Saturday, 10 December 2011

Britain moves away from Europe… and takes Turkey with it



The above video of Sarkozy snubbing Cameron and heading straight for a handshake and warm words from that stalwart European Dimitris Christofias made me laugh. Clearly, Britain, in France’s eyes, is less of a European entity than Cyprus! Not that Cameron did anything wrong vetoing the proposed fiscal union treaty and, albeit inadvertently, refusing to prop up Berlin’s vision of the continent’s economy that has it operating for the benefit of German exports while the rest of Europe is consigned to austerity and ‘discipline’. Still, what Cameron’s isolating of the UK in Europe – and the logic it has put in motion of Britain detaching itself altogether from the EU – does mean is that the UK position in Europe cultivated by Tony Blair, with the full backing of the Americans, of Britain leading an alliance of EU states from Scandinavia and ‘new’ Europe – in opposition to a Franco-German-led ‘old’ Europe – has been significantly weakened, and along with it the lobby for Turkey's EU accession, an accession that would have radically altered the balance of power in the EU, reversed the trend towards political integration and federation and elevated Britain (in alliance with Turkey) to a powerful leadership role on the continent.

It could be argued that Turkey’s EU accession wasn’t going anywhere anyway and that the diminished role of the UK in Europe will therefore make no difference; but what is increasingly clear is that Turkey’s EU aspirations are at death’s door. All of which raises a massive question for Greece (and Cyprus) since its policy since Simitis has been to actively support Turkey’s EU accession in the hope and expectation that this would neutralise the threat Turkey poses to Greece.

7 comments:

Lewis said...

Interesting, but you might be being premature predicting Britain's isolation. Another scenario is that the eurozone collapses and Britain is there to pick up the pieces and in a position to shape Europe according to its interests.

Anonymous said...

All the for the better. The EU is on the skids and taking down all the other nations which are corraled in it. Britain acted wisely, for once,in leaving this club of thieves and rogues on their own, but it did so for the the wrong reasons. As for Greece, the Greek political eunuchs in charge of the country from 1974 onwards , always nurtured the " fictitious insurance of the herd mentality ". One has to be vapid or a lobotomized atom, or else a veritable proditor to imagine that support for the inclusion of Turkey into the EU would have guaranteed " safety" for Greece. Safety from what ? military designs ?, immigration ? neo ottomanism ? With the turks inside the EU, it would spell the speedier end of the so called Union, and with it the " safety" of Greece. Greece will have to look after herself on her own vis a vis the turks. No help or assistance whatsoever is to be expected from abroad. Today Turkey is in fashion. The only power that can rein on them are the Israelis. As long as the turks are a useful cog in the Washington-Tel Aviv juggernaut they will be given carte blanche to do as they please. Look at the leaderless leadership of the EU and one can't stop getting bouts of nausea.

Hermes said...

I want to provide somewhat of a countervailing argument which I have seen partially put forward about the idea of “of the continent’s economy that has it operating for the benefit of German exports while the rest of Europe is consigned to austerity and ‘discipline’” i.e. German domination of Europe. Firstly, German policy has been dominated by Merkel and her allies. It is likely that the opposition will be in power shortly and they have quite a different vision of Europe, including less fiscal discipline, less austerity, more surplus recycling to the South, reflation of German economy and so on. The German Left is seething that German wages have remained subdued for so long. Generally, the Social Democrats and their allies have a more conciliatory approach towards the South. Secondly, France with its 65 million people, its Latin allies in Italy, Spain, Portugal and allies in Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the “Latin bloc” has demographic power over and above the “Protestant” Northern bloc of Germany, Netherlands, Austria etc. Remember, it is demography which rules in the EU and not GDP. France will move closer to these allies to counterbalance Germany. France would probably also prefer Britain out because Britain would not be able to counterbalance this Latin bloc against the Protestant North bloc. These latest Treaty changes may not last for long. Thirdly, over the long term France’s population may exceed Germany’s within 30 years, if we assume current demographic trends. Again, this will increase French power.

Essentially, do not write off French power yet and the French vision of Europe, which is also a vehicle for French power projection across the globe. As for Britain, hopefully they will be consigned to a third rate power quicker than what is already happening to them.

John Akritas said...

Point taken, H. And, of course, not only are there elections in Germany next year – that will likely spell the end of Merkel and usher in a red-green alliance; but Sarkozy also might lose to Hollande in April. Indeed, I heard on the radio this morning that Hollande wants to renegotiate the deal they came up with last Friday. Indeed, if Sarkozy and Merkel depart the scene next year – replaced by leftists – then Turkey's two most implacable foes are gone (the German Greens are, of course, led by a Turk) and Turkey's EU accession maybe back on the agenda – even if I still believe the Turkish system is simply incapable of transforming itself into a liberal democracy. As for the UK, I don't think the business elites are going to be too happy with the Tory nationalists undermining Britain's influence in the EU, preventing the UK from shaping the single market, so the elites over here are going to be slugging it out for a while.

Hermes said...

John, the second part of my post would have been to agree with your position that a less influential UK would be good for Hellenic interests. In response, to your above comment, I am not so sure Sarkozy will lose to Hollande which is likely to mean Turkey is still on the outer but Sarkozy does change his spots easily.

On a slightly different matter, I hear Erdogan disappeared for two weeks for an operation. Very weird.

John Akritas said...

Sex change? Either way, interesting to contemplate what a post-Erdogan Turkey will look like

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to both. The Europe needs neither countries.

Ted