The elite opinion makers in Europe’s governing class (the same folks who gave you the 485-page EU constitution and all the regulations concerning the opacity of cheese) are not happy with the citizenry of what used to be the nations of Europe. The masses are apprehensive at the possibility of Turkey joining the EU, and the
Austrian public opinion is being particularly intransigent. The positive response of the Austrian people has yet to exceed 10%, making them the most serious obstacle so far to Turkey’s acceptance into the EU.
After all, the Austrians had a nasty little encounter with the Turks in 1683 (among others) at the Gates of Vienna, and they have long memories.
But the elite governing class of the EU is having trouble coming to terms with the recalcitrance of the people who should be accepting the guidance of their betters. According to a BBC article, Why Austria is the sticking point,
|Professor Anton Pelinka of Innsbruck University told the BBC News website that both the Austrian government and Austrian public opinion had been hardening against the idea of Turkish membership in recent months.|
|“It’s a lot to do with xenophobia,” he said.|
|“As in other EU states, discussion of EU matters has been very much confined to the political elite. Now this has suddenly become a broader debate and people who are not interested in European affairs fear that it will mean foreigners coming to Austria, and not even Christians — of course there is a bit of Islamophobia in it.”|
The article goes on:
|Public opinion had been influenced by a campaign in the mass-market tabloid Neue Kronenzeitung, he said, while the governing People’s Party was feeling vulnerable after doing badly in regional elections.|
But never mind that for now. There’s more:
|The opposition Socialists and far-right party of Joerg Haider are both against the idea of membership talks with Turkey.|
Not everyone agrees that historical memory plays a part in public disaffection:
|Mr Pelinka rejected the idea that the two sieges of Vienna by the Ottoman army in 1529 and 1683 played a significant role.|
|He pointed out that Napoleon had conquered the country far more recently.|
|Michael Emerson, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, said… “Austria is really a front for France and Germany… Both are in a complicated political situation and public opinion in both countries is 70% to 30% against Turkish membership.”|
Fjordman is also posting on this topic with good information and more links.