NEWS

Protection from ‘negative’ globalization

The EU’s political integration has been postponed following the French referendum that rejected the Constitution. Does France have specific ideas about how to overcome the crisis? We will have to reconsider what was a mistaken idea from the outset – Europe is not at a stalemate. It continues to function and progress on its way. The agreement on the budget for 2007-2013, the drafting of a European energy policy and the decisions in March regarding research and innovations are just some examples. Nevertheless people are concerned about the way Europe is proceeding. The EU has a duty to provide answers. That is the meaning of the «Europe of programs» that we support, a Europe that is more effective and more specific about its major priorities. As for the Constitutional Treaty, the June summit will be making an initial evaluation of the reflection period. The EU’s institutional functioning has to be improved. France presented its proposals at the end of April, in the form of a search for improvements within the framework of existing conditions. That is a first step, which will not dictate the future of the Constitutional Treaty since we will need renewed institutions. Nevertheless we can proceed with improvements as of now, for example in the realm of security or foreign policy. We can at least make decisions or set directions at the European Council so as to organize the work that needs to be done over the next few months. The fact that the vast majority of French people rejected the Constitutional Treaty has been widely interpreted as a rejection of neo-liberalism. What does that mean for the EU’s social dimension? The results of the May 29 referendum showed the French people’s sensitivity to that social dimension. The French, and perhaps many Europeans, feel that Europe is not protecting them enough against certain negative effects of globalization. Our economies need to be competitive and create jobs, but at the same time they have to do that with respect for solidarity between Europeans and between member states. That spirit of solidarity is what prevailed in the December accord on the 2007-2013 budget. It was an agreement that allows the funding of certain member states so they they may catch up on the economic level as well as to support the harmonious development of the regions. What is happening with the reforms necessary for Turkey’s EU accession and the behavior of the Erdogan government, particularly on the Kurdish issue and on Cyprus? Turkey has already begun to make important reforms and will continue with them within the framework of its accession talks, particularly with regard to human rights, freedom of expression, equality for women and cultural freedoms. With regard to the Kurdish question and the resumption of violence in southeastern Turkey, we express our sorrow for the victims of that violence and condemn every kind of terrorism. We ask that a political, peaceful solution be found. Positive steps have been made, such as the legalization of Kurdish language broadcasts. However, we hope that the action plan for southeastern Turkey announced by the Turkish prime minister – who recognizes the existence of a Kurdish problem – will be presented soon. As for Cyprus, the beginning of accession talks (with Turkey) was made possible thanks to the signing by Turkey of the extension to the Ankara protocol to cover all new member states, including the Cyprus Republic. Nevertheless, the unilateral Turkish proclamation that its signature does not signify recognition of the Cyprus Republic, has led the European Union – and here France and Greece cooperated actively – to reconfirm the need for Turkey to fully implement the protocol, particularly regarding the opening up of Turkish ports and airports. Turkey has to normalize relations with the Cyprus Republic as soon as possible, since recognition of all member states is an important part of the accession process. We hope that Turkey will realize that it has an interest in taking steps in this direction in view of the appointment it has to keep at the end of 2006. We support a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations.