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Topic: The comings and goings of the European Union (Read 11638 times)

  • jax
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The comings and goings of the European Union
This thread is about new members entering (e.g. Croatia) and old members leaving (e.g. Britain) the Union, as well as other moves and changes in the European collective collective.

  • rjhowie
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #75
At least we have our status to look forward to and back where it belongs.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #76


We over here have grown accustomed to this sort of insulting parody but the same can be said of the EU which seems incapable or realising that when you loose a wealthy member state of 65 million you have to be prepared to cut your cloth to suit the new budget reality. I suppose it's  possible that the EU machinery is cutting budgets and will live within its  reduced means, but if so I must have missed that.

The UK Government has stated from the off that it wished to retain good relations with the EU and that it had a political interest in the EU doing well. That has not been reflected (or only partially) by the EU negotiators who are clearly much more concerned with concepts of punishment and keeping the UK cash flowing into Europe at the same rate as before.

The phrase wanting to "have their cake and eat" it applies in spades to the EU.

The wish to have the EU do well was, I believe, generally well meant and genuine in the UK and that remains the case, but it's  not an attitude that would survive much more of the knuckle-dragging attitudes that parody represents.

Maybe the EU does not want good access to the UK market and wants it to become an off-shore competitor instead of a friendly and cooperating neighbour . I doubt that those on either side who do not knuckle drag feel that way but people in Europe should understand that "no deal" is a very real possibility and it would not take much to give that popular appeal in the UK.

  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #77
Bregrets? Why Britain has had few over Europe

Quote from: Financial Times
The most likely reason for the steadfast opinions, however, is that the referendum scrambled political identities. Ipsos Mori's fascinating "Shifting Ground" survey shows how the UK's political tribes have been reconfigured. Before the referendum, supporters of the Labour party sat on the left side of the economic axis, favouring tax and spend policies. The Conservatives were towards the right, advocating free market economics. On social issues, the Tory tribe flirted with authoritarianism while Labour voters floated towards liberalism. Crucially, there was substantial crossover on all these issues -- in the political centre ground.

But Brexit has laid waste to that. The survey shows that the crossover between Leavers and Remainers is much smaller, and that these tribes are more starkly divided on social issues such as the death penalty and the pace of cultural change. Brexit has become a form of identity politics. And healing the divide is going to be difficult.


Personally I'm interested but deeply cynical about such charts especially considering:

o I voted remain but for me that is now history, the job now is to move forwards. A common attitude here but not so easy to place on such a chart. I would not know where to place myself
o the traditional characterisation between Labour and Conservative stereotypes is much too simplistic, if it has any validity now at all which I doubt
o authoritarian crops up now and then. Who was more authority - Stalin or Hitler, Corbyn or May?
o there is a large, oscillating, middle ground of people either don't  have opinions on theses things yet or don't  care
o In general (to authors of such things) - quit navel gazing, write your paper and get your brownie points but then get on and solve the issue in front of you

  • krake
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #78
... but people in Europe should understand that "no deal" is a very real possibility and it would not take much to give that popular appeal in the UK.
People in Europe vs people in the UK?  :left:
Leaving the EU might become finalized during the next five years but considering the speed of continental drift, I'm afraid that leaving Europe will take much longer... Till then I'd consider the UK still part of Europe - geographically at least.

  • rjhowie
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #79
Well I hope the main trust will be quick and now we have decided to have our former blue passport back - hooray! Time and time again those who go on about what we will "lose" getting out that financially improper running mess tend to ignore that there are a selection of countries across Europe who depend on trading with us. Decades ago we had only joined a trading organisation which morphed into a partly democratic Union.  Having visited 2 European countries which I was content with (one twice) I will do one of them for a third trip long overdue. And don't sidestep what I have already aired in that there is a move to get that EU to move towards being a Union getting like America. Well they can go on with that baloney but I am glad we are back to being a proper Britain.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Frenzie
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  • Administrator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #80
... but people in Europe should understand that "no deal" is a very real possibility and it would not take much to give that popular appeal in the UK.
People in Europe vs people in the UK?  :left:
Leaving the EU might become finalized during the next five years but considering the speed of continental drift, I'm afraid that leaving Europe will take much longer... Till then I'd consider the UK still part of Europe - geographically at least.
It's a regular thing in the UK this decade. It's almost as if France, Belgium, and the Netherlands feel closer in 19th century novels.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #81
Personally I'm interested but deeply cynical about such charts especially considering:

o I voted remain but for me that is now history, the job now is to move forwards. A common attitude here but not so easy to place on such a chart. I would not know where to place myself
o the traditional characterisation between Labour and Conservative stereotypes is much too simplistic, if it has any validity now at all which I doubt
o authoritarian crops up now and then. Who was more authority - Stalin or Hitler, Corbyn or May?
o there is a large, oscillating, middle ground of people either don't  have opinions on theses things yet or don't  care
o In general (to authors of such things) - quit navel gazing, write your paper and get your brownie points but then get on and solve the issue in front of you
These surveys ask a number of questions to pry out the respondents' attitudes. Some questions will be related to one trait, others to another. That way they can distribute the respondents according to not-necessarily-orthogonal axes.

I haven't bothered to look up the survey data from the British Election Study, but the quoted examples of left/right-prying questions are "For society to be fair, differences in people's living standard should be small" and "The British economy is rigged towards the rich and powerful". Answering "yes" to these will shift you towards the left on the axis, answering "no" towards the right. Likewise "yes" to "These days I feel like a stranger in my own country" and "Things in Britain were better in the past" would nudge you towards authoritarian.

Given a large enough sample you can do a statistical analysis on how correlated each question is with the axes you are looking for. For instance "The British economy is rigged" is a common sentiment on the far right as well as on the left. "Right" here seems to mean friendly to business/market economy, which is fair enough, but there are other ways of defining left/right. The other axis is labeled authoritarian/libertarian, which is a misnomer. For one thing "libertarian" isn't the antonym of "authoritarian", and the provided questions don't measure authoritarianism, but conservativism. There is a correlation, these two traits are more likely to go together than to be opposed. An authoritarian prefer a strong leader over strong institutions, and put greater emphasis on obeying orders and customs than on self-reliance or curiosity. A conservative is not fond of change. The article also used "identity politics", a label with problems of its own, but slightly better. 

Having mapped out the respondents according to these axes it is easy to make blobs for Labour/Tory or Leave/Remain, simply by asking them if they voted Labour or Conservative, Leave or Remain at relevant elections.

 

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #82
We over here have grown accustomed to this sort of insulting parody but the same can be said of the EU which seems incapable or realising that when you loose a wealthy member state of 65 million you have to be prepared to cut your cloth to suit the new budget reality. I suppose it's  possible that the EU machinery is cutting budgets and will live within its  reduced means, but if so I must have missed that.

The UK Government has stated from the off that it wished to retain good relations with the EU and that it had a political interest in the EU doing well. That has not been reflected (or only partially) by the EU negotiators who are clearly much more concerned with concepts of punishment and keeping the UK cash flowing into Europe at the same rate as before.

The phrase wanting to "have their cake and eat" it applies in spades to the EU.

The wish to have the EU do well was, I believe, generally well meant and genuine in the UK and that remains the case, but it's  not an attitude that would survive much more of the knuckle-dragging attitudes that parody represents.

Maybe the EU does not want good access to the UK market and wants it to become an off-shore competitor instead of a friendly and cooperating neighbour . I doubt that those on either side who do not knuckle drag feel that way but people in Europe should understand that "no deal" is a very real possibility and it would not take much to give that popular appeal in the UK.

I think you strongly underestimate the cost of a true "no deal" with no transition deals, referred to as the Belarus alternative. Such a Britain would be in WTO, NATO and UN, and similar organisations, but that would be it. There are thousand of agreements that Britain has done as an EU member that would have to be renegotiated. As an example no planes in Britain could land outside Britain and vice versa. Britain would effectively be under an embargo until this was resolved.

The good news is that neither side seems intent on that happening. There will at least be transition deals, giving Britain time to produce new deals. That would take years, providing many job opportunities for skilled bureaucrats.


On the other hand do you, like many others, strongly overestimate the impact on the EU economy. The EU has a budget 1% of the economy. It's the 99% that matters to Britain, and all other EU members. Most of the EU funds are redistributive, money comes in from dues, and goes out to fund stuff like Common Agricultural Policy and Structural and Cohesion Funds. Less money is redistributed back to the UK as is paid by the UK, so the UK is a net donor. However, about 40% of the British economy is in the public sector, relatively minor changes here would have a far greater impact than the 0.4% of British GDP (or the 0.07% of EU GDP) that goes out to the EU.

For the EU organisation however the shortfall of 10 gigaeuro is about 7% of the annual budget. That's quite noticable. It could be resolved by members paying higher dues and/or the EU funding less. It most likely will be a bit of both.

  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #83
Re the underestimation remark - Jax, you make, as usual a lot of good points and I concur with most.

I don't  think folk should play down the effects of a no deal Brexit on either side. Harm will be done to both.

But the sad fact is that they tend to be irrelevant in the minds of many. I've  noticed it in the Scottish Independence turmoil, in the Catalan independence on-going saga and now also in Brexit. There comes a time when people simply don't  care about the economic arguments, the objective becomes limited to jingoistic notions of what winning means and practicalities get pushed aside. The is a context of what is happening when insults get thrown around. A bigger insult than one recieved neans a "win" however nonsensical thd insults were. Independence or bust becomes Independence whatever the consequences.

In my opinion the most vulnerable to falling into that way if thinking are the public who are not aware if the complexities and the political extremists who mould events and public opinion.

So I repeat my claim the a no deal scenario is a real possibility and behind that the argument that insults enhance that as a possibility. That would be a bad result for both sides of the negotiation table. That is why I object to such simplistic insults as having cakes while eating them.


  • string
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  • Forum Staff
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #84
For the EU organisation however the shortfall of 10 gigaeuro is about 7% of the annual budget. That's quite noticable. It could be resolved by members paying higher dues and/or the EU funding less. It most likely will be a bit of both.

Do you not think that the EU Executive should adjust it's plans in the light of it's  budget reducing, rather than simply going on spending  as if nothing is happening? (Over and above savings made in terminating the contracts of UK staff members that is).

  • rjhowie
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #85
Sounds a bit like sitting on the fence attitude there giving that about how both sides could kind of suffer?  This is just like elections where one side wins and the other loses and life goes on and it will be the same effect once we get out of this farce of the EU. I know there are countries in the Union that will bed the knee because they are not capable or able to run themselves that well and the handouts keep them going but that does not mean we have to just drift along with that. Using the liberal political attitude does not work as far as this European club is concerned.  We are not some third world or like those pooer ones in Europe and we have a good basis for a world wide position. Like any election or change of direction there are always challenges but here we are totally ignoring the simmering attitude from the strong guys in Europe to move towards a "United states of europe." Utter bonkers and this thread just body-swerves that. The majority of ordinary people in GB who are not cumfy off like others of us want out of the EU and i am glad of that.

As for Scotland a lot of the Brigadoon mob in the Nat corner are emotional tribalism. They fight for independence from the UK and to be governed by Brussels! May I also remind you that the Nationalists lost seats to both Labour and Conservative - especially Conservative. Even that big mouth and stroppy smart alex (Salmond) who used to be SNP Leader got bumped out of Westminster by a Tory. Britain voted to get out and we will and even if teething problems we are basically and economically strong. Roll on the date! :yes:
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #86
But the sad fact is that they tend to be irrelevant in the minds of many. I've  noticed it in the Scottish Independence turmoil, in the Catalan independence on-going saga and now also in Brexit. There comes a time when people simply don't  care about the economic arguments, the objective becomes limited to jingoistic notions of what winning means and practicalities get pushed aside. The is a context of what is happening when insults get thrown around. A bigger insult than one recieved neans a "win" however nonsensical thd insults were. Independence or bust becomes Independence whatever the consequences.

In my opinion the most vulnerable to falling into that way if thinking are the public who are not aware if the complexities and the political extremists who mould events and public opinion.

So I repeat my claim the a no deal scenario is a real possibility and behind that the argument that insults enhance that as a possibility. That would be a bad result for both sides of the negotiation table. That is why I object to such simplistic insults as having cakes while eating them.
That threat is weird, like a jilted lover threatening "If you leave me now, I'm going to stab myself". That is a credible threat, but through self-harm. It would hurt both, but only one would be bleeding.

It seems there is an agreement to put the knife down, to the relief of business and reasonable people everywhere.

Brexit is definitely going to cost economically, any other opinion is simply wrong. However, assuming rational behaviour, that cost should be modest over time.

People make decisions that are economically disadvantageous, and obviously have that choice, either for good reasons or for "blue passport" reasons.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #87
Do you not think that the EU Executive should adjust it's plans in the light of it's  budget reducing, rather than simply going on spending  as if nothing is happening? (Over and above savings made in terminating the contracts of UK staff members that is).
You mean the Council of the European Union (i.e. the governments of the member states)? That will be the big haggle. The net donor nations have been firm that they don't want to pay more, rather the opposite. On the other hand it's relatively small money. Like I said, I expect a bit of both.

And it's not like the UK is about to stop paying any day soon. There have been, and will continue to be, reforms. The EU budget has actually been shrinking relative to the economy. We can expect the payments to CAP to keep falling. The biggest battle ground, I guess, will be the second-largest post, the structural and cohesion funds. Infrastructure spending in particular can do much good, even between relatively rich countries as national governments tend to overinvest in infrastructure inside country and underinvest in infrastructure between countries. National government also tend to look at it from the perspective of the capital, not always a good idea. All that said, not all investments have been great, and we can expect slightly less of it in any case. 

The big C word is Convergence. Lately there's rather been a divergence in the economies, but the longer-term trend is that relatively poorer countries are catching up, and/or get less farmers. Either way leading to net recipients needing and getting less.  

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #88
EU: Serbia, Montenegro 'Could Join In 2025'

Quote
BRUSSELS -- Montenegro and Serbia should be ready for EU membership in 2025 and Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia should be well-advanced on their path to EU accession by then, according to a draft of the European Commission's Western Balkans strategy seen by RFE/RL.

The strategy, which is expected to be made public on February 6, is part of an EU effort to breathe new life into the accession process for the six Western Balkan countries that remain outside the bloc.

The draft seen by RFE/RL states that "the Western Balkan partners now have a historic window of opportunity" and that "for the first time their accession perspective has a best-case framework" -- but adds that the timeline set out in the paper is realistic only if there is "strong political will, delivery of real reforms, and lasting solutions to disputes with neighbors."

The timeline is "ambitious and is meant to be an incentive," it says.

According to the document, 2019 will be a crucial year.

Whoever drew that map seems to have had it in for Albania.

It is interesting, though not really surprising, that it is Serbia and Montenegro that are in the fast track category. After all these were the two parts of Rump Yugoslavia that started the Yugoslav wars, and Serbia was finally bombed into submission. A generation later they, and their erstwhile enemies, are set to join the EU. Of course, if it hadn't been for that war these countries would likely have been in the EU already. 

  • ersi
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #89
It is interesting, though not really surprising, that it is Serbia and Montenegro that are in the fast track category. After all these were the two parts of Rump Yugoslavia that started the Yugoslav wars, and Serbia was finally bombed into submission. A generation later they, and their erstwhile enemies, are set to join the EU. Of course, if it hadn't been for that war these countries would likely have been in the EU already.
It's stupid rather than interesting. There seems to be a political principle that there must always be someone in the fast track category and currently there is nobody else there so they had to put someone even though they obviously don't qualify. It's just a move for the EU to feel good about itself, because it started to feel bad that things went down the drain with Ukraine and Turkey and what other non-qualifying countries they have been playing with.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #90
There are technical requirements to be fulfilled to become an EU member, and Serbia and Montenegro have progressed the furthest, so based on that it is quite reasonable. There are also many political issues (e.g. the name of Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo, and so on).

These countries are poor (bad), small (good), and not with too many farmers (good), but there is a lot of other baggage.  Three of the countries are majority Muslim, but that is not likely to be a major issue. However six more Balkan countries will move the EU voting blocks further to the South-East away from the North and West, as already experienced in the Eurovision.

  • ersi
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #91
...as already experienced in the Eurovision.
...which reminds me: Will UK continue participating in Eurovision? Why (not)?

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #92
But of course. They are not barbarians. Besides, the EBU predates the EU.


  • rjhowie
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #93
Basically no reason why it should not in principle still be in the Euro Song contest. After all hat he deuce is Israel doing in the blessed thing. Yesterday it was still in the Middle East or has it been moved? Pointless nonsense that nation  being in the event.

The who Brexit thing and decision would always be a strong reaction but the would be democrats who lost the Referendum cannot grow damn well up. Sniping and demanding like the liberal Democrat Party leader here who is a pest and constant moaner. There is also a Conservative MP backbencher sacked a wee while ago by the Prime Minister. She seems to forget the PM was originally a  remainer who accepted the result and got on with it. Our economy has not collapsed the numbers working are the hgihest ever and s on. I dare say there will be passing matters on leaving but the Euro moaners seem to forget that Europe trades more to us than the other way round and they can suffer. Maybe learning to grow up is delayed as they don't want to lose the begging bowl they have?
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ersi
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #94
But of course. They are not barbarians. Besides, the EBU predates the EU.
Right. And it shows that EBU does not reflect the ongoings in the EU at all. Popular voting has no necessary connection to top level political allegiances. So it's inapplicable to infer something like "...six more Balkan countries will move the EU voting blocks further to the South-East away from the North and West, as already experienced in the Eurovision."

  • Belfrager
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #95
Three of the countries are majority Muslim, but that is not likely to be a major issue.
Do you believe that?
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #96
Three of the countries are majority Muslim, but that is not likely to be a major issue.
Do you believe that?
I believe that it in fact is a major issue, but experience shows that our dear rulers are often blind to most obvious major issues.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #97
Population (in megapeople)
Albania 2.9 (60-80% Muslim)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 3.5 (46% Muslim, so plurality, not majority)
Kosovo 1.8 (90% Muslim)
Total 8.2

A large number of these are secular Muslims, Muslims as an ethnic marker, but not practising religion. This is very far from Saudi Arabia. The wars radicalised many, but actually less than disaffected youth in Western Europe (SA keeps pushing though). Roughly speaking the total number of Muslims would be the same as the total number of Muslims in France. 

Serbia 7.0
Montenegro 0.6
Macedonia 2.1
Total 9.7

The total population of all six countries is less than Romania (or for that matter the number of Roma, gypsies, if we take the upper bound)


The most obvious problem with these countries is that they are dirt poor, even poorer than Bulgaria, today's poorest member. The second obvious problem is that they have all had recent experience with civil war, and there is still plenty bad blood. Third, none of them have good government, plenty corruption and crime. Today none of them would qualify. Would they qualify in 2025? They could, with sufficient improvements. It is also possible that the front-runners will change on the way. 

Another class of problems is that they all, except Serbia that may count as mid-size, are small countries. Every country has a veto, and the number of possible vetos would go up from 27 to 33. Even with qualified voting this would be a significant shift toward the Balkans. If you want less power to Germany and France, great. Germany and France might not agree. There would be no obvious sponsors in the North, North-East, West or South-West as in other enlargements. But by virtue of these being small enlargements, they probably would pass, assuming the applicant countries are qualified. 

  • ersi
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #98
The total population of all six countries is less than Romania (or for that matter the number of Roma, gypsies, if we take the upper bound)
And Romanian gypsies by themselves cause enough obvious problems so that there is a term for them that you have most definitely heard of: EU-migranter. This euphemism invariably means unemployed homeless wandering beggars-or-worse from Romania.

The most obvious problem with these countries is that they are dirt poor, even poorer than Bulgaria, today's poorest member. The second obvious problem is that they have all had recent experience with civil war, and there is still plenty bad blood. Third, none of them have good government, plenty corruption and crime. Today none of them would qualify.
Romania and Bulgaria did not qualify either, but none of these problems eventually prevented their accession. Occasionally it looks as if the qualifications are: Just stand in line long enough and you're in.

With Bosnia, Kosovo et al, their Muslim population adds another dimension: From then on, there will be no arguments against Turkey's membership. Nevermind the democracy problem, Kurdish problem, and Cyprus problem, because EU leaders have no principles. There will be an opportune moment for every applicant regardless of the so-called qualifications. Ukraine does not qualify because Russia opposes it - that's the real qualification.

Another class of problems is that they all, except Serbia that may count as mid-size, are small countries. Every country has a veto, and the number of possible vetos would go up from 27 to 33.
In practice, the EU has almost solved this particular issue. It's unfeasible for any smaller country to stand alone. Only big countries can afford to veto without having regional allies. The line between big and small seems to go roughly at the point of Poland and Hungary.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Reply #99
From then on, there will be no arguments against Turkey's membership.
That's the real point,Turkey.
May I remind my fellow europeans that Turkey was invited by Germany the EU for joining the Union. Then, a shaming process of denying our own word lead to the actual situation. Erdogan knows well the weight of Turkey for defending the West so he does what he wants.

So... is it the EU able to not need Turkey?
Or should the EU turn it's strategy against the USA, China and Russia, the real menace, instead spending time with minor Islam problems that takes too much space in our days corrupt media?
A matter of attitude.