Turkish President Gül supports debate on ‘multi-speed’ EU
Turkish President Abdullah Gül addresses Swedish parliamentarians. DHA photoOpen and transparent debate on a “multi-speed EU” is required to overcome differences of opinion across the 27-member bloc, President Abdullah Gül has said, adding that it would be a strategic myopia for Europe to distance itself from Turkey.
“Allowing Turkey to successfully complete membership negotiations without permitting any artificial delays is, first and foremost, a prerequisite of “pacta sunt servanda [Latin for ‘agreements must be kept’]. The eventual membership shall, of course, be shaped around the decision of the peoples of the European Union and Turkey,” Gül told members of the Swedish Parliament yesterday.
“At a time when democracy is expanding in the Middle East and North Africa and the center of gravity in the global economy is shifting toward Asia, it would be a strategic myopia for Europe to distance itself from Turkey as this would have serious strategic ramifications in the long term,” the president said, adding that Ankara was closely following the debate around a “differentiated Europe” within the European Union, with which it has a longstanding association.
“It is obvious that not all members of the European Union are in favor of more integration, especially on fiscal policy. The fundamental issue here is how the EU, as a ‘project for peace and prosperity,’ shall overcome differences of opinion,” Gül told the Parliament on the last day of his landmark trip to Sweden.
“I find the open and transparent debate in the context of a ‘multi-speed EU’ very appropriate. This debate shall result in a formula reflecting the collective wisdom because the EU project has always moved forward after World War II and never regressed despite grounding to a halt at times,” he said.
“Multi-speed” Europe is the term used to describe the idea of a method of differentiated integration even as common objectives are pursued by a group of member states.
“It is also important for these issues to be discussed not only by member states, but also by countries such as Turkey, which is negotiating for membership, because the future of Europe concerns us all,” Gül said.
The president also thanked Sweden for its sincere and strong support for Turkey’s accession to the bloc.