TÜRKONFED Visits Brussels

During their visit to Brussels on 29 February – 2 March, TÜRKONFED delegation, headed by the President of the Board of Directors, Tarkan Kadooğlu, met Dr. Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

During the visit, President Kadooğlu shared information about TURKONFED mission and activities and underlined their membership to UEAPME, the largest umbrella organization of European SMEs. Furthermore he emphasized that they are closely following the European Union accession process, with a special focus on the EU – Turkey Customs Union and TTIP negotiations.

The messages of TURKONFED delegation to Commissioner Hahn focused on three topics.

Kadooğlu conveyed the criticism of the Turkish business community on the politicization of the accession negotiations and stated that the refugee crises would have been diminished if the Turkish EU integration process had moved faster. He also underlined that the integration of Turkey to European Union and deepening of the political coordination will play a crucial role in the political and economic stability of Europe and Middle East.

Kadooğlu stated that, “as a key component of the economic convergence between Turkey and EU we hope to see a rapid and steady progress of the Customs Union modernization.” As the voice of Turkish SMEs, the TURKONFED delegation urged EU stakeholders to press for conducting a needs and impact assessment for SMEs throughout the CU modernization process and furthermore include a dedicated “SME chapter” to address the specific needs of SMEs.

As for the TTIP negotiations, Mr. Kadooğlu stated that the inclusion of Turkey into the EU-US partnership would create a win-win-win scenario. Specifically he urged for the concretization of the “docking” mechanism for third parties.

Referring to the EU Council meeting which will take place next week with participation of Prime Minister Davutoğlu, where the common action plan on migration will be discussed, Commissioner Hahn stated that “we should not need the refugee crisis to understand the importance of EU-Turkey relations.”

Alluding to some common challenges and opportunities of Turkish-EU economic relations, Hahn indicated that in a scenario where the Schengen system would be suspended and border/custom controls would be activated, the European economy would suffer a damage of 100 billion Euros. Such a scenario would also reflect negatively on Turkish-EU economic relations.

Finally, Hahn stated that while the TTIP negotiations are foreseen to be completed by the end of 2016, in case there is a delay in the process the TTIP negotiations and Customs Union modernisation can proceed in conjunction with each other.

TÜRKONFED Brussels Visit Photo Gallery