Where Does Europe End?
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 17th April, 2007
In Cyprus for 24 hours, en route to London, I’m enjoying using the local currency for what will probably be my last time, as Cyprus will join the euro next 1 January. Slovenia pipped Cyprus at the post on this, among the new member states, as it managed to organise itself for membership of the single currency at the beginning of this year. All of the others will follow suit when they meet the necessary conditions. But what about Britain, Mr Brown?
Even more amazing was that Cyprus managed to get into the European Union before the three-decades-old division of the island has been ended. I long for the day when there is a just settlement here, and both communities can feel at home throughout the shared island and within the European Union. There are deep wounds in both communities, but one hopes that a new generation will commit itself to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, as well to a normalisation of relations with an increasingly democratic Turkey.
In the meantime, when some people in Austria, France and Germany, in particular, object to the prospect of Turkey’s joining the EU, on the grounds that Turkey is not in Europe, I invite them to look at the map. If Turkey can’t be considered part of Europe, where is Cyprus? However, there is a serious, real issue about where Europe ends. In the north the limit is clearly the Arctic circle, and in the West the Atlantic Ocean. In the south it is the Mediterranean Sea (including the Straits of Gibraltar). But what about in the east? I remember at school being taught that Europe ends at the Ural mountains, but on the basis of that definition, the EU could take in not only Ukraine and Belarus, but Russia as well! A line has to be drawn somewhere. But as yet, despite the EU’s neighbourhood policy with countries adjacent to current member states, no-one has really bitten the bullet and defined Europe’s boundaries clearly.