Where are Europe’s borders?

The EU should terminate discussions with Turkey about membership two reasons. Even with many years preparation and economic convergence the gap between the average European economy and Turkey will remain too wide, exacerbating every problem that threatens to sink the Euro and most of Europe with it. The more fundamental reason relates to European expansion and the question: are there any limits to ‘Europe’?

The academic question whether what was once called ‘the sick man of Europe’ is really a European or an Asian power is a scholastic one. European territorial ambition is not. Clumsy EU manoeuvring for influence in the Ukraine created friction with Russia and contributed to an ugly civil war. Turkish membership would mean Europe shares a border with Syria, Iraq and Iran, and could provoke new conflicts with Russia on the border that Europe would now share with Armenia and  Georgia. This ought to be unthinkable. Too rapid expansion to the east and the weaker economies in the south make Europe all but unmanageable as it is.

The British government – but since they don’t have the courage, perhaps the French – should say publicly now that discussions should cease and if they do not, they will veto membership in due course.  And right now, before the EU referendum, would be a good time to do it.

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