chapter  5
48 Pages

The Political Aspects of the EU’s Policy Towards Turkey in the Context of a New European Political Order

All of these structural changes occurred in the late 1980s and the objectives of European integration have compelled the EU to take on more political responsibilities than ever. Before this, the EU was little more than economic organization. Consequently, economic factors and considerations were more important than political considerations in EU politics, in particular in its external relations. In fact, the founding Treaties of the European Union did not make explicit reference to the political or social competence of the Union.1 For example, there was no explicit reference to respects for human rights or the principle of democracy either in the Treaty of Paris or in the Treaty of Rome. Therefore, human rights and social and political issues did not constitute an important part of the EU’s external relations (Sjursen and Smith, 2001; Sosay, 1992; Ugur, 1999, Kaliber, 1998). Although the enlargement process towards countries in Southern Europe in the 1970s and the efforts of the EP compelled the EU to assume more political responsibilities for maintaining democracy in Southern Europe, the EU still lacked instruments to pursue of coherent human rights in its external relations (Brewin, 1986; Pridam, 1991)

Since the late 1980s, the EU has started to take on political responsibilities as the result of internal and external factors (Dagi, 1993; Napoli, 1995; Nas, 1997; Alson and Wetler, 1998; Henderson, 1999; Smith, 1999). As regards internal factors, it has been realized that the further deepening of the EU, with the aim of establishing political Union, can only proceed in parallel with common European political values. In addition, the objective of bringing the Union closer to its citizens requires the firm application of transparency, principles of democracy, equality, social justice and respect for human rights at a European level. Furthermore, due to the advance of integration in the area of economics, involving the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services, EU citizens’ lives are increasingly more affected by the EU’s legal structure and activities, thereby 1 A further analysis of EU’s human right policy, see Napoli (1995); Nas (1997-1998b); Henderson (1999); Sosay (1992); Dagi (1993, 1996, 2001); Ugur (1999); Kaliber, (1998), Alston and Wetler, (1998); Alston, (1999).