OPINION

The unbridled expansion of the EU

With the exception of British Foreign Minister Jack Straw and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, who were holding hands at this week’s press conference in Luxembourg, no one appeared to be enjoying the «historic» ceremony. Indeed, most of them seemed overwhelmed by Turkey’s harsh bargaining and by the succession of alterations to the framework document. Both French President Jacques Chirac and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stressed that Turkey’s EU accession was not guaranteed. But European member states were suddenly faced with the prospect of also welcoming Croatia into the club; Zagreb is expected to finish its accession talks in January 2009, well ahead of Turkey. If only the buck stopped there. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is expecting a response to its EU bid next month. Meanwhile, the EC has agreed to exploratory talks with Serbia and Montenegro. Albania is to submit its bid at the end of the year and will likely be followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina. Years ago, debate about the future of the EU centered on the union acquiring depth – political, social and cultural identity – before breadth, namely expansion to include different countries. But things developed rather differently, and now the citizens of the EU do not have a vision, constitution or budget…