A constituent recently wrote to me about EU enlargement, expressing concern about new accession states with porous borders to the East and South. I replied as follows:
Good question about dodgy accession states. The Conservative Party is pro-enlargement, on the grounds that:
1 A bigger EU is more difficult to manage centrally, and must therefore become looser and shallower;
2 Enlargement spreads democracy and stability around the EU’s borders.
I have serious doubts about this for the reason you hint at — it opens the floodgates to immigration. They’re literally queuing up in Ukraine to get across a porous border. Then there’ll be an amnesty (Spain has done several already), then the immigrants will apply for Slovenian passports, then they’ll come and live in Spalding.
Also, I don’t believe Point 1. This was argued before the accession of Greece and Spain — yet the process of EU integration and centralisation marches relentlessly on.
My position is: if we had the kind of Europe I want — independent nations linked only by free trade and voluntary inter-governmental cooperation — then I would welcome any state that had more or less free markets and decent humane standards. Turkey, Israel, Australia. But if it’s a Political Union, I don’t want to see our democratic rights further eroded and diluted and I don’t want British laws made by 60 million Turks.
Besides, with the immigration question, Turkish accession is hugely unpopular in France, Austria, Germany, and would be here as well if it were on the radar of public opinion. Enlargement is a vote-loser.
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