The European Union is a young and influential institution in this world and might be still growing in the future. A few setbacks in the past didn’t stop it but maybe there are bigger ones to come, just like the Brexit.
As the Union faces big changes at its very own center, the future remains in the dark for the Union of states. While one leaves, it is uncertain who will take over the seats left free by the British delegates. Also a general fear of others following the example of the UK is still present. Since in the UK the citizens decided in that matter, other member states might be afraid of a spreading idea among their inhabitants.
Let‘s have a look at some possibilities.
Norway, which was so focused on the EU and its economic opportunities, seems to be more distant in the present. As Julie, a Norwegian I had the chance to speak to, explained to me. ‚Norwegians are about maintaining the essence of their culture‘ and it‘s also an economical question. Norwegian people don‘t seem to be into the subject as people from other member states, which shows the country’s rather low interest in joining the Union in the near future. As past referendums show, it‘s been a close call both times. In fact, they‘re still very close allies as they are partners in the EEA, the EFTA and a part of the Schengen Area. So, even if this neighbor next door isn‘t yet ready for a serious relationship, we know their focus on the EU is real. Also since the USA are missing as a reliable partner at the moment. The most controversial glance is based in the eastern part of Europe, Turkey. In the past, Turkey tried to become a part of the EU, but never quite made it. Discussions about this are endless and extremely complicated, also as the views on the topic differentiate on a big scale. I‘ve talked to Ruma, a teacher, born in Turkey. She remembers how talks about the EU were a big thing in Turkey while she grew up. People were inclined towards a membership and polls showed the same results.
Since Turkey had been standing up against the Sowjet Block during the Cold War it’s focus to the West isn’t suprising. Still, as she points out, Turkey was left disappointed a few times as other countries kept being accepted while they had to wait. ‚Neither the government nor the people have faith that we will be in EU somewhen‘.
The European side‘s sceptic also derivers from the eastern part of Turkey not actually being in the European continent. But is that the only issue within that region? “Yes, this is another point. I can divide Turkey into two parts: western and eastern side. Western Turkish, like me, can be well integrated into Europe. I don‘t see much of a difference between us. However, the eastern side even is somewhat of a stranger to me. Their culture has no European touch‘. With a population, most of it living on the asian side, Turkey would get about the same amount of seats in the European Parliament as for example Germany. Member States seem to be concerned about strong changes in the Parliament due to that. The most discussed issue is another though. Turkey‘s affinity to the neighbors in the west relates to past times and past governments. With recent heads of state in power, Europe seems to avoid a deeper relationship, especially after the changes in power not too long ago.
Memories of the past don‘t really help either…“In every speech, Erdogan now always implicitly or explicitly declares that he is not a friends of the EU‘. Major economic states don‘t seem to be very likely to join the European Union in the close future and as there are other candidates like Albania. It looks like it might take a while, until certain topics are discussed, before joining the EU will be a relevant point again. For example a huge problem in Albania seems to be corruption, which EU member states are not willing to deal with. Such as politically ‚difficulties‘ like in Ukraine, where conflicts with Russia could reheat for the Union as well.
For now, we‘ll just have to deal with Brexit…
by Marco Ligas