A neighbour in the EU

The prospect of Ice­landic mem­ber­ship into the EU is wide­ly wel­comed in Den­mark. This will shift the bal­ance in the EU towards the north and hence Den­mark. Den­mark has even offered assis­tance to pre­pare for some of the nego­ti­a­tions Ice­land will be hav­ing with the EU. The social demo­c­rat Mem­ber of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (MEP) Dan Jør­gensen is wel­com­ing Ice­land into the EU, as only com­mon solu­tions can bring a way out of the cri­sis about.11Folke­bladet: Velkom­men Island, 27 Feb­ru­ary 2010.

Pub­lic debates in the media are sym­pa­thet­ic to the present eco­nom­ic plight of Ice­land, but there is a gen­er­al con­sen­sus that Ice­land will have to live up to its respon­si­bil­i­ty and pay for its mis­takes. The Ice­landic “No” to Ice­save II22Ice­save II was a bill that should approve a state guar­an­tee on the debts of the Depos­i­tors’ and Investors’ Guar­an­tee Fund. For infor­ma­tion on Ice­save in gen­er­al see Wikipedia: Ice­save dis­pute, 20 June 2010, avail­able at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icesave_dispute (last access: 6 July 2010). was seen as a way of “vot­ing No to real­i­ty”.33Poli­tiken: Torske­dumt, 6 Jan­u­ary 2010. It is wide­ly expect­ed that Ice­land will join the EU togeth­er with Croa­t­ia in spring 2012,44Infor­ma­tion: Island i EU – en saga blot?, 28 Feb­ru­ary 2010. when Den­mark is hold­ing the Pres­i­den­cy of the Council.

Turning away from Europe?

A num­ber of observers in the media have tak­en notice of a change in the Turk­ish atti­tude towards the EU. The gen­er­al feel­ing con­cern­ing Turkey in the Dan­ish media is that Turkey is turn­ing away from Europe as a result of EU’s indif­fer­ent atti­tude towards Turkey.55Jyl­land­sposten: Tyrki­ets kurs, 28 Decem­ber 2009; Poli­tiken: Tyrk­erne vender blikket mod øst, 25 Okto­ber 2009. Turkey’s new active for­eign pol­i­cy in the Mid­dle East is large­ly per­ceived as a turn­ing away from Europe. How­ev­er, the Turk­ish embassy in Copen­hagen has pub­licly con­test­ed this view and claimed that there is noth­ing in the new Turk­ish for­eign pol­i­cy that con­tra­dicts its pos­si­bil­i­ties for pur­su­ing a Euro­pean future.66Jyl­lands-Posten: Fejlagtig analyse, 13 Jan­u­ary 2010.

The sec­ond theme that has been present in the Turk­ish debate con­cerns the Armen­ian geno­cide. The Swedish dec­la­ra­tion on the Armen­ian geno­cide sparked some debate con­cern­ing the need for recog­ni­tion of the geno­cide in Turkey. How­ev­er, the Dan­ish For­eign Min­is­ter has stat­ed that no sim­i­lar vote will be held in the Dan­ish par­lia­ment.77DR2 Dead­line: Diplo­ma­tisk krise mellem Tyrki­et og Sverige, 12 March 2010.

A new Visa regime

The West­ern Balka­ns do not enjoy a lot of atten­tion in the Dan­ish debate. Apart from what is expect­ed to be Croatia’s acces­sion with­in the com­ing years, not a lot of enthu­si­asm is linked to the prospects of EU-mem­ber­ship for the West­ern Balkan coun­tries. The issue of visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion sparked some eval­u­a­tions on the pos­i­tive effects this will have on the devel­op­ment of the region, as well as the issue that Koso­vo and Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina are still stuck with visa demands.88Poli­tiken: Godt nyt for Vest­balkan, 1 Decem­ber 2009.

A forgotten policy

The Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy is some­thing that is bare­ly being men­tioned in the Dan­ish media and an assess­ment of these projects has not been very present in the debate. The Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Medvedev vis­it­ed Den­mark in May 2010 and there­fore put more focus on the bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship with the big neigh­bour in the east rather than oth­er rela­tions between Den­mark and East­ern Europe.

Den­mark launched the “Arab Ini­tia­tive” in 2003, which was cre­at­ed to strength­en dia­logue con­cern­ing reform in the Mid­dle East and North­ern Africa.99Dan­ish min­istry of For­eign Affairs: Dan­ish-Arab Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme, 11 May 2009, avail­able at: http://www.um.dk/en/menu/DevelopmentPolicy/WiderMiddleEastInitiative/ (last acces: 6 July 2010). The EU-backed Union for the Mediter­ranean is a cen­tral part of the mul­ti­lat­er­al “leg” in the “Arab Ini­tia­tive”, but the Ini­tia­tive attracts far more atten­tion than the EU’s activ­i­ties in this respect.

    Footnotes

  • 1Folke­bladet: Velkom­men Island, 27 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 2Ice­save II was a bill that should approve a state guar­an­tee on the debts of the Depos­i­tors’ and Investors’ Guar­an­tee Fund. For infor­ma­tion on Ice­save in gen­er­al see Wikipedia: Ice­save dis­pute, 20 June 2010, avail­able at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icesave_dispute (last access: 6 July 2010).
  • 3Poli­tiken: Torske­dumt, 6 Jan­u­ary 2010.
  • 4Infor­ma­tion: Island i EU – en saga blot?, 28 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 5Jyl­land­sposten: Tyrki­ets kurs, 28 Decem­ber 2009; Poli­tiken: Tyrk­erne vender blikket mod øst, 25 Okto­ber 2009.
  • 6Jyl­lands-Posten: Fejlagtig analyse, 13 Jan­u­ary 2010.
  • 7DR2 Dead­line: Diplo­ma­tisk krise mellem Tyrki­et og Sverige, 12 March 2010.
  • 8Poli­tiken: Godt nyt for Vest­balkan, 1 Decem­ber 2009.
  • 9Dan­ish min­istry of For­eign Affairs: Dan­ish-Arab Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme, 11 May 2009, avail­able at: http://www.um.dk/en/menu/DevelopmentPolicy/WiderMiddleEastInitiative/ (last acces: 6 July 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.