Time has come for a 'United States of Europe' – that includes Turkey
Either Europe develops into a political union or it moves backward as a continent of nation-states that have neither political nor economic clout – surpassed by China and other emerging nations.
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This United States of Europe must include the membership of Turkey and an association with Russia. Closer ties with Russia are important for Europe because they guarantee direct access to Russia’s enormous energy resources, thus contributing to global energy security. For this same reason, the cooperation between American and Russian energy companies in the Arctic should be welcomed. Peace and stability on the European continent can only come about with – and not against – Russia.Skip to next paragraph
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The second most important country for Europe is Turkey. The current developments in the Arab world have made this clear. There is now a chance for democracy and freedom to emerge from within the societies themselves. Turkey is the template for this in the region because it demonstrates that a nonfundamentalist form of Islam and a free society are compatible. This is also a reason why the European Union must accept Turkey as a member. It will be a bridge between Europe and the Islamic world and will greatly help to ensure security not only for Europe, but also for the United States.
Europe has arrived at a crossroads. Either Europe develops into a political union and becomes a truly global player, or it moves backward as a continent of nation states that have neither political nor economic clout on the global level. We saw a premonition of such a weak and disparate Europe during the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in 2009. The EU nation states played only a marginal role while the emerging economies, led by China, made the key decisions.
For me, one thing is certain: We need a united, strong Europe. Such a Europe is also in the interests of the US and would strengthen the transatlantic alliance. For we now know that today’s great global challenges, from financial instability to climate protection to the fight against terrorism to peace in the new Middle East, cannot be met by a single state in the world on its own. Germany, firmly embedded within European structures, must do its share and not follow the temptation to retreat into its own national ego.
© 2011 Global Viewpoint Network/Nicolas Berggruen Institute. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.