Sunday, 20 March 2011

Turkey's Top EU Negotiator Says Country Won't Necessarily Join Euro Zone

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Turkey wouldn't necessarily adopt the euro if it joins the European Union, the country's top E.U. negotiator said Friday.

"Even if we become a member, we do not have to have to come into the euro zone immediately," said Egeman Bagis, Turkey's Minister for E.U. Affairs.

He pointed to the U.K. and Sweden---E.U. members that have kept their own currencies--as examples of what Ankara may decide if Brussels votes to include the country in its regional pact.

But Bagis cautioned that Turkey hasn't yet made a final decision whether it would be worth its while. "We will cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm not saying we will, I'm not saying we won't," he told Dow Jones Newswires at a briefing at the Turkish embassy in Washington.

He said that although Europe's ongoing economic crisis had created additional political friction for the Turkey's efforts to join the union, the country's healthy growth also has potentially strengthened its long-term negotiating position.

"My new slogan is, 'Hold on tight Europe, Turkey's coming to your rescue,'" Bagis said. "We can help the E.U. get out of this difficult situation," Bagis said. "Europe needs Turkey economically, Europe needs Turkey's young and dynamic workforce, Europe needs Turkey's access to reach 70% of the energy resources that it so desperately needs."


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