The European Union may be dropping the ball over Turkey. The bloc has benefited for years from a stable country with an improving economy on its southeast border, insulating it from mayhem in the Middle East. But this buffer state is increasingly leaky and troubled, resulting in economic as well as political repercussions. So far the European Union’s engagement with Turkey has been too little, too late.
The European Union is underpinned by the so-called “four freedoms”: the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. There’s little controversy over the first three. But the free movement of people has become a hot political issue in many countries, often whipped up by nationalist parties. Some people who want to keep immigrants out are racists. There are also two supposed arguments for keeping foreigners out: that they take both “our jobs” and “our benefits”.