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Turkey: Commission requests Council mandate to modernise customs agreement

The European Commission has formally requested a mandate from the European Council to open negotiations with Turkey on modernising and extending the scope of its Customs Union agreement with the EU. The agreement would expand trade relations to agriculture, services, public procurement and increase regulatory convergence to reflect current EU-Turkey trade relations.

This is despite the European Parliament’s recommendation that the Commission suspends EU accession talks with Turkey following a non-binding resolution by MEPs in November. While the EU-Turkey customs agreement was mentioned in the Parliament’s resolution, no clear action on trade-related matters was listed. The Commission’s press release states that “respect of democracy and fundamental rights will be an essential element of the agreement”.

The request from the Commission is expected to be discussed in January during the Council meeting of the Trade Council’s Policy Committee.

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