Container harbour in Istanbul

The Future of the EU's Customs Union with Turkey

Still a candidate for membership in the European Union, Turkey has outgrown the status of one-sided dependency on the EU. Ankara has developed a more independent foreign policy that entails both areas for cooperation with Brussels but also for conflicts with the EU and its member states. Cases in point are the cooperation on migration on the one side and tensions with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean on the other. The EU needs working channels for communication and cooperation with Turkey. However, membership negations are stalled, talks on visa liberalization are stuck, and the European Council is blocking the opening of talks to re-negotiate the Customs Union. To look for ways to overcome the deadlock, CATS and think tanks from five EU member states are looking into the respective national debates on the economic and political pros and cons of renegotiating the Customs Union. We find an overall interest in the deepening of economic cooperation and a variety of political issues to be addressed once working relations with Turkey are established.

The reports written in the frame of this project are part of a joint endeavour in which the Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) cooperates with the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), Paris; Elcano Royal Institute (Elcano), Madrid; The Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Warsaw; Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome; and Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Athens.