Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bucharest gives Brussels a headache

A point we've raised before: if one is looking for a reason why EU citizens might be disillusioned with the eastern enlargement process, there's no need to consider the very down-the-road prospect of admission of Turkey. The admission of Romania, arguably the most loony of the Communist dictatorships, is just 18 months away.

While the European Commission is a bit upset about their steel subsidies, the concerns take on a more practical aspect for the Irish government, which is still receiving and then generally deporting asylum seekers from Romania. The latest manifestation of the problem arose yesterday:

A seven-year-old boy has been left behind in Tralee, Co Kerry, after his parents and four-year-old brother were sent back to Romania as part of a mass deportation late last night.

It's not clear whether police couldn't find the kid or if he might have been born in Ireland and is thus a citizen under pre-McDowell rules. Now there's a legitimate argument that the Republic's attitude to immigrants flies in the face of its past benefit from other countries' laxness on this score, but leave that aside for now. How can Brussels possibly make the judgement that Romania, capable of generating this level of unhappiness amongst its citizens, is just about ready to join the EU (except for the steel subsidies)?