EU calls Turkey ‘strategic partner’

Turkey and the European Union are strategic partners, said the European Commission's vice-president for jobs, growth, investment, and competitiveness on Friday.

We need each other to thrive economically and solve major common international challenges, said Jyrki Katainen, after meeting Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek as part of the E.U.-Turkey High-Level Economic Dialogue in Brussels.

Katainen and Simsek, who is a minister responsible for the Turkish economy, met to discuss strengthening economic relations between the two partners and to create a platform to bring business circles together, according to the European Commission's website.

Katainen said both Turkish and European business people want an update to the Customs Union agreement between the bloc and Ankara, as well as visa liberation.

Despite not being a member of the EU, Turkey is a member of the customs union agreement since 1995, but this does not cover agriculture (except processed agricultural products), services or public procurement right now.

Ankara wants to include services, government contracting and most agricultural goods.

Earlier today, Simsek said Turkey wants to update the customs unions agreement with the European Union because Turkish companies are not afraid of competition from companies in the EU.

An update of the customs unions agreement between the EU and Turkey is in everyone's interest, Simsek told the Turkish Economy conference organized by the European Policy Center in Brussels.

Source: Anadolu Agency