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.

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