Joschka Fischer about Turkey

Economic realism will ease anti-Turkish feeling, Joschka Fischer says
( report by EUOBSERVER – Andrew Willis – we have added comments)

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Austrian, French and German opposition to Turkey joining the European Union will melt away with time, Germany’s ex-foreign minister Joschka Fischer has predicted.
….COMMENT Add also Holland and a few other countries on a growing list

Speaking to EUobserver on the margins of an event to launch a Council of Europe ‘Group of Eminent Persons’ in Brussels on Thursday (30 September), he said a growing realisation that Europe needs to replenish its aging workforce is already altering perceptions and that it is Turkey, not the EU, which might ultimately jettison accession plans.
Comment: Who chooses ? who are those “super-eminences” ? Fischer himself ?

“We may knock on the doors of Ankara and there may be nobody home,” Mr Fischer warned.
Comment:We certainly have other things to do. Let us have a look at “Alternatives to Mass Migration”,a daunting but not impossible task-list, which our political leaders have hidden for forty years .

“If you look at France and Germany, you don’t need to be a prophet to see things will change,” he added. “Europe’s future economy will depend on its openness.
Comment: Who is the prophet? You guessed it: Joshka Fischer

We need immigration, that’s the maths of it.
Comment: Math according to JF

Either we Europeans wake up or we become poorer.”
Comment: Here is the crux of our problem. We all, including economists, have to wake up and find “alternatives to mass migration..” Ultimately the alternatives will bear a certain net cost, but we shall be the happier for it without having Turkey as full member in our EU.
The former Green party politician is a highly paid advisor for the Nabucco consortium trying to build a gas pipeline in Turkey.
Comment: Glad to hear:at least we do not have to worry for Joschka Fischer

The Council of Europe group, which he is to chair, will study the problem of growing intolerance in Europe as witnessed in the recent Roma dispute and the rise of far-right parties even in traditionally liberal countries such as Sweden.
Comment : But why again does the Council of Europe (or at least this subgroup) veer off more productive paths of analysis?

Turkey, home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Roma populations, would wield enormous clout in the EU if it joined.
Comment This observation is true. May we guess that it did not come from Joschka Fischer but from the reporter ?

But at the same time its median age is just 28 compared to 42 in the Union and its economy grew by around 11 percent in the first half of this year compared to the EU’s 1-2 percent.
Comment: Can anyone explain how this sentence connects with the former ?

Its confidence on the world stage has grown in recent years as has that of fellow emerging power Brazil.
Comment : We are truly happy for Turkey’s growing activity in its region. It is by no means a “wall-flower” without partners. It is not a country in danger of “drifting away” which we would have to “anchor” to Europe

The two countries in May put forward an alternative plan for tackling Iran’s nuclear ambitions, challenging the authority of the so-called P5+1 group of France, Germany, the UK, China, Russia and the US which had monopolised international diplomacy on Iran until then.
(on Turkey getting closer to Brazil and Iran ).
Comment We have noted too. What is the implication? Saving Turkey from such temptations?

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, from the Free Democratic Party in the German coalition government, has in recent days spoken along the same lines as Mr Fischer.
Comment :The association of Westerwelle and Joschka Fischer does not come as a surprise. Thanks again to the reporter for his side-remark
“It is in our own interest that the perspective of Turkey remains European and Western,” he said at a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday. “It sometimes amazes me how self-assuredly countries that are influential today assume that things will always be that way,” he told the Wall Street Journal a week earlier.
Comment : We are not responsible for the “perspective” of extra-Europeans, and we should not go over-board trying.
The UK and Sweden are the biggest supporters of Turkish accession. Comment: So we are warned. But things in UK and Sweden are changing. In those countries indeed we may do something to influence their “perspective” in view of our common good

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union party, Austria and France continue to say it should be a “privileged partner” instead of an EU member.
Comment:  Not only Germany, Austria and France. In the Netherlands the Turkish accession pressure was one of the main reasons for their “NO” to the attempted EU Constitution

Meanwhile, Cyprus has vetoed the opening of eight chapters and the closing of any chapters in the past five years of accession talks due to a territorial dispute.
Comment : Exact.

Turkey feels insulted, yet optimistic
Ankara hopes that another chapter (on competition) will be opened by the end of the year and that three more (on public procurement, education and energy) will follow in 2011.
Comment We might do better to stop the negotiations, in order to alleviate the ultimate pain on both sides.

But its diplomats are not shy about voicing frustration with the slow pace of progress.
Comment : We know Turkish diplomats as superbly competent and hyper active in lobbying the European institutions. The volume and intensity  of that lobbying has so far been under-reported to our European public. Our people need to know far more about that often hidden pressure.

“It is insulting to be offered something [a privileged partnership] that does not exist,” Egemen Bagis, the Turkish junior minister for EU affairs and its chief negotiator on EU accession, told reporters at a lunch in Brussels on Wednesday.
Comment : A psychiatrist will be needed to explain this paragraph about suffered “insult”. The concept of partnership certainly does exist. See our analysis on “Voices-of-Europe”. Let Turkey come up with a response.

“I am confident in the democratisation and economic prosperity of my country. To be honest, I don’t have so much confidence in your economic prosperity. We are not coming with additional burdens to the EU, we are coming yo take burdens from Europe. My new motto is: ‘Hold on tight Europe, Turkey is coming to save you.'”
Comment :Turkey as savior of Europe. Thanks, too much honor.We shall have a hard job to do, but we think we can do the job.

Mr Bagis sees an ally in the EU’s UK-origin foreign relations chief, Catherine Ashton, and its Czech-origin enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele.
Comment Thanks again for the warning Let us closely observe Ashton and Fuele

Recalling a recent six-hour-long meeting with the pair in Istanbul, the junior minister said: “She is a very smart, intellectually well-prepared, wise lady, who is aware of issues in detail … I can talk with them and they can talk with us.”
Comment : Fine to end on an optimistic note. But the main issues are deep,heavy and concern our European future. Let us be watchful and study the Alternatives

AGOS Paris-Peking october 2010


About dutasia

Former Ambassador of the Netherlands, presently National Commissioner for Thailand and for Indonesia in the ICC, the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Organization. Chairman of China Carbon Forum in Beijing, China.
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