Monday, October 18, 2004

Solving the Turkey problem

According to Zaman online, the Turkish daily, the EU has already worked out how it is going to exclude Turkey from membership of the EU, without ever having to reject it outright – thus avoiding a potentially crippling crisis.

The "spiller of beans" is Gokhan Gunaydin, president of the Turkish Agriculture Engineers Society, who says that the secret weapon is agriculture.

In the way of accession negotiations, each of the separate EU policies is treated as a "file", dealt with sequentially, so that one file must be closed before another can be opened, thus allowing negotiations to progress.

Faced with a potential funding commitment of £18.4 billion a year to support Turkish farmers – more than half the current CAP cost - Gunaydin says the EU will simply never close the agricultural file.

The negotiators will show that Turkey simply cannot obey the complex rules of the acquis communautaire, using that as an excuse to hold up talks. Eventually, Turkey may then be offered "special status" instead of full membership."

From the scale of the problem, one can see why. The EU, as it stands, has 13 million farms, but Turkey has 3 million, and the Union wants the Turkish labour force cut from 25 to 10 percent of the population.

In order to do this, Turkey will have to find new work for at least five million people currently working in the agricultural industry, something which, in its current state of development, it would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

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