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Today's Zaman

Owen: Turkey could play lead role in European market model

10 June 2012, Sunday /KADİR UYSALOĞLU
Former United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen has designated Turkey “a leading European country” to benefit from the implementation of his proposal for a European single market model.

The model, an attempt to counter a more fiscally integrated Europe in response to a proposal led by Germany, is explicated in Lord Owen’s new e-book, “Europe Restructured?” “A broadly participated ‘European single market’ extending from Iceland to Turkey, also encompassing the eurozone, would constitute a new economic opening,” said Lord Owen, speaking to Today’s Zaman in an interview on Sunday.

Maintaining that Turkey does not need to enter into a German-led plan for closer financial integration, and would not accept such a plan, Lord Owen claimed this is the fault of the EU for failing to award Turkey membership. In his proposed model, Lord Owen asserts that countries like Turkey, the United Kingdom, Norway and Poland should take a leading role. “The model I am offering befits Turkey more than a single-currency European Union. Turkey should be invited to the negotiations for a European community with a single market,” Lord Owen said during the interview.

He commented that Turkey, which has begun to emerge as an influential nation on foreign policy and security issues, would not allow its economy and banking sector to be controlled by the EU.

The United Kingdom has been outside the eurozone from the beginning, having opted out of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 that required the adoption of the common currency. Recalling the mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA), which regulates the relations of some member and non-member countries to the EU economy, Owen claimed that countries like Turkey could be integrated into the EEA with full member status in order to realize his plan. He said this would not invalidate the eurozone, but would render it no longer the sole decision-making mechanism in European economic affairs.

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