Richard North, 15/10/2004  

Outgoing Internal Market Commissioner, Frits Bolkestein, the only one of that august body to vote against negotiations with Turkey, has given a choleric interview to Le Monde.

He remains opposed to Turkey’s entry because of its human rights record and thinks that the Rubicon had been crossed in Helsinki in 1999 when that country was given candidate status. (Though that had been done for no greater reason but to shut everybody up.)

Nor is Bolkestein greatly taken with the idea of a never-ending expansion. The only thing that could prevent an EU of 40 members in his opinion, is a no vote in a referendum somewhere. Since he is talking about putative applicants, a no vote is unlikely. And while we are on the subject: 40? Where does he get all those countries? Will Central Asia and North Africa suddenly become Europe?

According to Mr Bolkestein most governments and Commissioners are against Turkey’s membership and if there had been a secret vote, the result would have been very different. As it is, foreign ministers want to appear nice and nobody dares to say no. The EU will become unmanageable, he warns.

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