EU realpolitik

October 16, 2015

European Union leaders have offered Turkey a possible 3 billion euros in aid, the prospect of easier travel visas and “re-energised” talks on membership in return for its help stemming the flow of migrants to Europe. This is all a pretty good win for Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan two weeks before the early elections he hopes will cement his authority. And what about the EU’s oft-stated concerns over human rights in Turkey? Doused by realpolitik. “In our neighbourhood, we are not asking any more for fundamental rights after the Arab Spring,” said one EU official. “We are asking for stability.”

By the end of today Greece’s parliament is expected to approve the set of austerity measures and reforms agreed with EU/IMF creditors for the next instalment of its bailout, which Athens hopes will open the way for debt relief talks. Among them is a bill which raises the retirement age to 67 years by 2022 and cuts pensions by 10 percent for people below that age who have retired but have yet to reach 67. About 200 protesters blocked the entrance to the ministry handling the reforms on Thursday but officials look determined to push ahead.

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