Summary: The paper analyses the likely political and economic impacts of Turkish membership of the EU for the Union itself. It asks whether Turkish accession can be managed in a similar way to that of other enlargements or whether critics are right that Turkey is too big, too poor, has too dangerous borders and is insufficiently u0091Europeanu0092 to join the Union. Turkey was officially recognised as an EU candidate in December 1999, and in December 2002, the European Council announced that if Turkey met its political u0091Copenhagenu0092 criteria by the end of 2004 it would open negotiations without delay. Since then, major political reforms in Turkey have promoted democratisation, and led to considerable steps forward in the area of human rights including minority rights and in the area of civilian control of the military. At the same time, reforms are not complete and there are particular problems in many areas of implementation of reform including in the human rights area. Turkey is a large country in population terms and a small one in economic terms. If Turkey joins the Union in 2015 it will have a population of 82.1 million, slightly smaller than that of Germany at 82.4 million. By 2025, at 87 million people, Turkey will be the largest EU member state and will account for 15.5% of the EUu0092s total population. Looking forward to 2050, population is predicted to stabilise at 97 million u0096 17.7% of EU-28u0092s total population. Today, Turkeyu0092s economy is just 1.9% of EU-25 GDP. Assuming average annual growth of 5%, it would be 2.9% of GDP on accession in 2015. Turkeyu0092s GDP per head (at purchasing power parity) is only 27% of the EU average. Given its small size, Turkish accession will have minimal impact on the EU economy. As a large poor country, Turkey will be eligible for significant budget transfers from the Union. Likely budget flows in the first three years of Turkish membership are estimated at a total of u008045.5 billion, i.e. around u008015 billion a year. Turkeyu0092s own contributions to th
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