The FINANCIAL — While more than ¾ of Turkish businesses are strongly in favour of joining the EU, for most of them the prospect of accession is still a far-away reality: 72% of them have not yet started preparation to comply with the acquis communautaire and a vast majority of companies (95%) have no idea of the related compliance costs.
Two days ahead of the release of the European Commission’s “Turkey 2008 Progress Report”, a EUROCHAMBRES/TOBB survey conducted among nearly 3000 Turkish companies shows that Turkish businesses are not yet ready for EU accession, and this mainly because of a lack of information on EU legislation and on the advancement of the accession negotiation process.
The smaller the company, the less it is informed about EU legislation. 76% of big companies consider that they are fully or partly informed about the acquis, while the percentage drops to 37% for SMEs.
Commenting on these findings during a conference in Brussels, Pierre Simon, President of EUROCHAMBRES, said: “The information gap about the acquis in the enterprise sector is not particular to Turkey and was already identified in the context of previous enlargements. Nevertheless, survey results call for further efforts to ensure that information on the acquis is reached by the largest number of Turkish companies, especially smaller ones. The lack of information among Turkish businesses on the conditions for, and consequences of, EU accession may lead not only un-preparedness to cope with the Community Single Market, but also to mistrust vis-à-vis the accession process.”
Tamer Taşkın, Member of the Executive Board of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), added: “The prospect of EU accession should be a powerful catalyst towards the reforms in Turkey. In order to keep Turkish enterprises motivated to continue reforms, it is very important to enhance communication and mutual understanding between both business community and to a larger extent both civil societies to overcome any misperceptions. This is exactly what Chambers are committed to doing.”
Turkish companies see seminars, workshops and conferences as the best tools to fill their information gap, and recognize a role for Chambers of Commerce in improving their knowledge about EU-related issues. In this respect, the ETCF project can play a crucial role, since it was specifically designed to carry out training seminars, partnerships between Turkish and European Chambers, or the publication of manuals on selected EU legislation.