- A possible future membership in the European Union (EU) for Cape Verde today was a major topic of discussion in Lisbon, Portugal. The idea is promoted by Portuguese ex-President Mário Soares, who is to take the issue to Brussels, and veteran academic Adriano Moreira. Cape Verde, they hold, would become a bridge between Africa and Europe if made an EU member state.
The issue today has been discussed in the journal 'A Capital' and at a conference organised by the Society of Geography. Notably, the Ambassador of Cape Verde to Portugal, Onésimo Silveira, participated at the conference, which was headed by ex-President Soares.
Mr Soares and Mr Moreira, two of Portugal's main senator, in interviews with 'A Capital' strongly defended an EU membership for Cape Verde on the longer run "for political reasons, rather regarding identity than distance." Cape Verde, they said, was much closer to Europe than for example Turkey.
The two Portuguese senators said they hoped that Durão Barroso, the current President of the European Commission and also a Portuguese citizen, would give his support to this cause. Mr Soares and Mr Moreira assured they would remain "supports and spokesmen" of this project.
- Cape Verde is an excellent platform for relationship between Europe and Africa and also for the strengthening of the organisation of the CPLP [Portuguese speaking countries]," Mr Moreira, an old friend of Cape Verde said in the interview with 'A Capital'. Also Mr Soares - the first Portuguese politician to defend a European Union membership for Cape Verde - holds that there is nothing hindering such a project.
To make the project known, the International Academy of Portuguese Culture, presided over for Mr Moreira, is today promoting the conference on the issue by the Lisbon Society of Geography. Several prominent members of Portuguese society participate in the event, among them the new Minister of Foreign affaires, Freitas do Amaral, and the 1959-62 Governor of Cape Verde, Silvino Silvério Marques.
According to Mr Soares, Cape Verde has better conditions of becoming an effective member of the EU than Turkey. Turkey, he said, presented innumerable problems regarding democracy and human rights, besides being a Muslim country. Quite oppositely, the Christian nation Cape Verde today is seen as an example of democracy and a "last border" of Western society in this part of the globe.
- Cape Verde has one foot in Africa, or perhaps it has both, but the head in many ways is directed towards Europe, where also its roots seem to go in search of nutrition to develop, commented Lydian Balcony of 'A Capital'.
Next to that writes editor Osório Luis: "If Europe is going to open up to Turkey (...), and in that way open a window towards Asia, then Cape Verde will be an entrance door to the great African continent. Europe would then also start being a psychological space, where three continents meet; a multi-cultural territory, open to the world."
The government of Cape Verde, which had sent its Ambassador to the Lisbon gathering, at several stages has expressed its interest in a closer relation with the EU. In 2002, Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves supported the idea of a "Special Status" within the EU, making it possible for the archipelago to obtain some structural funds in the same way as the neighbouring Spanish Canary Islands and the Portuguese Azores and Madeira Islands.
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