Bringing business chambers together
To meet the challenges of joining the single market, the Turkish business community had to improve its knowledge of the EU. As a first port of call, they turned to their business chambers to provide them with the necessary expertise and services. To facilitate this demand for information, an earlier EU project set up the EU-Turkey Chambers Forum (ETCF), which laid the groundwork for establishing contacts between both business communities. However, a 2008 ETCF survey found that there was room for significant improvement in the quality of services on EU issues provided by Turkish chambers to their member companies.
The aims of the project and its core activities
The goal of this project, which was the second phase of the successful ETCF programme, was to increase cooperation between Turkish and European chambers and business communities, thus enhancing the capacity of Turkish chambers and their role in the EU accession process.
There were two components to the project. The first funded the creation of an EU–Turkey Chambers Development Forum, which aimed to bolster the understanding of Turkish companies of the acquis, or the legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of European Union law. In order to gauge what Turkish companies already knew about these issues, a survey of 3,700 companies was conducted. In a related exercise, 1,700 EU companies were quizzed about their perspectives towards Turkey, both from a business and enlargement angle.
With the help of EU experts, an acquis compliance audit was also developed to test individual companies’ levels of conformity with EU rules in six areas: environment, consumer protection, health and safety at work, foodstuff, chemicals and products requiring CE marking. Almost 250 companies underwent this audit, which was subsequently made available on the EU-Turkish Chambers Forum II website.
In all, 63 Turkish chambers and 46 EU chambers participated in at least one of the ETCF II activities.