The Turkey-European Union summit to be held in Varna on March 26 is important in terms of re-aligning relations with the union. The visa liberalization and updating of customs union come to the fore among the issues being focused on by the business world, Turkish daily Dünya reported.
The summit will bring together President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The summit is one of the most important agendas of the Turkish business world, such as the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD), the Turkish Industrialists and Businesspeople's Association (TÜSİAD), the Economic Development Foundation (İKV), the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM) and the International Transporters Association of Turkey (UND). Sector representatives think that progress can be made in the meeting with regard to the issues on the agenda with the EU and pending solutions.
The business world expects concrete steps to be taken in various issues such as visa liberalization and updating the customs union at the meeting to be held on Monday, March 26. The fact that the summit will take place in Bulgaria, where border crossing problems have recently intensified, has also given hope to Turkish transporters whose preliminary anticipation of the meeting is concrete steps on the settlement of quotas, tolls and visa requirements with the EU for the transport of Turkish export goods.
TÜSİAD Chairman Erol Bilecik pointed out that the summit is an important opportunity for both sides. Suggesting that the relations can be a positive source of energy for the citizens of the EU and Turkey again, Turkey's progress in the membership process with success is a major global power issue. He also stressed that Turkey's relations with the EU need a comprehensive agenda that includes items such as: The completion of the process of visa liberalization, initiating the updating of customs union negotiations, resumption and deeper cooperation in the field of security and migration, increasing compliance in the digital economy and energy policy, and rule of democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms and laws that form the basis of healthy and sustainable progress in all of these areas.
TİM Chairman Mehmet Büyükekşi stated that the summit is of great importance for both Turkey and the EU. "We attach special importance to the issue of updating the customs union as exporters. We know that headlines such as public procurement, investment and agriculture, which are supposed to be included in the deal with the update, will carry our economic ties to a much higher level by providing significant contributions to both our country and the EU," Büyükekşi said, adding that they expect the quota and transit documentary applications to be also taken into consideration in the summit and lifted as soon as possible, along with a solution for the visa liberalization issue.
MÜSİAD Chairman Abdurrahman Kaan said the fact that the EU has made changes in visa policy and brought various conveniences is a positive development for Turkey, stressing that the arrangement to increase the visa fee is quite a thought-provoking topic. "Visa application costs are not limited to application fees only. However, there are many additional items. This decision must be reviewed. A large number of our citizens are doing business with Europe," he continued. "They invest in Europe and therefore often have to travel. The lifting of visas will be a definitive solution for Turkey."
UND Chairman Çetin Nuhoğlu highlighted that the March 26 summit is of particular importance for Turkish transporters because of the fact that it is more planned and comprehensive than the previous meeting and held in Bulgaria where border crossing problems are taking place. Noting that among their expectations in the summit as the sector is a step toward the settlement of quotas, tolls and visa problems experienced with the EU in moving Turkish export goods, Nuhoğlu said it was announced in a study conducted by independent research organizations with the order of the European Commission that in case of the lifting of quotas the total trade between Turkey and EU will increase by 3.5 billion euros.
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