The EU and Turkey should pay more attention to economic cooperation in the course of bilateral negotiations, said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, at the 13th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting.
“Turkey has had a difficult time, and it is important for the EU that Turkey is strong. We believe it is important to stay in touch, to keep communications open, not to stop any sort of discussions and negotiations between Europe and Turkey. We need to focus more on further strengthening the economy in Turkey and stabilising the country and our relationship. We should focus on upgrading the customs union, continuing our high-level economic dialogue and energy cooperation. If we are able to be successful in this, we can stabilise the situation,” Hahn said.
He suggested that to move Turkey’s EU accession negotiation forward, the parties should open Chapters 23 and 24, dealing with the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, for his part, said that his country was prepared to discuss these issues, adding that recent steps taken by the Turkish government contributed to strengthening the democracy and the rule of law.
“This is exactly what Turkey needs. Turkey needs engagement. But the point is you cannot understand Turkey today without a proper analysis of what it is going through,” he said.
He welcomed the European commissioner’s call to pay more attention to economic cooperation.
“Our trade volume with the EU last year was 160bn dollars. We could easily double this within a decade or so if we were to expand the customs union to include public procurement, which would be a reform of services and agriculture. Turkey is ready to move on that, Europe is doing an impact analysis, and we are doing our own. This means real jobs will be created, this means a new generation of the free trade agreement, and this means Turkey remains strongly anchored to the European Union,” he concluded←Back to news list