No further enlargement for NATO and the EU

20 November 2008

No further enlargement for NATO and the EU

Last weekend I paid a visit to the NATO parliamentary assembly, held in Valencia. There was fierce debate on the recent war between Russia and Georgia. Neither country is of course a member of NATO, but they attend the parliamentary assembly and even have speaking rights. The war was continued in Valencia by other means, not with weapons but with words, sometimes extremely hard words.

by Harry van Bommel

Harry van BommelThe unblinking support of the British and Americans for Georgia was striking. Although it's perfectly clear that Georgia started the war with an attack on South Ossetia's capital, Russia was given the blame to some extent by everyone during the debate. According to some, Georgia should even be rewarded for its irresponsible behaviour with candidate membership of NATO. This would indeed be the world turned upside down. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili continually appears on television with an EU flag in the background, since what he really wants is immediate membership of the European Union. Surely this madness cannot be allowed to go further.

If it was up to me, Georgia could, as things stand, whistle for its candidate membership of NATO. Surely we don't want to import problems? Let NATO first of all put things straight in its own house and make clear its plans for the future. As for a discussion of Georgia's membership of the EU, we should not even make a start on this. Further enlargement of the EU to the east would be ill-advised. The Ukraine also dreams of membership. We should not begin such a process. It would be much more intelligent to hold, first of all, a serious debate regarding the borders of NATO and the EU. In the meantime we should simply take this no further. Further enlargement would lose both the EU and NATO any public sympathy, which nobody wants to see.

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