“Enlargement conditionality is used as an excuse to delay it while pretending to upgrade it” Axel Wallden on #Fragmegration

News / 06.5.15

The Institut d’Etudes Européennes (IEE) of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) debated Fragmegration- The Double dimension of EU enlargement (Internal and External) with Günther Dauwen – Secretary general of the Centre Maurits Coppieters – Laura Batalla – Secretary General of the Friends of Turkey Group in the European Parliament – and Axel Wallden – Former head of the DG Enlargement’s Strategy Unit (European commission) and currently an IEE professor.

While Günther Dauwen explored in his intervention the internal dimension of Enlargement and policy solutions in the event of the creation of a new state within the EU. Both  Axel Wallden and Laura Batalla focused their interventions on the external dimension of Enlargement.

Professor Wallden showed a rather critical view of the current developments of enlargement “the political will to enlarge is no longer really there” he claims. “In the past we welcomed new members provided they were democratic and fulfilled a minimum technical requirements” […] “Today we use all sorts of pretext to delay accession and […] Enlargement conditionality is used as an excuse to abandon the policy while pretending to upgrade it, […] it often reminds of colonial times” he thinks that it is “the main reason why  enlargement is stuck”

To him, the change of Enlargement policy will “weaken the attractive power of the union”.

Laura Batalla made the link between the current state of affairs of the Enlargement policy and Turkey membership application. She expects that “no one is going to make a move until the [7 June] elections” to her this is a crutial moment in Turkey-EU relations’ history. To her, Erdogan’s plan to switch towards a reinforced presidential system would require a vast majority in the Parliament to circumvent a country wide referendum. therefore “the key to the election is the perfomance of the Turkish pro-kudish People’s Democratic Party (HDP)” running to the elections for the first time “as a party, not as independent candidates”. “Recent polls show that they are close to the 10% threshold that would allow them to form a group in the [Ankara] Parliament”.  If they don’t pass the threshold “AKP, Erdogan’s party, would most likely have the necessary majority to reform the constitution” and reinforce Erdogan’s figure, Therefore the “EU should ask Ankara to lower that threshold – the highest in Europe – to 5 or 3%”.