Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

The EP elections

The results of the European Parliament, or EP, elections that were held last weekend did not send a good signal. The European Union is somehow failing to pull itself up as its self-confidence diminishes steadily.

Now we have an introverted, timid Europe afraid of almost everything while the U.S. administration searches for a new dialogue with the world. The number-one reason is the politicians in the EU. Average and narrow-minded politicians leading small worlds are the biggest obstruction to integration and economic recovery in Europe. The way they present national solutions to European and global problems is just appalling.

Citizens and societies in the bloc have long been governed by EU decisions. Two-thirds of laws and regulations affecting the lives of individuals and societies are decided in Brussels. Despite this, EU citizens have no idea how the EU functions. Politicians in the EU countries have never explained why neither the Union nor its institutions were established, what their functions are, how they operate or how they affect the lives of their citizens. Another reason for citizens’ lack of knowledge is the education system. No EU country designs curricula by considering its EU membership.

Except for a few initiatives, an EU citizen continues to live and work in the Union, but thinks strictly nationally. So they are not interested in the EP elections, or in EU affairs in general. In fact, in many EU countries, politicians who are not popular anymore in the national political system get nominated for the EP!

A parliament getting more bizarre after every election
Direct elections to the EP have been held since 1979. Previously, as with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the EP consisted of representatives from national parliaments. With the direct elections, the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, is renewed as well. But the EP has limited decision-making authority over binding decisions.

This time around, a total of 736 representatives were elected to represent 492 million EU citizens. No single party in power increased its votes, or even maintained them, for that matter. In all EU countries, hostility against government parties Ğ most likely triggered by the economic crisis Ğ was translated into votes. In France and Germany, the main opposition parties did not take advantage of the consequences of the economic turmoil. But in Austria, Britain, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden, populist and vulgar anti-EU parties made substantial gains thanks to the general nihilism.

The Greens’ performance in France, Greece and Hungary is also worth mentioning. Voters aware of this fragile situation in the world have pushed green politics to the forefront. Finally, the very low turnout in some new member states can be seen as an expression of disenchantment with Europe, and especially with Chancellor Merkel’s refusal to support their economies.

In the last parliament, there were six members of Turkish origin. They are only four in the new EP. Members Emine Bozkurt from the Netherlands and Metin Kazak and Filiz Hüsmenova from Bulgaria were re-elected, while in Germany, Social Democrat Party candidate İsmail Ertuğ made it to the EP. Of course, this does not mean that they will follow a pro-Turkey policy in parliament.

During the last legislature, members of the EP finally realized that EU membership is not only about harmonization on political matters and started to pay attention to matters in Turkey. A study titled "Report on Women’s Rights in Turkey," prepared by Member of the EP Bozkurt is a good example.

With this, we have seen that the EP, contrary to previous parliaments, has gradually stopped blaming Turkey in every single incident. I hope this learning trend continues and that more issues, such as organic farming and regional policy, are examined in special reports.

There is no reason to say that the new EP is definitely against Turkey. Besides, no voting on any vital decision of great interest to Turkey will take place in the new legislature.

Also good news for Turkey is the election results in Greek Cyprus. Pro-solution parties like the liberal DISI and communist AKEL won 70 percent of the votes. That is a good development that bodes well for the reunification of the island, as it will strengthen the hands of both negotiators, Christofias and Talat.