The enlargement of the European Union is considered to be the process of expanding by the way of allowing new member states in. The EU’s expanse is fairly discussible issue with various antagonistic approaches. The current research is conceived to investigate the genuine benefits of the EU’s enlargement in order to substantiate Turkey’s endeavors towards the integration with the EU. Therefore, the research paper consists of several parts. The first section is dedicated to introductory points implying the basic benefits proclaimed by the EU in respect of its enlargement. The second section comprises both the elaboration of the thesis statement and depiction of the major principles which are taken into consideration by the EU while deciding on the further expanse. The third section is utterly dedicated to the specifics of Turkey as a potential member. In this connection, a special emphasis is laid upon Turkey’s strokes towards fulfilling the membership requirements. The fourth section contains generalization of the previously narrated material and a conclusion.
The principle’s benefits of the aforesaid expansion have already been determined by the European Union itself. According to the European Commission (2002), the basic arguments towards the political, economic and cultural advantages of enlarging the European Union should be outlined as follows:
- The widening of the zone of peace, stability and prosperity in Europe may augment the security of all nations. The more European nations join the Union, the more geographical territory will be secured and safeguarded.
- Supplementary millions of people, in swiftly increasing economies, to the EU’s market may both encourage the economical growth and ensure the employment in the territory of the Union.
- The quality of life for citizens throughout Europe may become better when the new member-states implement EU rights and regulations “for the protection of the environment and the fight against crime, drugs and illegal immigration” (The EC, 2002).
- The entrance of new members is considered to aggrandize the EU by means of the cultural diversity, interplay of ideas and better display of other nations.
- The EU’s expansion is deemed to intensify the Union’s role in the world arena that regards foreign and security policy, trade and the issues of global governance.
I am disposed to think that there are already visible benefits of entrance which may be enumerated as follows: 1) – in Central and Eastern Europe, firm democratic institutions which accentuate on high respect for minorities have been established; 2) – high rates of economic development and better employment expectations have been attained due to the economic reforms; 3) – the trade between the EU and the new members leading to employment and economic growth has been augmented (The EC, 2002). In summary, it should be asserted that the European Commission has recognized a wide range of reciprocal benefits which may only be achieved through the enlarging.
General Principles of the EU’s Expansion
Furthermore, I find it necessary to ascertain that the provisions of the Treaty of Rome, the SEA directive and the Maastricht Treaty have adopted the most significant tenets regarding a state wishing to join the EU (Ingham & Ingham, 2003, p. 10). The aforementioned standards should be outlined as follows:
- A firm pluralist democracy coupled with the respect of human rights and the protection of minorities committed to the rule of law.
- A well-developed and highly-functioning market economy.
- A capability to withstand the competitive pressures and market forces within the EU.
- Disposition towards the achieving the objective of political, economic and monetary union and fulfilling the obligations of membership, the “acquis communautaire”in particular.
- Also, it is incumbent on the state to accept the free circulation of goods, services, capital and labor;
- The Common Agricultural Policy as an integral part of a member’s agricultural policy.
- The competition policy rules; fiscal harmonization, and promotion of responsibility in respect of developing countries.
Also, in order to clarify the attractiveness of Turkey as a potential candidate for joining the EU, the motivations, conditions and instruments for the EU’s enlargement need to be investigated. In this connection, I deem it my duty to remind that the EU has supported the policy of restraint in respect of Turkey until the Helsinki Summit of 1999 (Arikan, 2006, p. 9). Also, it should be noticed that the EU has conducted a fairly different approach towards Turkey. According to the author, one of the factors which might be responsible for such attitude is Turkey’s size and geographical location (Arikan, 2006, p. 9). Hence, Turkey is considered potent to make an unfavorable influence on the EU’s cost and hazards connected with its membership. However, a cost/benefit basis should not be solely taken into account while examining EU-Turkey relationships. I would like to disclose the interconnection between the EU and Turkey through a comparison with other potential members. Thence, Harun Arikan (2006) suggests analyzing the norms established exclusively for the enlargement of the EU in order to assess compatibility of the EU’s policy towards Turkey with such norms (p. 10).
In view of the above, the investigation should be divided into three reciprocal stages: 1) – a universal framework for apprehending the enlargement; 2) – a framework for understanding the specifics of the Turkish case; 3) – a framework for comparing the EU’s attitude in respect of Turkey with that towards other applicant countries and recent members.
In the context of general principles of the EU’s expansion, it seems reasonable to reflect on the incentives which motivate the EU to conduct the policy of enlargement. Such advantages have already been outlined by the European Commission. They include commercial opportunities for the internal market, diversification of labor market, intensification of the economic growth, promotion of cleaner environment, augmentation of democratic institutions etc. However, some politicians express confidence that little efforts are made towards explaining the advantages of integrating the countries into the European Union notwithstanding the significance of such integration (European Union Committee of the British Parliament, 2006, p. 41).
Apart from the above, the impacts of the EU’s enlargement on the European labor market should be interpreted as well. In this connection, every new membership in the EU breaks down many trade barriers and provides new opportunities for international business operations stimulated by the low costs, taxes and resources (Ammon, 2010, p. 3). Moreover, it should be noted that the intensified international trade affects both the household and consumption of goods resulting in higher wages and more advanced standards of living.
Also, more liberalized trade gives birth to lower prices and thus to an enhanced consumption when the cheaper foreign goods substitute the more expensive domestic ones (Ammon, 2010, p. 8). In addition to the aforementioned arguments, it should be ascertained that the expansion of the EU may facilitate such forms of business internationalization as export, direct investments, alliances, licensing and franchising (Ammon, 2010, p. 17).
The Specifics of the Turkish Case
As far as the Turkish case is concerned, it should be taken into consideration that the EU’s policy in respect of Turkey is chiefly motivated by political conditionality – “human rights and disputes with Greece” – rather than the issues of costs and hazards connected with Turkey’s membership (Arikan, 2006, p. 18). In order to evaluate the Turkish case the most noticeable motivations and interests of the EU in the contemporary enlargement policy should be detected. According to Arikan (2006), the next expansion of the EU will be driven by four main sectors: 1) - security preoccupations and considerations; 2) – the apprehended effect of democratization in the potential members; 3) – the foundation of political identity and history; 4) – economic motivation and interests (p. 19).
In the case of Turkey, the security grounds and considerations truly affect Turkey’s endeavors for EU membership. The EU is distinctly seen as a political union with sufficient instruments and objectives directed towards diminishing the risks and costs connected with the political, economic and social instability. However, the European Union does not involve Turkey in its security consideration, despite the fact that Turkey encounters the same security challenges.
According to Volker Kupper (2009), it is possible to determine three types of approaches to the Turkish case. The first approach represents the views of the European Commission. The second approach depicts the attitudes of various member states. The third approach reflects opinions of the Turkish authorities.
As far as the EU’s approach is concerned, it should be claimed that the European Commission states that Turkey has gradually fulfilled the requirements of membership, but still needs augmentations in important domains (Kupper, 2009, p. 8). The aforementioned enhancements concern the area of anti-corruption policies and the increasing responsibility of authorities. Moreover, the EU has proclaimed that the newly elected parliament represents the country’s political diversity and the new government is expected to maintain loyalty to “EU accession process and reforms” (“World leaders congratulate Turkey’s Erdogan”, 2011). Concerning the economic requirements, the European Commission expresses confidence that Turkey has already made the most significant steps for becoming a member of the EU (Kupper, 2009, p. 8). Turkey should be comprehended as a competitive market economy with tenable microeconomic stability. A GPD-growth in conjunction with tight fiscal policies and the potentiality to resist the competitive pressure have been acknowledged by the European Union. Likewise, a good development in the privatization sector, decrease of market entry and exit barriers has created favorable circumstances for foreign direct investments (Kupper, 2009, p. 9). In addition, it should be emphasized that the financial sector of Turkey is developing perfectly well after some disturbances in 2006. Also, some progress is achieved in the sphere of anti-laundering policy.
As far as the second approach is concerned, it should be outlined that various member-states have different attitude to the Turkish case. Some of them, for instance, Germany and France convict that Turkey is not a European country; therefore it is impossible to accept it as a member of the European Union. Other states, like Great Britain, claim Turkey has the stable economy which may contribute to the European one. One of the reasons why Germany and France are not supporting the Turkish integration into the European Union is that it will increase the migration of Turkish people to the big cities and increase the illegal migration from other Arabic countries through the Turkish borders. Another reason is that the EU is now facing the economic crisis which is a threat to the all zone of euro (Greece and Italy case) and the Turkey integration into the EU will result in even worse economic situation which is a threat to all EU member states. However, Great Britain fully supports Turkey in its attempt to become the EU member state because it will decrease the racial tension within the EU (there are a lot of Turkish and other Arabic nations immigrants in the EU), maintain the social and political stability and prove that the European Union can except as its member state each country that meets the EU requirements, despite the race and religion.
In the context of the third approach, it should be asserted that the government being a supporter of the integration has already started the full membership association.
After everything has been given due consideration, I deem it my duty to rebut the position implying that the EU does not have to enlarge. In this connection, I express confidence that the European Union do have to enlarge:
1) If you state that new enlargement will destabilize the EU, it is incumbent on me to clarify that the zone of peace, stability and prosperity in Europe will expand with more people secured in the frames of the EU.
2) It you assert that the economic potentialities of the EU will be depleted with new enlargement, I will disagree and counter-state that supplementary millions of Turkish will encourage the economic growth and employment in the territory of the European Union.
3) If you think the quality of life in the EU will become lower with new enlargement, I will protest and say that the quality of life will become better both in Turkey and in other member states because a more powerful fight against crime, drugs and illegal immigration will take place.
4) If you reassure me that the EU’s values will be harmed with new enlargement, it will be my duty to convict that the EU fundamentals will be aggrandized by means of a new cultural diversity, interplay of ideas and better display of other nations.
5) If you think that the EU’s power will disperse with the new enlargement, I will counterproof that the EU’s role in the world arena will be intensified because it will concern the foreign, security policy, trade regulations and issues of global governance not only in the fames of European continent but also at the threshold to Asia. Also, both the development of democratic institutions and respect of human rights will be affirmed in Turkey. A well-developed economy and highly-functioning market will be extended in Turkey. The free circulation of goods, services, labor and capital will occur in the vast territory of the EU.
In the final analysis, it is possible to draw a conclusion that the European Union should continue the enlargement in order to allow more states in. Furthermore, Turkey’s membership in the EU is an apparent favorability. However, to become a member state, Turkey will need a support of each member state of the EU. So, the main aim for Turkey is to persuade each member state of the European Union that it does meet all the EU requirements and will contribute to the EU economic growth.