Futuribles Journal n° 318

Géopolitique - Population

Turkey's Importance in the European Union: Would Its Rapid Population Growth Allow It to Dominate European Decision-making?


The question of whether Turkey should eventually be allowed to join the European Union was much in the news in 2005, and worked its way into the debate about the European Constitution even though it was not relevant. Independently of the political debate about the legitimacy of Turkey's admission to the EU, Frédéric Allemand has looked at the possible repercussions of Turkey joining for the way the Union's institutions operate, in view of the country's sheer demographic size and growth.
Relying on a variety of population forecasts (United Nations, Eurostat, etc.) to 2025 for the current EU member states, those already in the queue (Bulgaria, Romania, the Balkan states, etc.) and Turkey, Frédéric Allemand has calculated the voting weight that Turkey would have, based on population, in the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and various other bodies, in the context of a greatly enlarged European Union and on the assumption that current arrangements for decision-making remain unchanged. He points out that, as the most populous country, Turkey would effectively have the same influence on decision-making as a "big" nation, like the four current "big" members (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom), who would see their relative weight reduced. But for one thing, this reduction in the relative importance of the current "big" four would just be part of a general trend that has been developing over the last three decades. For another, Turkey's large size need not translate into actual influence on the decision-making process, as experience shows that there is a certain distrust of the big countries which can often lead to their being marginalized.

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