OPINION

A battleground for the Union

If Turkey’s refusal to recognize Cyprus was a minor irritant for the European Union last December, it now constitutes the battleground for two diverging outlooks regarding the very nature of the EU. The French and Dutch rejection of the European Constitution in June sparked debate on Turkey’s EU accession. British Prime Minister Tony Blair may have exploited French President Jacques Chirac’s loss of face at the previous EU summit and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s dwindling popularity, but such tactics are not capable of subverting the fundamental balance of power in the EU. When Blair addressed the European Parliament following the UK’s assumption of the EU presidency, he chose his words carefully, seeking to undermine, not promote, the bloc’s unification. We must not forget that Britain’s basic aim in joining the EU was not to be left out. And London’s aim now is to ensure that the EU does not progress beyond loose intergovernmental cooperation. Indeed, the UK opposes European unity. And, in cooperation with Washington, it has become an agent for Turkey’s accession. The surprising thing is how easily EU member states opened the road to Turkey as a potential member. Now, fearful about the consequences of such a move, they are using the issue of Cyprus’s recognition as a way to delay the whole process.