The EU and Turkey in the Southern
Neighbourhood: A new opening?
Currently, the EU is facing two key challenges: internally, the euro crisis, and externally, the risk of a step back for the Arab Spring. Failure or success in dealing with these will determine the EU’s position on the global stage in the very near future. It is profoundly in Europe’s long-term interest, both economic and strategic, to see the Arab Spring succeed. In this ambit, cooperation with Turkey is of key importance for the EU. Its significance derives from Turkey’s rising leverage in the Arab world based on economic soft power, geopolitical clout and unprecedented popularity among Arab societies. The creation of the EU-Turkey strategic partnership would be considerably easier if EU Member States relaunched the Turkish accession process. A more positive stance of a new president of France on the Turkish accession process provides the EU with a window of opportunity to reinvigorate it in 2013.