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Former Greek Finance Minister Says European Union Done Expanding

Contact: Patrick Verel
(212) 636-7790

Yannos Papantoniou
Photo By Michael Dames
Don’t look for Turkey to join the European Union (EU) any time soon, according to a former Greek cabinet member. Yannos Papantoniou, a former minister for national defense and national economy for Greece, predicted at a speech on March 5 that the EU, which last expanded by 10 countries in 2004, will keep its membership at the current level of 27 nations for the foreseeable future.

“There seems to be no desire for adding many new members, because it is thought that the absorption capacity of the union does not allow for any substantial new enlargement,” Papantoniou said. “I think people in Europe say, ‘Enough.’ The theory is, adding to the existing level of membership would weaken the union’s capacity to act in a coherent fashion.”

Papantoniou’s lecture, “Enlargement and the Future of European Economic Integration,” took place at Dealy Hall on the Rose Hill campus. His visit, part of a two-week tour of the United States, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which marked the official beginning of the EU’s precursor, the European Community. It was sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.

In introducing Papantoniou, Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., director of the graduate program in International Political Economy and Development, noted that normally a cabinet-level official of his caliber would speak to a group in the hundreds, rather than the 30 or so students who engaged Papantoniou in a question-and-answer segment after his lecture.

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 15,600 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a commuter campus in Westchester, and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.

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