Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Danish PM writes that the fate of the EU's constitutional treaty is unknown and further expansion of the union to include Turkey is unlikely

Copenhagen Post:

The EU is in a state of crisis, according to PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The chances for accepting Turkey into the union are also slim, stated Rasmussen in a written response to daily newspaper Politiken.

Denmark was scheduled to go to the polls today to vote on the EU treaty. After the Netherlands and France rejected the treaty over the summer, however, the process for ratifying the treaty remains unknown, stated Rasmussen.

'I think we have to accept that the constitutional treaty will not go into effect in the coming years,' said Rasmussen. 'I won't say that the treaty is completely dead. But we have to acknowledge that two countries have rejected the treaty in their referenda. That's why we should concentrate on the EU's true purpose.'

At the same time, Rasmussen hedged on giving a clear timeline for Turkey's acceptance into the EU, even though Turkey begins negotiations for membership next week. The country's ability to live up to EU's requirements was no longer sufficient; it was also necessary to ask whether the EU could absorb Turkey, according to Rasmussen.

'It is absolutely crucial that the expansion does not dilute EU co-operation. That's why I say that if we want a cohesive EU, we have to discuss how far the expansion can continue,' wrote Rasmussen.

The leader of the opposition's Social Liberals, Marianne Jelved, considered Rasmussen's position problematic, because it changed the criteria for Turkey's membership, undermining the EU's credibility.

'And a strike against the EU's credibility rubs off on the prime minister,' she said.

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