EU and Turkey - A Tug of War until the very End

Posted in Europe | 01-Oct-05 | Author: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Andrea K Riemer

Dr. Andrea Riemer is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Defense Academy: "Turkey would have to accept European rules"
Dr. Andrea Riemer is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Defense Academy: "Turkey would have to accept European rules"
“This is a truly historic day for Europe and for the whole of the international community," British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Monday late at night. Clocks were symbolically stopped to make the decade lasting dream true: Turkey will start membership negotiations with the European Union. Whether this will be a true turning point, as Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül mentioned in a first reaction, remains to be seen.

The prologue was based on a screenplay with all dramatic elements. Ministers meetings until the very end, renewed requests to be fulfilled and uneasiness among many European states because of peoples’ resistance and of overstretch fears. EU and Turkey have been in a tug of war until the very last moment before the magic date of October 3, 2005.

It took 42 years to reach this target. The months and weeks before October 3, 2005 were full of ups and downs, steps forwards and backlashes. Until some days ago the negotiation mandate was undecided. Threats and counter threats passed along the road to Brussels.

Great power behavior within the EU performed by the Brits who run the presidency the EU until the end of the year, and by an France, who finally gave in, a number of medium and smaller European countries who were either silent or were not heard or simply put their cards far too late on the diplomatic negotiation table. This is Europe – and one has to be very thoughtful whether this is a promise or a threat. Turkey, finally, came into the center of these policies – and it added a lot to the current situation. Stressing strategic considerations without having a strategy which goes beyond paper is a rather peculiar way of doing business.

Those final steps to an unclear goal provide a dim picture of a dubious European mélange – something which should make a member-to-be suspicious. This suspicion is not a one-way, but of mutual perception – and it will certainly mold the hold process of approaching each other, no matter what the final result will be.

The road to negotiations – a long and winding thing

The road to start negotiations was a long and winding road. It was full of mistakes, of mutual black mailings, of unclear requests and evaluations, of wrong assumptions.

The blackmailing procedure during the ratification of the customs union in December 1995 (by Turks and Greeks), EU’s fear that Necemettin Erbakan will win the Parliamentary elections and an Islamistic government will rule Turkey, and the decision to start membership talks with Cyprus as a quid-pro-quo for a positive Greek stance in the ratification process of the customs union with Turkey by the European Parliament laid the basis for the current situation.

Now the blind date really starts despite continuing opposition in parts of the EU to full Turkish membership.

The December 17, 2004-decision to start negotiations was the peak of a number of wrong strategic decisions the EU in the past 10 years. Despite the fact, the negotiations will be done “with an open result”, doubts increased considerably since last year. At the very moment, all issues should have been brought into discussion. But the Council decision was unanimous – everything which was raised later on never had a chance to be considered as a serious objection.

The text reads as follows: “The European Council recalled its previous conclusions regarding Turkey, in which, at Helsinki, it agreed that Turkey was a candidate State destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to the other candidate States and, subsequently, concluded that, if it were to decide at its December 2004 meeting, on the basis of a report and recommendation from the Commission, that Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria, the European Union will open accession negotiations with Turkey without delay.” (Presidency Conclusions – Brussels, 16/17 December 2004).

Grave doubts about Turkish membership were fostered when many voters in France and the Netherlands cited fears about Turkey as a contributing factor in their decision to reject the EU constitution. Many people's concerns focus on its large, low-income population and a possible surge of EU-domestic migration, thereby undermining the damaging EU-job market. Others insist that the EU is a club for Christian countries, or argue that much of Turkey is geographically in Asia, despite its Western-looking political leadership.

Turkey, nevertheless, kept on being active in the spirit of starting negotiations in October 2005. On June 1st, the new penalty code went into action.

Presenting the negotiating framework on June 29, 2005 in Brussels, Commissioner Rehn said: “It is in Europe’s interest to have a stable, democratic, prosperous Turkey that adopts and implements all EU values, policies and standards. The opening of the accession negotiations is recognition of the reforms already achieved in Turkey. It gives this country a chance to demonstrate, through a fair and rigorous negotiation process, whether it is able to meet fully all the criteria required to join the EU. But we all know that it will be a long and difficult journey and we have to take into account the concerns of citizens.” It was a perfect summer action, since it was hardly commented. On the other, some governments all of a sudden woke up since they realized that “D-Day” has come very close.

On July 29, Turkey signed a customs agreement with all member states but refused to allow Cyprus to use its ports or airports. Turkey has renewed its refusal to recognize the Cypriot government, which in effect rules only the Greek Cypriot part of the island, while Turkish Cypriots remain under a separate administration which is not recognized by any state, except Turkey. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn mentioned several times before October 3, that the full implementation of the customs pact was “clearly a red line for the EU and is not a matter of negotiation”. Rehn was among the group who protests, warns but finally does not dare to set actions. Finally, he had to give in and walk along the “European line”.

The final EU-reply to Turkey’s addendum to the customs union declaration was not convincing at all. The past 6 weeks were filled with numerous negotiations and COREPERS (i. e. meetings of the EU-ambassadors) and Foreign Ministers meetings. Doubts, objections, delays, no results coined those days. Finally, half-hearted results came out (“the recognition of Cyprus is a necessary part of the negotiation process”). The British presidency tried to iron out the dispute, but could not iron out many reservations.

Suggestions for some alternative partnership status, rather than full membership, have been led by German opposition leader Angela Merkel. She argued that a “privileged partnership” status should be among the alternatives put under discussion when the talks start in Luxembourg on 3 October. Merkel did not win the German elections in a manner which she would have needed to push the issue through. Germany was not of help for the opposing party of a Turkish EU-membership. Additionally, the box with the label “privileged partnership” was never really filled with contents. For reason, no serious discussion ever took place. It was never an option, but mainly a protesters’ attitude. Germany was out of the game of opponents.

The few protesters are simply too small and too few. At the end, only Austria remained in opposition to a Turkish membership. Diplomatic steps and formulations were bargaining chips in those final days before October 3.

Nothing was changed by the EU-Parliament a few days before the start of negotiations not to ratify the additional protocol on the expansion of the customs union. On the contrary, the non-ratification will weaken EU’s position towards Turkey, since the Union will not have pressure tools in its hands. The Parliament voted in a legally not binding resolution for a start of negotiations with Turkey – despite numerous critical remarks on the Armenian questions, on restrictions of the freedom of opinion and on Cyprus. German conservatives launched a motion regarding the contents and specification of the negotiation mandate. They asked to integrate an alternative (such as a privileged partnership) to a full membership, but failed to gain the necessary support.

Protests finally remained shallow words, particularly when it became clear that Austria performed linkage-politics.

Turkey and EU - different perspectives ?
Turkey and EU - different perspectives ?
Austria’s role during the final steps and the ‘absorption clause’

Austria’s position sharpened after the failed referenda in France and The Netherlands in spring 2005. Additionally, the atmosphere towards a Turkish EU-membership became more and more rejective in the past year. There was hardly one top Austrian politician who could afford to be pro-membership of Turkey. Austria has been among the most skeptical countries in Europe about advantages of admitting Turkey to the Union. It is not alone, because there is widespread skepticism in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

During the final days before the decision, Austria remained the only opposing country among the 25. Ursula Plassnik, Austrian foreign minister, made clear her country's objections to Turkey's entry by suggesting that Ankara should be given a subsidiary relationship to the EU that stopped short of full membership. This suggestion was turned down several times.

“While negotiations may lead to full membership in the future, such negotiations cannot at this stage exclusively aim at full membership. They must include alternative or interim solutions should the Union not have the capacity to absorb new members or Turkey not meet all membership criteria,” Plassnik said in a letter sent to other EU foreign ministers and made available by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

However, Wolfgang Schüssel, Austrian Chancellor, struck a more open stance in newspaper interviews saying Austria was not opposed to talks because entry could be 20 years or more away. If Turkey does not fulfill the criteria, then Turkey should be bound in Europe by the strongest possible bond and if the union cannot absorb Turkey, then we are also looking for the strongest possible alternative bond," Schüssel said in an interview with the International Herald Tribune on September 29.

Austria had become isolated in Europe, but Chancellor Schüssel insisted that the current holder of the EU presidency, Britain (which has been a traditionally strong supporter of Turkey's bid to join the EU), has to come up with conditions that satisfied all 25 members. A decision to start talks needs the unanimous approval of all EU member states.

Schüssel refused to go so far as saying that Austria would veto the start of negotiations. This suggested Austria might agree to some compromise wording in the negotiating framework that pleases its objections.

Austria’s position has to be read in an additional context, despite it never spelled this context out explicitly. Austria is one of the strongest supporters of Croatia’s membership bid. Some commentators argued that Austria was purely maneuvering and play linkage politics. It would be hard for Austria to accept Turkey, but not Croatia which is a neighboring country and has traditional relations with Austria (Schüssel's conservatives strongly supported the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991). Austria argues that starting talks with Croatia would be a strong symbol for the other Balkan states which are queuing up to enter EU. However, other EU countries mentioned that it would be unfair to start talks with Croatia while continuing to ostracize Serbia for the same refusal to hand over indicted war crimes suspects to the UN tribunal in The Hague.

Austria's position reflects a complex network of reasons. There are deep anxieties of a flooded job market by immigrant workers – this is understandable, since not only the Austrian job market but the whole European job market is currently very tightened. Additionally, the question of costs is still not answered in a clear and transparent way. As well as precise mention of a different possible status for Turkey in the negotiating framework for the talks, Austria wants the documents to spell out clearly that all countries in the EU must share the financial burden if Turkey joins, too. One of the main issues for Austrians' objections is the possible comprehensive financial support to Turkey, where living standards are below those in Europe. Additionally the unsettled funding of Turkey's agricultural sector was a reason to object Turkey’s wishes.

It was hard for Austria not to agree to the opening of talks without any conditions, particularly since other objecting countries such as France and Cyprus had put their arguments aside and agreed to take the next step. Nevertheless, Austria spoke out what other countries think, but for whatever reason do not explicitly put on the diplomatic table – despite its linkage policy and the very late reaction to the situation. In fact, it was a “diplomatic minimizing of damages”.

In a speech which gave Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, recently, he said that it would be a “betrayal” of Turkey if Europe did not open membership talks on October 3. "Turkey would lose from a no decision, but Europe and its people would lose even more," he remarked. "Anchor Turkey in the West and we gain a beacon of democracy and modernity, a country with a Muslim majority, which will be a shining example across the whole of its neighboring region," he continued. The British praise for Turkey is not new, since Great Britain obviously has a different strategic agenda as compared to other EU-members.

Finally, objections have been cut down to formalization issues and to the funding question. Many objections were laid out on the table, but the situation was that much twisted and twinned that there seemed to be almost no way out until the very last moment.

One issue hardly discussed is the legal background of an “alternative solution”. Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union as well as article I-57(2) of the Constitutional Treaty that deals with the issue of enlargement discusses only the accession path. On this legal basis, accession negotiations can only be conducted on the modalities of accession and not on the basis of alternative schemes.

What may be possible would be modalities of accession that fall short of full membership, i.e. a special kind of EU membership with “opting-out” clauses, as has been the case during the past development of the EU with respect to certain issue areas with certain member states.

Finally, Austria gave in on formulations, which sharpened the text, but did not change anything on the main contents. This issue might have negative consequences for the Austrian government and their ability to act during the coming presidency. Everything will depend how clever the solution will be sold in the public.

Turkey’s position: No additional requests anymore

Turkey has been dreaming of a full membership since more than 40 years. After years of disappointment and backslashes it has never been that close as it is now. It is on the door step to EU. At least the important step of negotiations will be done (even it will be delayed for the one or the other day).

October 3, 2005 will be considered as a date of historic importance: A Muslim country at the brink to become truly European – at least on the paper.

The current mood towards EU in Turkey has been weakened recently. Numerous anti-EU demonstrations are a proof of the changed mood. Nerve-tearing new conditions, the struggle for Cyprus, the unknown conditions of a “privileged partnership” etc. have dampened even EU-enthusiasts. The mood among politicians and the people is dim. Disillusion and exhaustion mark the start of negotiations. Only few believe in successful talks which will, in some years, end in a full membership.

Ordinary people have had their doubts for years. Within one year support for the EU-project declined from 73 % to 63 %. Turks have become disappointed. The EU-mood changed considerably since D-day approaches. The most important reason for the change in atmosphere is the referendum on the European Constitution. Turks were very disappointed about the results in France and in The Netherlands. Some Turkish observers argued that some European governments were looking for means to turn the Turkish bid down. This gave way to Turkish nationalists who have an experience of a considerable high in the past few months. There is a growing “enough-is-enough mood” between the Bosporus and Ararat. If Prime Minister Erdogan would have withdrawn the bid he could have counted on considerable support within Turkey.

This mood has spread from ordinary people to intellectuals and high-calibre politicians. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül mentioned several times that his country would not accept additional conditions. Some European diplomats argue that “one can forget the membership”, since it will be impossible to find a solid way of explaining it to the people. Probably, October 3 will be the beginning of the end, and not the end of the beginning.

Still the EU-depression is not the leading factor of Turkey’s policy. Prime Minister Erdogan linked his political destiny with a successful EU-membership bid. For reason, Erdogan desperately tried to save the situation – a manifold squaring the circle with numerous pitfalls. Top representatives of enterprises, many newspapers and television station and members of the intellectual elites are pro-Europeans. Additionally, this group received support from a new element in Turkish society. It covers the newly emerging civil society, women groups, labor unions and minority leaders (such as Kurdish and Christian representatives). These groups have to be eager that Turkey will enter EU since its survival is directly linked to European standards. EU-membership would pressurize Turkish officials to stick to EU-standards. Democratization, plurality, freedom of expression and minority rights have been stimulated by the pre-process of integration. Full membership will be a comprehensive guarantee that the course of open-mindedness would be continued and improved. Europe is a catalyst for continued change and reform. Europe is seen as the guarantee power for comprehensive freedom.

Turkey will enter the doorstep to EU with very mixed and vexed feelings. It will encounter a host in bad mood. They cannot tell the visitor to leave the house and they cannot ask him or her to stay in the garden. Turkey knocked the door to enter the European house and it hoped that this door will be opened on October 3. Hopes were fulfilled – results remain to be seen.

Strategic implications on the negotiation road

Despite the fact the negotiations will start, a number of crucial questions will re-emerge, since they have not been answered yet. It is not a “love it, or leave it” issue, but has to be seen in a larger context. One must not assume that discussion on Turkey will fade away. Both parties are tied closely together and will have to deal with each other, be it in EU or be it in other international institutions, such as NATO. It seems possible that NATO might become a “revenge area” for Turkey.

  • Is Turkey still a cultural wedge?

  • Will societal tensions turn out as an additional hurdle?

  • Can Turkey be a role-model for “Euro-Islam”?

  • How will Turkey’s demographic change affect the rest of Europe?

  • Will the military remain silent or will it become a pivot?

  • How will the much-discussed Cyprus and the Aegean questions be settled, if they can be settled?

  • Will the Common Policies be jeopardized?

  • Will the EU be able to digest newly incoming members? How will the internal procedures be affected?

  • Will new regional power blocks emerge?

  • Who will finance another enlargement?

  • How will the European peoples react?

... And there are many more questions which will pop up during the negotiations and force the negotiation teams to face certain realities.

EU and Turkey - do they fit together ?
EU and Turkey - do they fit together ?
Turkey – a cultural wedge in Europe?

Cultural issues will more and more form a basis for difficult and vexed discussions, since migration and globalization will continue. Particularly in the aftermath of failed membership talks nationalism will grow and the “cultural debate” will gain currency again. The nightmare of a “Christian club mentality” will be discussed on and on. This emotionalized discussion will veil the fact that Turkish secularizism was an elite project launched by Atatürk, but was never fully received and absorbed in the country side. Islam was heavily state-controlled and marginalized. In the past few decades a slow but steady reemergence of Islam onto the political, social and economic stage happened. The current AKP-government is one expression of this trend. Some commentators argue that a comprehensive Islamization of Turkish society took place since 2002. This is shortsighted, since hidden Islamization has taken place in the past 30 years. The AKP-government is more outspoken and does not use Kemalism as a blanket. Turkey has a number of democratic elements, but has a different democratic history and culture. For reason, it is sometime difficult to come to terms with the classical European standards.

Societal tensions as an additional hurdle?

Turkish national psyche is molded by two desires: first by the acquisition of benefits of Western democracy, power, economic success, and modernization; second by periodic suspicion of manipulation by the West. The Luxembourg decision will be consider as a national disaster. Every Turk will consider it a personal offense. Turkish nationalism has gained considerable ground in the past year. It fights with modern and enlightened attitudes and Westernization – more than ever, because situation regarding to full membership has become serious. Nationalism covers lacks self-consciousness and “helps” to ameliorate the collective inferiority complex of Turkish society. Turkish full membership has become a matter of honor – despite or probably because of many humiliations Turkey suffered in the European context.

Can Turkey be a role-model for “Euro-Islam”?

Another issue of concern is the “strategic argument”: Certainly the answer whether Turkey marks a strategic contribution or not, may be given in a mixed manner. First of all, one has to accept that the strategic environment has changed in the past five years. The destabilized Middle East, the North-African rim, the volatile Caucasus are touching areas for Turkey, and consequently for EU. It remains open whether Turkey would contribute to a security enhancement in the Mediterranean. Additionally, it is based on wrong assumptions that Turkey could play a role-model for the development of a “Euro-Islam”. Certainly, it is a signal EU gives to the Muslim world by not accepting Turkey as a full member. One should not exaggerate this signal, simply because of the particular role Turkey plays in the Islam world in general and in the Arab world in particular. In Arab states Turkey will not be accepted as an example of democracy – history stands against Turkey.

Demographic change from Turkey to the rest of Europe?

Demographic developments, particularly the constant increase in population and the youth bulge are already considered as problematic. Turkey has the highest average population growth rate in the region. Currently, the overall population is 67 Mio people. These developments are connected to increased social tensions and a possibly growing inclination to support religiously based groups. In case of a Turkish full membership, the net payers would have to take over a large proportion of those subsidies to introduce Turkey to European average standards and to support an adjustment of Turkish society.

The military as a pivot?

The role of the military is not compatible with European standards – despite the fact that its impact on daily politics has been reduced remarkably in the past few years. The paradox is that the military seems to be a certain guarantee for the existence of Turkey. It is highly respected and an uncorrupted institution. It considers itself as the guarantor for secularism – particularly in a period of a hidden re-Islamization of the Turkish society. One may consider the military aspect as an anti-democratic aspect (as many European politicians do) – despite the stabilizing role of the Turkish military. Certainly numerous improvements were made – hopefully Turkey will not suffer setbacks in case the full membership negotiations will fail or will not bring the expected results.

Cyprus and the Aegean questions – more than ever a divide between Greece and Turkey and Turkey and Europe?

The Cyprus question has not been settled, but even worse – it has been made the bargaining chip for membership negotiations. Cyprus has turned out already as the key obstacle between EU and Turkey, as the additional protocol issue demonstrated. Additionally, EU has given all pressuring options towards Turkey out of hand by deciding not to act against Turkey despite the addendum to the extension of the protocol regarding the Customs Union. Speaking bluntly, Turkey could violate EU-standards before it will be member – and nothing happened. Declarations and a refusal to ratify the decision in the EU Parliament remained weak and shallow reactions. The EU was made unable to act – it was its own fault.

The Aegean questions (territorial waters, continental shelf) are still unsettled. So far, no progress has been made in the substantial questions. A whole package of problems has been brought in as the bride’s gift – a highly dubious gift.

Commentators remarked that keeping Turkey out would diminish chances to solve the two key issues and keep the Southeastern flank vulnerable. On the other hand Turkey did not make use of the possibilities to settle the two disputes in the past few months. On the contrary, Cyprus is far from a solution and the Aegean questions have been put into a drawer. Both issues could have been settled – who forgot them?

Common Policies under jeopardy?

The ESDP and the GASP would be strongly affected a Turkish full membership. Turkey would move Europe towards the Middle East and the Caucasus. The EU’s periphery would be close to numerous open-end hot spots. After the disaster in Iraq and the continuous instability of the region EU will not be able to withdraw from the status of a front state in the region. Turkey will never be the bridge, expect a bridge to abyss.

Additionally Turkey will require more influence and decision-making weight within the ESDP and GASP (as already required within the Berlin Plus Agreement). A Turkish full membership would foster the failure of European key goals, such as the Lisbon Goal and Headline Goals 2010 plus it would drag EU into increased internal debates and troubles. Turkey could even paralyze EU, which is already more or less incapable of doing strategic planning and targeting.

Decision making – a mission impossible?

The latest enlargement round brought the Union already into an overstretch situation. Recent decisions clear point into that direction. Any further enlargement, no matter with or without Turkey, would prevent Europe from starting to shape its position as a strategic player. Internal decision making procedures within the EU will be strongly affected. As a consequence of the latest enlargement round, power shifts to the advantage of the cohesion countries will take place. Some EU-members will have to pay without relative say. Certainly, they will not accept this.

Meeting economic standards or fiddling the figures?

The increasing economic heterogeneity poses comprehensive challenges to the Union. The inner coherence and the coordination of its policies will become more and more difficult – as clearly demonstrated not only in the case of Turkey. Economic and social incoherence has already increased due to the latest enlargement round. Decision making procedures have been delayed and became much more difficult. EU has become a cumbersome super-tanker – without a real captain and without a real vision. Such entities do not comply with the standards and requirements of the current international order. Turkey certainly would not add a contribution which could turn the situation around.

The integration in the currency union will be a years lasting process and should better take longer. The Turkish currency has always been weak due to economic calamities (despite new regulations since the beginning of 2005). Additionally, the presented figures on economic affairs raise a number of questions. Finally, the Union’s members have to ask themselves whether they want to finance an economic system, which obviously is rather corrupt and shows no serious tendency to amend this weakness.

What could be done to collect the debris?

October 3 will enter into history books since Turkey’s efforts to enter EU were successful. It is at the door step to Europe. Old ghosts of a Turkish siege should not be revived. This is history. The same is valid for crusader stories (as could be read in some editorials). What should be take more into account are feelings and perceptions of Europeans. It is their right to be asked, simply because a large junk of them has to pay for another enlargement – and this junk has to be in position to do this. Given the current conditions this is more than questionable. Probably the Austrians dared to raise this issue (despite the obvious linkage policy they played) and are now a scapegoat. Certainly, it is a delicate combination before the backdrop of history, but it should not be estimated in a wrong way.

Negotiations with Turkey are certainly not “business-as-usual”. The acquis communautaire and Turkey’s ability to apply it at the moment of entry into the EU will not be the only issues to be overcome. Turkey’s entry is not just an entry, but it has to enter as a true European state and society. For reason, the political and societal dimension must have stronger impact on the contents of the negotiation mandate as compared to other cases. The acquis communautaire could be one yardstick, but certainly not the only one. Particularly the adoption of the acquis required thorough observation and evaluation with enormous rigour. It must not be a technical procedure, but has to be based on facts and contents. Additionally, particular emphasis has to be put on the Copenhagen criteria. Currently, Turkey does not fulfil the criteria – despite opposite claims from Turkey and some EU member states. The capability to absorb new members has to be checked on and on. It should be a parallel process to negotiations. With regard to democratize Turkish society a lot of work is still not done and will be difficult to be done. It is not the fulfilment of single measures, but it is the reception of the European spirit within European standards which is still far away from being implemented in Turkish society, in the public and official mindset. Turkey must be aware, that its bid has come under far more critical observation within the European public than other bids. This may be considered as double standards, but it has to be accepted as engraved in EU-Turkish relations, instead of neglecting this fact. Turkey would have to accept European rules and standards as fast as possible instead of critizing them and feeling insulting.

The agenda for the time after October 3 is the following one:

  • Set a clear grid of requests for Turkey and clear procedures in terms of landmarks and concrete contents.

  • Fix who has to fulfill what by when and how it will be possible to check the sustainability of measures and steps undertaken by Turkey.

  • Let Turkey prove that it fulfills the EU-standards; turn the tables and make Turkey responsible for results and implementation. Let them prove that they really implement reforms.

  • Negotiate tough, but fair - don’t keep the Turks at arm’s length. This would undermine EU’s position and reputations.

  • Keep the US out of the negotiations. This is a signal of weakness on both sides, Europe and Turkey.

  • If a fixed key threshold target will not be fulfilled by Turkey, interrupt and even stop negotiations.

  • Tell Turkey in time, if the EU cannot continue negotiations and don’t get dragged into purely emotional debates and struggles.

  • Put the assessment on the status of negotiations and the absorption capability on transparent grounds.

  • Tell the European citizens the truth about a further enlargement which will possibly include Turkey; be honest in terms of economic, political, security consequences, and costs for each European citizen.

  • Formulate opting-out solutions to keep the whole undertaking alive.

  • Have serious alternative options on your mind if negotiations will fail. Fill the “strategic partnership”-option in time with live. Do not wait until the very last moments and remain with empty hands.