The EU’s hot air balloon and Turkey
In 1997, there were three industrial countries on the southern flank of Europe: Israel, Turkey and Poland. Now, they are five. Hungary and Romania have joined the list, and the share of Poland in the total manufacturing exports has increased considerably. Turkey, Hungary and Romania have also increased their exports, all due to the EU enlargement process. Neither Romania nor Hungary could be considered significant industrial countries in 1997. They are now. And Poland, which could be compared to Turkey back in 1997, has become the major industrial country in our region. Why? Because EU membership has significantly lowered the cost of reform or transformation in those three. Yet this transformation machine is not working anymore. The EU is governing the most modern and progressive places on earth, which makes its confusion all the more upsetting. We can only hope that it snaps out of its rut and begins to lead once again. If it does, the first thing it needs to do with regards to Turkey is to de-politicize the Customs Union modernization process, and get it done.