PositionTurkey's suitability to open accession

Next week, the European Commission will make its recommendation on Turkey's suitability to open accession negotiations.

That, at least, is what the Commission is saying.

But there is evidence that the Commission has already made up its mind, in advance of the Commission discussion.

Hints and leaks suggest a "yes" from the Commission - dignified by a fig-leaf of cautionary observations, particularly over timing.

The Commission is emphasising that it is tasked primarily with an evaluation of Turkey's compliance with political criteria - as if to defend itself from any accusations of ducking any wider duty. A limited impact assessment has been thrown in almost as an afterthought.

A rapid rubber-stamp decision looks likely. The careful choreography for an announcement to the European Parliament immediately after the Commission meeting indicates that extended debate is not on the agenda.

This will preclude deeper reflection on broader questions - like EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler's concern over insufficient attention to underlying issues, such as where Europe's limits should lie. "Unless we establish a strong ground for Turkish accession, we risk simply moving ahead without further adoa This would be a march of folly", he warned weeks ago.

The Commission seems on the brink of...

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