Despite frustrations and apparent increasing scepticism within its own borders, EU membership still holds significant attractions for some.
- On Sunday, Turkey holds a referendum on constitutional reform. The outcome could have a significant bearing on whether its bid to join the EU receives a major boost. As part of the reforms the country’s Prime Minister wants to restructure the judiciary and limit the power of the army – something that would go down well here in Brussels. Opinion polls put the result currently neck and neck.
- And in Croatia, a country much further along the road to EU accession, the government has set about privatising its shipyards. At the moment, the state pays huge subsidies to the yards, which is contrary to EU competition rules.
- Meanwhile Iceland, which seemed determined to join the EU at the height of the economic crisis, appears to be getting cold feet. Iceland wants to be able to catch more mackerel than EU quotas would allow and public opinion appears to be heading towards opposition to membership. Four Icelandic MPs this week called for a parliamentary vote against joining the EU.
- Over in the UK this morning a Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, has launched his bid for a referendum in Britain on a straight-forward question about the EU: In or Out?
It’s a question being asked by some on the inside looking out and on the outside looking in.