There’s been some remarks by Chris Patten, formerly the EU’s External Relations Commissioner, made to a US official in Brussels, on 28 April 2004, shortly after Cyprus entered the EU having rejected the Annan plan. Patten was a senior Tory politician and government minister in the 1980s and 1990s and was, indeed, the last British governor of Hong Kong. He is currently the chancellor of Oxford University. His remarks regarding Cyprus and Tassos Papadopoulos are not surprising, but here they are:
Next Steps On Cyprus/Papadopolous’ Dubious Character...
3. (C) The next steps for the Commission are figuring out how to spend money in Northern Cyprus. Patten expects the EC to open an office to oversee their assistance. While there will be legal hurdles to managing the process, he was confident the Commission would find a way. Patten doubted the Greek Cypriots would openly oppose any efforts, noting that they were “on their heels” diplomatically after their blatant efforts to stifle opposing views on the referendum. This incident, Patten said, was a sad reflection on the realities of EU enlargement: Some of the new members were people you would “only want to dine with if you have a very long spoon”. Not that the EU should have been surprised by Papadopolous’ behavior, Patten said, since they knew well who they were dealing with: Milosevic's lawyer.XXXXXXXXXXXX...
And on Turkey
4. (C) Patten noted that he was the biggest proponent in the Commission for Turkey’s admission. In his view, based on the technical merits alone, the Commission has no other option but to give a positive avis to begin accession negotiations. Still, he said the political climate in Europe is not receptive to Turkey’s candidacy. The problem, in his view, was not Chirac in France, since “he can change his policies on a whim”. Patten considered the opposition of conservative parties in Germany and Spain the most serious obstacles to Turkish admission.
On the Difference Between a Union and an Alliance
5. (C) Patten also said he felt at times the US does not fully appreciate the difference between expanding an alliance like NATO, and a Union like the EU. When a country joins an alliance, it becomes a distinct member of a group committed to a common cause – but nothing more. When countries join the EU, they become part of the whole, formally and practically indistinct in many areas of EU competence. “We have to be ready to trust their food and sanitation standards, for instance.” In this regard, he noted that some of the accession countries were foisted on the EU as part of a larger bargain. Cyprus, for instance, probably should not have been admitted (as Papadapolous’ behavior prior to the referendum indicated), but the Greeks insisted on Cypriot admission as the price of agreeing to some of the northern European candidates. Croatia, Patten said, is probably far more prepared for EU membership than either Bulgaria or Romania, who will likely enter the Union earlier. Romania, in particular, was a “feral nation.”