The European Union is lobbying to broaden economic ties with Turkey, a country seen critical to solving the current refugee crisis, in a step that could allow its eastern neighbor to participate in the looming U.S.-E.U. free trade deal, Handelsblatt has learned.
A new European Commission paper on trade policy for the coming years, seen by Handelsblatt, called for a “modernized customs union” that opens up areas like services, agriculture and public procurement to greater competition. The existing trade and investment partnership between the European Union and Turkey is “sub-optimal,” the paper said.
The support from Brussels comes at a key time in E.U.-Turkish relations, with Turkey demanding more economic aid to stop the wave of refugees that have been moving toward Europe’s borders. A preliminary deal to work together to solve the refugee crisis was reached when Turkish President Racep Tayyip Erdogan visited Brussels last week.
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