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Turkey Joining EU Would Pose Border Risks, U.K. Lawmakers Say

Turkey Joining EU Would Pose Border Risks
Turkey's national flags fly near the Istanbul Convention Centre. Turkey’s bid to join the EU has stalled, with the country having completed negotiations in only one of 35 policy areas. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A panel of U.K. lawmakers said it’s concerned about risks to the European Union from organized crime and illegal immigration if Turkey joins because of inadequate security along the country’s borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Turkey must demonstrate “clearly and objectively” that it’s met stringent criteria set by the EU for the management of its frontiers before it can join, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said in a report released in London today. It said Turkey was a key point along routes for smuggling drugs and trafficking people into the 27-nation bloc.

“I am concerned that, if action is not taken now, it will become even easier for migrants from countries such as Afghanistan and Iran to enter the EU once Turkey is a member” the panel’s chairman, Keith Vaz, said in an e-mailed statement.

Turkey’s bid to join the EU has stalled, with the country having completed negotiations in only one of 35 policy areas. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy oppose Turkish membership, while U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron vowed on a trip to Ankara last year to be the “strongest possible advocate” for Turkish accession.

The Commons committee said the potential benefits from Turkish membership outweigh the risks. Even so, it called on the Home Office to assess the likely scale of Turkish immigration to Britain. At least 200,000 migrants arrived each year in the U.K. between 2004 and 2007 after eight East European countries joined the EU, compared with official predictions of an annual flow of about 10,000.

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