Search Penny Hill Press

Monday, September 19, 2011

Muslims in Europe: Promoting Integration and Countering Extremism

Kristin Archick, Coordinator
Specialist in European Affairs

Paul Belkin
Analyst in European Affairs

Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Carl Ek
Specialist in International Relations

Derek E. Mix
Analyst in European Affairs

Many European countries have large and growing Muslim minorities. This is particularly true for the countries of Western Europe that have experienced influxes of Muslim immigrants over the last several decades from a variety of Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries, as well as Turkey and the Balkans. Today, although some Muslims in Europe are recent immigrants, others are second- or third-generation Europeans. While expanding Muslim communities pose significant social and economic policy questions for European governments, the realization that some segments of Europe’s Muslim populations may be susceptible to radicalization and terrorist recruitment has also sparked security concerns in the decade since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

The vast majority of Muslims in Europe are not involved in radical activities. However, events such as the 2004 and 2005 terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, respectively, that were carried out by Muslim citizens or residents, have raised the question of whether European countries have done enough to integrate their Muslim communities and prevent feelings of social exclusion and marginalization. Although not the sole cause of radicalization and terrorism, some experts believe that past failures to fully integrate Muslims into mainstream European society may make some Muslims in Europe more vulnerable to extremist ideologies.

Over the last several years, European governments have stepped up their efforts to improve Muslim integration. These have included introducing new citizenship laws and language requirements, promoting dialogue with Muslim organizations, developing “homegrown” imams more familiar with European culture and traditions, improving educational and economic opportunities for Muslims, and tackling racism and discrimination. At the same time, European governments have also sought to strengthen security measures and tighten immigration and asylum policies to prevent radicalization and combat terrorism.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Europe may be a potential recruiting ground for attacks on the United States or U.S. interests abroad. Successive U.S. administrations and Members of Congress have welcomed European initiatives to promote better integration of Muslims and curtail Islamist extremism in the hopes that such efforts will ultimately help prevent future terrorist incidents. U.S. interest in how European countries are managing their growing Muslim populations has also been motivated by worries about the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), especially given that terrorists with European citizenship have entered U.S. territory on the VWP in the past. Recently, U.S. and European policymakers have also sought to enhance cooperation on measures aimed at countering violent extremism, especially the brand promoted by Al Qaeda. In light of the July 2011 killings in Norway by a right-wing extremist disturbed by what he viewed as Islam’s growing influence in the West, some note that in addition to improving measures to counter Islamist extremists, U.S. and European security services should cooperate on combating threats posed by domestic radicals on both the extreme right and left.

This report examines policies aimed at promoting integration, combating terrorism, and countering violent extremism in five European countries with significant Muslim populations: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The report also evaluates the role of the 27-member European Union (EU) in shaping European laws and policies related to integration and counter-radicalization.

Date of Report:
September 7, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing

Friday, September 16, 2011

European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey’s Accession Negotiations

Vincent Morelli
Section Research Manager

October 2011 will mark the sixth anniversary of the European Union’s decision to proceed with formal negotiations with Turkey toward full membership in the Union. It will also mark the beginning of the annual period when all three European Union institutions, the Council, Commission, and Parliament, provide their assessment of the progress Turkey has made or failed to accomplish in the accession process over the previous year and to issue recommendations on whether and how Turkey’s accession process should proceed. For the 2010 assessments, none of the institutions provided the kind of positive endorsement of the accession talks that pro-EU supporters in Turkey would have hoped for, leading some to believe that the EU might be losing interest in Turkey and that some in Turkey have become even more disillusioned with the EU.

Throughout 2011, the EU has been consumed with its own internal economic and fiscal crisis and apparently has had little time for much else. At the same time, significant developments have taken place in Turkey including a national election in June that returned the governing AK Party to power, a shake-up of the Turkish military, and several foreign policy developments involving Syria, Iran, Cyprus, and Israel. With respect to accession, no additional chapters of the EU’s rules and regulations known as the acquis communautaire were opened in 2011, leaving some to ask whether Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU had reached a complete political and technical stalemate. The principal issues regarding Turkey’s accession continue to be what the EU believes has been too slow of a pace for implementing critical reforms within Turkey and possibly even a few steps backward in the area of press freedoms; Turkey’s continued refusal to extend diplomatic recognition to Cyprus or to live up to its agreement to extend the benefits of its customs union with the EU to Cyprus, including the continued reluctance by Turkey to open its sea and air ports to Cypriot shipping and commerce until a political settlement has been achieved on Cyprus; continued skepticism on the part of many Europeans whether Turkey should be embraced as a member of the European family fueled recently by a UK parliamentary committee report addressing the risks it saw in Turkey becoming a member of the Union; the implications of the growing Muslim population in Europe and the impact Turkey’s admission into the Union would have on Europe’s future; and a perceived ambivalence toward the EU by some in the current Turkish leadership. Comments among some Turks questioning Turkey’s need to join the EU have begun to be heard on a more public and regular basis while discussions of the EU seem to have become less regular in the internal Turkish debate over its future.

This report provides a brief overview of the EU’s accession process and Turkey’s path to EU membership. The U.S. Congress has had a long-standing interest in Turkey as a NATO ally, a regional energy transit hub, and a partner in issues involving the Black Sea, the broader Middle East, and the Caucasus. Although some Members have expressed support for Turkey’s membership in the EU, the level of congressional support seems to have diminished as congressional concerns with several of Turkey’s recent foreign policy developments have surfaced. The 112th Congress may review Turkey’s relations with the United States, the impact of the EU accession process on internal political and economic reforms in Turkey, and Turkey’s apparent intent to become a more independent regional foreign policy influence.

Date of Report: September 9, 2011
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: RS22517
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions

Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) was agreed to in 1982, but the United States never became a signatory nation. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reported the LOS Convention on December 19, 2007. The Senate may choose to address the ambiguities of the LOS Convention with its power to make declarations and statements as provided for in Article 310 of the LOS Convention. Such declarations and statements can be useful in promulgating U.S. policy and putting other nations on notice of U.S. interpretation of the LOS Convention.

In the 111th Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on January 13, 2009, acknowledged that U.S. accession to the LOS Convention would be an Obama Administration priority. Later in this confirmation hearing, Senator John Kerry, the committee chair, confirmed that the LOS Convention would also be a committee priority. However, the Senate took no action on the LOS Convention during the 111th Congress. In the 112th Congress, the Administration is continuing to encourage Senate action on the LOS Convention, and Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is guardedly optimistic.

A possible benefit of U.S. ratification would be the international community’s anticipated positive response to such U.S. action. In addition, early U.S. participation in the development of policies and practices of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and the International Seabed Authority could help to forestall future problems related to living marine resources. On the other hand, some U.S. interests view U.S. ratification as potentially complicating enforcement of domestic marine regulations, and remain concerned that the LOS Convention’s language concerning arbitrary refusal of access to surplus (unallocated) living resources might be a potential source of conflict (in addition to concerns about other provisions of the Convention). These uncertainties reflect the absence of any comprehensive assessment of the social and economic impacts of LOS implementation by the United States.

This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy. As presently understood and interpreted, these provisions generally appear to reflect current U.S. policy with respect to living marine resource management, conservation, and exploitation. Based on these interpretations, they are generally not seen as imposing significant new U.S. obligations, commitments, or encumbrances, while providing several new privileges, primarily related to participation in commissions developing international ocean policy. No new domestic legislation appears to be required to implement the living resources provisions of the LOS Convention.

Date of Report: September 7, 2011
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RL32185
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive

Vincent Morelli
Section Research Manager

Attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island have undergone various levels of negotiation for over 45 years. Throughout 2011, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have continued the negotiation process but have thus far failed to reach a mutually agreed settlement.

Although both sides have intimated that some convergence of views have been achieved in the areas of governance, economy, and EU issues, Christofias and Eroglu have not found common ground on the difficult issues of property rights, security, settlers, and citizenship, areas where both sides have long-held and very different positions and where neither side seems willing or able to make necessary concessions. This stalemate has resulted in a solution for unification far from being achieved and has raised the unfortunate specter of a possible permanent separation.

On July 7, 2011, Christofias and Eroglu traveled to Geneva to meet for a third time with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in another attempt by the U.N. to boost momentum for the talks. Ban suggested that the negotiations conclude by October so that an international conference could be held to discuss security issues and that referenda could be scheduled in both the north and south by the spring of 2012. The hope among some is that a reunified Cyprus can assume the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, 2012.

Over the course of the summer, four events have raised serious doubts regarding a settlement being reached even by the end of 2011, let alone by the October target. The results of parliamentary elections held in Greek Cyprus in May initially appeared to have had no bearing on the status of the negotiations. Recently, however, the last remaining partner in the governing coalition, the DIKO Party, withdrew from the coalition, leaving President Christofias without a majority in Parliament and isolating him in the negotiations. On July 11 a tragic munitions explosion at the Mari naval base killed several people and damaged a major power generating station. Christofias has borne the wrath of the Cypriot people for this tragedy and has been forced to reshuffle his cabinet and defend his Presidency. Third, in mid-July, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, on a visit to northern Cyprus, warned that an agreement needed to be achieved by the end of 2011 or the island could remain split and stated that no security or territorial compromises by the Turkish Cypriots would be acceptable. He also stated that Turkey would essentially freeze its relations with the EU during the Cypriot presidency of the EU if there were no solution to the Cyprus issue because Ankara could not accept the presidency of South Cyprus, which it does not recognize. These comments led Cypriot President Christofias to state that there could be no prospect for peace if this was also the position of the Turkish Cypriots. Finally, the Government of Cyprus announced that it would soon begin drilling for natural gas off the southern coast of Cyprus prompting both Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots to protest that such a move would jeopardize the settlement negotiations.

The United States Congress continues to maintain its interest in a resolution of the Cyprus issue. Language expressing continued support for the negotiation process has been included in the House FY2012 Foreign Assistance Authorization bill.

This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.

Date of Report: August 2
3, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R4
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.