Verheugen: "The EU urgently needs Turkey"
The European Union needs Turkey more urgently than Turkey needs the EU, said Gunter Verheugen, former European Union commissioner in charge of enlargement, in an interview with an Austrian daily published yesterday. Verheugen said that though the negotiation process with Turkey is continuing, there are governments that don't want Turkey in the 27-nation bloc regardless of how the negotiations end up. Verheugen singled out Austria's anti-Turkish policies for criticism, saying, "Austria's policy makes Turkish-EU relations difficult." At a time of such negative attitudes, it is difficult to demand that Turkey fulfill its obligations under agreements and continue democratization, Verheugen stressed. Arguing that new members bring a positive atmosphere to the EU, Verheugen added that it would be wrong to put enlargement on the back burner just because of the economic crisis. New members could help the EU be more dynamic, he said.