Asia Europe Affairs

We feel the January 30th, 2008 report published by ESI Institute ‘A Referendum on the unknown Turk? Anatomy of an Austrian debate’ is timely and topical. It attributes the cause of very low public support for Turkey accession within Austria to a lack of public debate. It makes the striking point that:

” ..until 2002, there was very little difference between Austrian views towards Turkey and any other EU
candidate…. that the enlargement debate until then had discussed “both pros and cons for each decision”. But that since 2004 Austria’s political parties (Austrian Social Democrats (SPO), Freedom Party, and, Austrian People’s Party (OVP)) had chosen to “..[defer] any serious debate in favour of an eventual referendum”

The report concludes with a call for Austria to debate more the question of Turkey’s accession to the EU and Austria. And suggests that public sentiment may sharply improve with a more complete and balanced appraisal of the opportunities that Turkey as an EU state could bring.

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