According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, around 65% of the Czech population supports further EU enlargement. Clear anti-enlargement rhetoric cannot be found in the program of any of the parliamentary parties.
Public Perceptions of the Ukrainians and Ukraine in the Czech Society
However, this will require a shift from the current focus on assisting fellow Ukrainian citizens with integration into Czech society or the promotion of Ukrainian culture to more strategic, policy-oriented goals. Difficult to make out foreigners: how the foreigners are (not) written about in the Czech press.”.
Czech Activism towards Eastern Europe (the Czech “Eastern” Policy)
Especially for the Czech Republic, Ukraine is important as a transition country, since most of the gas supplies from Russia pass through its territory. Some expectations may be related to the Czech presidency of the EU in the first half of 2009.
Internal Developments in the Czech Republic, the EU and in Ukraine Itself
In addition, the Czech government will have many other important issues on the agenda of its EU presidency, such as EU budget reform, preparations for the nomination for the European Parliament elections and the appointment of the new European Commission. and possibly the dissolution of the Constitutional Treaty (it is possible that another Intergovernmental Conference will proceed under the Czech presidency). So how much space will be allocated to Ukraine is a question, and the composition of the government and who will be in charge of foreign affairs may be an important factor here.
Conclusions: What Might Change the Czech Perception of Ukraine and Make It More
It will send a signal that the Czech Republic needs migration for employment reasons and is able to create a framework for its regulation, as well as for the integration of the Ukrainian immigrant community. Moreover, the domestic political situation in the Czech Republic is unstable and problematic following the outcome of the 2006 parliamentary elections.
TURKISH EU MEMBERSHIP
FROM LATVIA’S PERSPECTIVE
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
In summary, one can easily come to the conclusion that Turkish EU accession is not favored in Latvia, or that Latvians currently see no justification for Turkish EU integration. To examine these perceptions, this paper examines the arguments that are and should be used in the debates on how Turkey's EU accession is viewed from the perspective of the EU and Latvia in particular.
Arguments in favour of Turkish EU membership from Latvia’s perspective
However, she emphasized that Turkey's membership in the EU and the possible strengthening of the EU's role in the world have an indirect benefit for Latvia. As for the first part of the argument, proponents of Turkish EU membership point out that Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952.
Local debates on Turkish EU membership and future enlargement of the EU
Vaidere prefers a special partnership between Turkey and the EU instead of Turkey's full EU membership.⁹⁵. Vaidere believes that Latvia's official position supporting Turkish EU membership is premature. Therefore, for Vaidere, the only argument why talks on Turkey's EU membership continued was the promise the EU made to Turkey in 1963.
Another conclusion that can be drawn from the Latvian debates on possible Turkish EU membership may be that there is a need for more debate. But it is a good reason to ask local politicians to explain the arguments in favor of Turkish EU membership from the EU and Turkey's perspective, not just mention the promise made by an older generation of European politicians in 1963 . Is Turkish EU membership necessary to strengthen EU's role in the world, is it necessary for economic growth potential, is it necessary for the future vision of the EU as a more diverse unit? These are big questions that need to be debated.
EU ENLARGEMENT TO THE WESTERN BALKANS FROM
An Overview of the Polish Discourse on Further EU Enlargement
Support for further EU enlargement has generally been high since the first national opinion polls on the subject were conducted in 2002, and continued to rise after accession. Former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski pointed out the obligations entered into by the European Union towards both the candidate member states (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey) and the successor states of the former Yugoslavia that had the prospect of gradual integration. For these reasons, Polish officials (including successive governments and presidents) arrived at a national consensus on the objectives of the policy towards the two eastern neighbors, which became known as Poland's Eastern Policy.
The Polish Position on the EU Accession of Western Balkan States
Against the background of the virtual absence of references to individual states in the Polish national debate, the European Commission's position on the distinction between states is of increasing importance. Only a small minority (4%) of Polish respondents believed that the accession of the Western Balkan countries would be primarily in their country's interest – which is around the average for the EU-25. However, Poland is likely to remain in the second line of supporters of the accession of this group of countries.
THE DEBATE ON THE EU MEMBERSHIP PROSPECTS
Olga Shumylo, International Centre for Policy Studies, Kyiv
Due to the lack of EU membership prospects in the medium and long term, Ukraine needs to take as much as possible from what is being offered now. However, the public debate is out of touch with reality, focusing primarily on Ukraine's membership options and not discussing any alternatives to membership. The political situation in Ukraine after the Orange Revolution: A context for "European" thinking.
The Political Situation in Ukraine in the Aftermath of the Orange Revolution: The Context for Thinking ‘European’
The president is in favor of Ukraine's indisputable accession to NATO, whereas the prime minister has a more reserved attitude. As we can see, public opinion is used as a tool to slow Ukraine's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Many in the West perceived it as a threat to Ukraine's European integration and cooperation with NATO.
From the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement to the European Neighbourhood Policy: What Is in It for Ukraine?
Relations with the EU: Surprisingly to many, relations with the European Union remain stable. However, it is true that the ENP laid the foundation for Ukraine's deeper integration with the EU. Moreover, another ENP 'carrot' - an EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement - could provide an instrument for the modernization of the country's economy and its deeper integration with the EU.
Ukrainian Public Opinion on the EU and Ukraine’s European Choice
Given the short timeframe of the ENP, it is difficult to assess the impact of its conditionality on Ukraine's transformation. Moreover, the results of various opinion polls of EU Member States (see Box 2 below) provide a 'rosy picture' of European attitudes towards Ukrainians and the possibility of Ukraine's accession to the EU in the future. Spain and Italy provide an interesting example: 60% and 62% of respondents respectively supported Ukraine's membership.
The New EU Member States and Ukraine’s Membership Prospects
Some political parties (SPU, the Communist Party and others) claimed that the EU "did not want Ukraine". Ukraine already materialized on the EU's map at the time of the EU enlargement and the Orange Revolution. A deep free trade between the EU and Ukraine could be the first step towards Ukraine's real integration.
On the other hand, Ukrainians have proven to adhere to democratic values, which remain the core issue in Europe. If the EU wants to maintain its role as an important global player and see the impact of its 'transformative power', it will have to find new forms of cooperation with Ukraine. This will be influenced by domestic politics (eg the sustainability of the coalition, its ability to deliver on promises, the increase in gas prices in 2006) as well as by the messages sent from Brussels and other member states' capitals.
THE TURKISH ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
Given its constructive Cyprus policy over the past years, the Turkish government now feels that it has shown its goodwill and it is time for both the Greek Cypriots and the EU to reciprocate. Without meaningful retaliation, Prime Minister Erdoğan states, a further step by the Turkish side can in no way be justified in the eyes of the Turkish citizens, who feel that injustice has been committed against the Turkish Cypriots. In the next part of the paper, I will try to highlight areas of mutual interest and point out what contribution Turkey's accession can bring to the EU in these areas.
Challenges in the EU-Turkey Relationship
It is estimated that with the completion of the gas pipeline projects, the Turkish port of Ceyhan will become the new Rotterdam for transporting energy resources to world markets.⁷ Therefore, as a future member of the EU, Turkey would support European energy security both in terms of diversification. supplies and access routes. In terms of foreign policy in relation to the US and the rest of the Middle East, the paper claims that the positions of Turkey and the EU are increasingly converging and complementary. In this context, Turkey has so far participated in all EU-led military operations, with the exception of the operation in the Republic of Congo.
Turkish Perspectives on the EU Membership
The low level of information among the Turkish public about how the EU works¹¹ naturally contributes to this gloomy picture. From the initiation of association negotiations back in the 1960s to date, the support of the Turkish business community for the European cause has been more pronounced than any other advocacy group. From where we stand today, it is still Turkish civil society, led by business, that is at the forefront of support for Turkish entry into the EU.
European Public Opinion and Enlargement
As the picture above clearly illustrates, neither most Turks nor Europeans perceive enlargement as a win-win situation. Cross-border problems such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, economic slowdown, aging are all global risks and mutual needs can only be met by building a sustainable partnership between the EU and Turkey, where Turkey is fully integrated in the European structure.
Attitudes towards EU enlargement', European Commission, July 2006 (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_255_en.pdf). National Program of Turkey,” European Commission, 2006 (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb65/eb65_tr_nat.pdf).
THE MACEDONIAN ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
Marija Risteska, Centre for Research and Policy Making – CRPM¹
The EU and Macedonia (Western Balkans) – State of Affairs
One of the main obstacles in the Europeanization process of the Western Balkan countries is the EU visa regime. it is a big limitation to travel, see, learn and absorb the positive experiences of the European Union. Macedonia and the rest of the countries in the Western Balkans region are not members of the Pan-European Diagonal Cumulative Association, while Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are. At the Thessaloniki Summit (19–20 June 2003) the leaders of the EU member states agreed on the Union's strategy towards the countries of the Western Balkans.
The EU and the Balkans
The Political and Security Committee, the EU Military Committee and many other sub-committees in support of the aforementioned bodies. In 2005, Proximo was replaced by the EU Police Advisory Team (EUPAT), and Macedonia realized that EU advice was essential and valuable for police reform. As the new government (in power since September 2006) has accelerated the pace of reforms, negotiations are expected to begin soon.
What Does the Macedonian/Balkan Accession Mean for the EU?
Let's look at a brief comparison of the share taken by the new member states⁴¹ in the EU budget and their position and share in the EU vis-à-vis the "Macedonian burden" of the Union. Macedonia is one of the smallest countries in Europe and should not be a cause for concern for the European Union. From the Macedonian perspective, the exclusion of Croatia and Macedonia from the EU budget is one of the problematic points of the budget⁴⁴.
The Macedonian Accession and the Public Opinion
Furthermore, there is strong support among Macedonian citizens for Macedonia's membership of the European Union, which provides a solid and legitimate basis for the reforms that need to be implemented in the process of accession to the European Union. Macedonian image in the EU and the EU image in Macedonia: the role of the new Member States. Public opinion in these countries has shown exactly that: support for Macedonia's development into a full-fledged member state of the European Union.
Macedonia and Poland: A Possible Partnership
Advocacy for the Balkans and in this respect Macedonia's accession to the EU, can be an important factor that will increase the visibility and participation of the new member states in the decision-making processes of the Union. One of the ways is to actively work for the enlargement of the EU, and to "actually participate, not just formal participation (of new member states) in all decision-making mechanisms".⁶⁰ Poland also sees itself as a natural spokesperson for the eight Central European and Baltic states, which joined the EU in May 2004, because it is by far the largest state among them. However, Germany is more of a partner for Croatia (due to historical reasons) than for Macedonia. therefore, Macedonia must start looking for strategic partners among the new member states and Poland, being the largest; the most powerful and in favor of further expansion of the EU, must be seriously considered.⁶¹.