Businesses in Holland eye strong euro, more Turkey trade
Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers Chairman Bernard Wientjes.The head of the leading business organization in the Netherlands believes that Europe’s future lies in the continuation of a single currency system, which will eventually include Turkey.
“The concerns as to whether the euro will survive are over. The collapse of the eurozone would be the collapse of Europe, which would be a disaster, and no one wants to be responsible for that,” Bernard Wientjes, the head of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), told a group of visiting Turkish journalists this week.
Wientjes said it was therefore necessary to do everything possible to save the euro, including giving more time to ailing countries such as Greece to implement the measures.
With its strong economy and relatively fast growth in comparison to European countries, Turkey is an essential partner of the eurozone, according to Wientjes, who heads the largest employers’ organization in the Netherlands with more than 115,000 enterprises, both medium-sized companies and corporate institutions.
“Turkey has a very strong economy. Our members investing in Turkey are really optimistic,” said the VNO-NCW head. “The Turkish economy’s weak side is the trade balance and the current account deficit. Investors love stability, but there will be no problem as long as the trust in the Turkish economy continues.”
Wientjes will be accompanying Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in his visit to Turkey on Nov. 6-7.
“We have excellent business relations with Turkey, with a bilateral trade volume of just over $7 billion,” he said. “And just like our colleagues in Turkey, [we] believe that the future of Turkey lies in the EU and the eurozone.”
Wientjes said the visit to Turkey, which is also a part of the events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, will lead the way toward better relations between Turkish and Dutch businesspeople. He also voiced strong support for Turkey’s EU bid.
Pushing for visas
“We as the organization have been very clear: Turkey should be part of the EU and the eurozone eventually,” said Wientjes. “But of course, this is the business view, and the issue will be decided by politicians. We are pushing our government to ease the visa process to boost relations and support Turkey’s membership bid.”
The top businessman said he expected the new coalition government, which is expected to be established soon between the liberals and social democrats, would be more international and EU-oriented as opposed to the previous administration.
There is no anti-Turkish mentality in the Netherlands, and that will also help the government, according to Wientjes.
“The Turks in the Netherlands are totally integrated into the community,” he said. “In fact, the problem is that the talented, well-educated second- and third-generation Turks are now leaving for Turkey.”