet European demands just to earn the invitation — economic demands, human rights demands — and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vowed not to participate if “privileged partnership” was still on the table. Partnership struck him as an insult, since no other current EU nation had been considered for anything besides full membership.

So Austria threw a wrench into the slowly moving gears — and the crisis passed only after a sudden promise from the EU to start membership talks with Austria’s ally, Croatia. It was a move which surprised a lot of Croatians — and prompted Erdogan to make a panic call to Washington, a long-time champion of Turkish EU membership. The EU stalled talks with Croatia after a blistering report from the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in March. But positive words from The Hague on Monday removed that hurdle and the outcome enabled Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to board his plane and declare that Turkey was joining the discussions with its “head held high.”

Reaction to the poker game in Luxembourg has been universally sour in the German press. Berlin’s left-leaning daily, Der Tagesspiegel, points out the obvious: “The EU has managed, in the last three years, to convert an enthusiastic (Turkish) fan club into a disappointed, disillusioned horde of millions who now believe the ‘Christian club’ wants nothing to do with them.” The commentator wonders if Turkish membership now has a serious chance, because the Turkey question gets dragged into domestic power plays within member states so often: “Yesterday’s drama in Luxembourg calls even the most vehement supporters of Turkish membership into doubt.”

The business daily Handelsblatt sees domestic politics at work, too: “Austria’s Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel sniffed the breeze and noticed that it might not be opportune — only a year before parliamentary elections in his own country — to let Turkish accession talks move forward without some kind of protest.” The paper finds the drama in Luxembourg embarrassing, if only because it came so late. “There are several compelling reasons not to let Turkey into the EU,” writes the commentator. “Ankara’s failure to recognize Cyprus (an EU member), its treatment of minorities, and missing guarantees on human rights are only a few. But promises need to be kept.”

The right-leaning Die Welt believes Turks have good reason to feel insulted, but for a different reason: “They’re the victims of a strategy which European politicians who aren’t even in power anymore have glorified into a mandate — to plan for Turkish accession against all economic reason and democratic legitimacy.” The paper rails against bureaucratic arrogance, Turkey’s weak promises to Europe (which have become “a matter of honor” in Ankara), and praises the Austrian chancellor for “disturbing the solemn prayers of the yes-men” in Europe. Chancellor Schüssel “expressed what countless Europeans think but are not allowed to say: that full EU membership for Turkey is nonsense as long as basic questions of the union’s purpose, expansion, and financial condition aren’t settled.” What the writer would like to see is a fully re-organized EU, with slimmer bureaucratic structures, staking out “a zone of freedom and free trade … a formation of ‘privileged partnerships’ on all sides.”

Germany’s paper of record, the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, finds it ironic that Ankara had to pull the “America card” by calling Condoleezza Rice to help rescue the talks, since most liberal-minded Europeans in favor of Turkish accession (like Gerhard Schröder) are the ones who resent U.S. involvement in other parts of the world. This time around, “they may not find it so uncongenial.” But the paper argues the main question still hasn’t been answered: “Is Turkey, based on its location and its social and cultural composition, a European nation, which has a logical place in the EU?” European citizens are doubtful, writes the paper. “The Austrian government can be chastised for finding its courage to resist the EU so late and then just caving in,” but essentially, “Vienna is right. One has to wonder at the stubbornness and weak imaginations of those who see no way forward except in full EU membership for Turkey … The fixation on full membership carries the risk that the Union might overextend, and fail.”
SPIEGEL ONLINE – October 4, 2005, 02:58 PM
URL: www.spiegel.de/internationa…