In the last two years, the European Region took significant decisions of which we expect to see long-term impacts not only within the European Union but also on a much broader region.

The EU’s announcement of the European Green Deal on December 11, 2019, envisaging a major economic transformation with the goal of transforming Europe into the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 was the most important one among these decisions. The developments regarding green transformation in the EU had a significant impact on our activities and projects as DEİK/European Business Councils.

The European Commission announced the Fit for 55 package on July 14, 2021, which is part of the European Green Deal and includes a goal to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Subsequently, the ‘Green Deal Action Plan’, a roadmap prepared by our Ministry of Trade aimed at encouraging green transformation, was published on July 16, 2021.

In this context, our European Business Councils successfully maintained their activities in the last 2 years, committed to their busy working schedules, despite the pandemic conditions.
Our intensive contacts on the issues of ‘Green Transformation’ and ‘Updating the Customs Union’ that we follow closely as the EU Working Group, which maintains its activities under the roof of our European Business Councils, continued in the last two years. In our contacts with Ambassadors, Ministers and high-level officials, we emphasized that our activities on ‘Updating the Customs Union’ is important for the future of Türkiye-EU trade.

With regards to the update of the Customs Union Agreement between Türkiye and the EU, entered into force in 1996, as the European Business Councils, we emphasize the importance that the Customs Union practices should be expanded to cover fields such as the agricultural sector, public procurement, services, and e-commerce. Within the scope of the project, we carried out a study discussing the existing Customs Union Agreement for the first time from the perspective of green transformation and digitalization. During our visit to Brussels before the pandemic, we met with the members of the EU Commission and the EU Parliament and held the introductory meeting for the Customs Union report in cooperation with Bruegel, one of the pioneering think tanks.

We hosted Ingo Friedrich, President of the European Economic Senate, and his accompanying business delegation in Istanbul. In cooperation with the EU Delegation to Türkiye, we met with the EU Ambassadors in Ankara and initiated a discussion for the Customs Union from different perspectives. We organized webinars with the participation of EBRD and EU Commission members.

Within the scope of our green transformation project, we evaluated the future of Türkiye-EU relations in terms of the risks and opportunities the European Green Deal brings along for our businesspeople. Our Türkiye-Sweden Business Council touched upon green energy, Türkiye-Denmark Business Council on agriculture and food, Türkiye-Bulgaria Business Council on sustainable future and green deal, Türkiye-Germany and Türkiye-Poland Business Councils on cooperation opportunities in the automotive sector, Türkiye-Austria Business Council on smart cities and relevant technologies, Türkiye-Czechia Business Council on developments in nanotechnology, Türkiye-Finland Business Council cyber security, artificial intelligence technologies, real estate and construction technologies, entrepreneurship and start-up cooperation.

Türkiye-United Kingdom Business Council leaned on the issues of Türkiye-United Kingdom Cooperation in Transition to Green Economy after Brexit and the signed Free Trade Agreement: Opportunities and Barriers in the Electric-Electronics Sector and Supply Chain, cooperation in the agriculture and livestock sector.

Our Balkan Business Councils maintained their activities to reinforce the power and significance of our Turkish businesspeople and to voice the problems experienced by our investor companies in the region. Our Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia Business Councils hosted many meetings as part of high-level official visits.

Meetings were held by the relevant Councils within the scope of the visits of Presidents of Malta and Croatia, the Prime Minister of the czechia, and the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade to Türkiye. Business Forums were held within the scope of our Minister of Trade’s visits to Romania and Croatia. Under our trade diplomacy activities, our Türkiye-United Kingdom Business Council carried out activities to convey the views of our business world to the relevant authorities prior to the Free Trade Agreement signed between the two countries after Brexit.

Türkiye-Bulgaria Business Council keeps contributing to the activities to solve the problem within the framework of the customs queues with Bulgaria, our gateway to Europe. In order for increasing mutual awareness in trade with Türkiye and the Baltic countries, Türkiye-Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia Business Councils held meetings for the business world of Samsun, Sakarya, and Kayseri. Türkiye-Netherlands, Austria, and Finland Business Councils held meetings on women’s entrepreneurship, the problems women face in business life, and women in technology.