The World Bank welcomes European Council decision on December 17th, 2004 to start accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005. „The World Bank applauds the decision and commits itself to helping Turkey implement the economic and social reforms which are central to its quest to become a member of the European Union,“ said Shigeo Katsu, Regional Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. He added, „In developing our strategy to support Turkish membership, we will apply the experience gained in supporting the countries of the Baltics and Central Europe in pursuing essential pre-accession reforms.“
The World Bank commends Turkey on the progress made leading up to the Council’s decision and congratulates the government on the comprehensive and sound Pre-Accession Economic Program (PEP) submitted to the European Commission which sets out the further structural changes that will be required as Turkey pursues its EU agenda.
During the accession process, the World Bank will focus its technical and financial support on public sector reforms, improvements in the business climate and Turkey’s social programs to help create the conditions for sustained growth and better living standards which will pave the way for full integration into the EU. Further support will include advice on use of EU financial assistance during the negotiation process as well as building capacity to meet EU standards.
„The decision of the EU Heads of States and Governments is a historic turning point for Europe, for Turkey and for the Turkish economy. While much work and a number of years lie ahead for Turkey to meet the economic criteria for EU membership, the accession process set to start in October 2005 has the potential in Turkey, as it did in the ten EU members which joined on May 1, to increase investor confidence as harmonization reforms continue and to bring lasting benefits to the citizens of Turkey, as well as to Europe as a whole. The World Bank stands ready to assist Turkey in this important process towards integration with Europe,“ said Andrew Vorkink, Country Director for Turkey.