The European Union (EU) expansion will continue towards Turkey and Eastern Europe, the EU ambassador to the United States and former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton said on campus Tuesday.
Bruton spoke at a lunch at the Law School, where he emphasized the unanimity of the EU in the steps it has taken to ensure the integrity of its endeavors.
“It has been a minor political miracle that we have done what we have been able to do,” Bruton said. “We will unanimously agree to take in Turkey. We will unanimously take in Serbia. We will unanimously take in all countries under scrutiny granted that they meet the criteria.”
The standards that he referred to are the Copenhagen Criteria, which were enacted in June 1993 to set a precedent for nations wishing to become part of the EU.
Bruton also touched upon the emergence of China as a major world power in the coming decade.
He pointed out that China dominated three-quarters of the world’s economy a little less than 300 years ago. He said that the recent cooling of China’s influence on the world market is nothing short of a vacation.
“It did not surprise me that China is now making a comeback,” Bruton said. “It’s very natural that this very large mass of people takes its proper place in this world economy.”
There were concerns in the crowd about the how the EU would deal with the issue of healthcare in its member nations.
“In the area of health, many people don’t understand the options and therefore a public provider may be a better approach,” Bruton said.
Molly Kurnit, sophomore, questioned the possibility of the EU adding countries that are not physically in Europe but practice the ideals that the EU sets out to accomplish in its mission.
Bruton said that such a situation is unlikely because the mission of the organization is to ensure the safe and secure transport of goods and services between neighboring nations of somewhat similar financial backgrounds.
The potential for undercutting businesses by encroaching foreign enterprise from less developed countries is a major concern and an explanation why those countries wouldn’t be included in the EU, according to Bruton.
He said asking the EU to include countries that wouldn’t normally be accepted is like asking the U.S. to include South and Central American countries as part of the country.
Nick Schaad, a sophomore international studies major, felt that the ambassador didn’t sugarcoat anything in his commentary, given that Bruton’s vocation is one that regularly takes on a diplomatic role.
“He’s very straightforward, very justified, very logical and I appreciated that aspect of his discussion,” Schaad said.
Laust Schenenborg, a graduate student in international studies, said she has been paying very close attention the state of the EU.
“I feel that Bruton used his diplomatic expertise to disguise that the power the EU is growing,” Schenenborg said.
Larry Nolan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.