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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, February 25, 2005

European Idealism

A recent speech by Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was brought to my attention via Vote No. In addition to the usual scaremongering about how we would instantly lose millions of jobs if we left the EU she included this priceless passage.

And I heard President Erdogan of Turkey describe his vision of a modern Turkey. Asked how he would respond in some future referendum on joining the EU to a sceptical Turkish citizen, he said: “I’d need to know more about why they were opposed. But then I would say: what is there to fear? We are all human, and we are all of value simply because we are human, whatever our religion or race.” What a contrast between the humanity and the idealism of these European leaders, their courage and commitment to the hard slog of economic reform – and the cynicism, the pettiness, the xenophobia of the anti-European movement in Britain.
Firstly, Erdogan would very much like to be President of Turkey, once he has changed the role of President to be a much stronger one. For the moment however he has to be content with the job of Prime Minister. That gaff aside, I know little about the other leaders she mentioned, but Prime Minister Erdogan is hardly what you would call an idealist. He is as hard nosed and cynical as they come. As far as I can see, Turkey's wish to join the EU is based on three things: 1) The prospect of large dollops of aid. 2) The ability to travel without the hated visas that everyone requires. 3) An inferiority complex that began back in Ottoman times. Turk's want to show the world that they are Europeans. Which one of these are to be filed under Humanity and Idealism? I suspect that the motivations of other new members and candidates are similar. On the subject of courage and commitment to the hard slog of economic reform, the current Turkish Government has backslid at every opportunity. Political reforms, of which there have been many important ones, should not be confused with economic reforms, where actions have been few and begrudgingly done due to pressure from the IMF. As to her descriptions of the Anti EU movement, Cynical I definitely am, Petty is an interesting word for someone who is worried about such a major issue, and as for Xenophobe, some of my best friends are Xens.

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