Greece is asking for a full suspension of the customs union between EU and Turkey.
The letter was send by the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, to the European Commission’s enlargement chief, Oliver Varhelyi. A copy of the letter has also been send to the EC Vice Presindent, Valdis Dombrovskis.
In the letter, N. Dendias states that the Commission should consider the full suspension of the customs union “as a message of disapproval for Turkey’s ongoing illegal behavior” against the European Union.
He also notes that Turkey continues to “unilaterally violate the EU-Turkey customs union by adopting unforeseen tariffs, as well as legislative and other measures”.
Ana Pisonero, spokesperson of European Commission has confirmed that the Commissioner, O. Varhelyi, received the Greek letter.
“The Commission takes note of the letter, including its call for legal action under the customs union and considering further suspension of the union. We will duly analyze it and we will reply in due course” said A. Pisonero.
President of the EPP Group, Manfred Weber, tweeted: “Turkish provocations did not stop after multiple attempts for dialogue from #EUCO. I fully support all options to react to Erdogan’s escalation in the #EeastMed. This includes a possible suspension of the customs union and specific measures against individuals”
The final phase of the EC-Turkey Customs Union entered into force on 1 July 1996.
It secures free circulation of goods, with the exception of agricultural, coal and steel products. Services and public procurement are also excluded.
The Customs Union has been highly beneficial for Turkey.
In 2019, Turkey was the EU’s 5th largest trading partner, export market and provider of imports. Turkey’s main export markets are the EU ( 42.4%), UK, Iraq, USA and Israel.
The EU is by far Turkey’s number one import and export partner, as well as source of investments.