Reader feedback: No fortress in Europe, please

Re: Slovakia split on Turkey, By Soňa Balážová, October 25 - 31, Vol 10, No 41

Two images from recent weeks: On Friday I was in Hainburg just over the Austrian border. This town has a really charming old street with a not-so charming name: Blutgasse.

A helpful plaque explains that the name comes from the Turkish invasion in the seventeenth century, when the Turks massacred the town's inhabitants and the blood ran down this street to the Danube.

Before that I read an interview with Ján Čarnogurský, idealogue of the KDH, in which he demanded that the EU constitution mention the Christian god in order to create a "European identity" (no superstate for him, then, ever). He said that the only other way to unite Europe was some dreadful war with terrorists.

He scorned the pragmatic idea of the EU as a trading group united by mutual interests. People will never feel that in their hearts, apparently.

I don't want to go down that road. I don't want a Europe that turns into a fortress of "us" against "them". I thought that the whole idea of the EU was that we learned to make peace through trading. Turkey is a tough case for that EU. OK, its connection to us is very slender but there is a connection, more than with the inward-looking ex-Soviet countries. It sees its future in trade with us.

A "special relationship" will break down. When Turkey exports stuff to us, it will either have to abide by European standards or it will not. If it does not, then it will undercut European producers and they will cry foul: end of special relationship.

If it has to abide by all the environmental and labour standards then it will eventually be frustrated because it doesn't have a say in setting those rules, and walk away.

Norway is a rich country that can easily abide by the rules but they are grumbling about "fax democracy" where their politicians just wait for instructions from Brussels.

No, the choice is, give Turkey a seat at the table and stand by what the EU was meant to be - a club of those who prefer trade to war, and who believe trade heals the wounds of war, even a Blutgasse - or raise high the ring of steel and maybe get a European George Bush to bring us a faith-based union and Crusades 2.

Žilina, Slovakia

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