Swede minister praises Turkish entrepreneurs

Swede minister praises Turkish entrepreneurs

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Swede minister praises Turkish entrepreneurs

Turkey and Sweden may collaborate in many sectors, especially in telecommunications, says Minister Bjorling while responding Daily News questions. DAILY NEWS photo

The European Union needs the entrepreneurial spirit of Turkey, particularly as it is struggling with the eurozone crisis, according to Swedish Trade Minister Dr. Ewa Björling.

“I think this will also be rather natural for Turkey, since the EU is the most important trade partner for Turkey,” Björling told the Hürriyet Daily News on Jan. 16. “And for us, Turkey is an important partner, too. So it will be a win-win situation, I believe.”

Björling attended the launch of the Swedish Sustainable Business Community in Turkey organized by the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey and Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of the conference, Björling said Turkey was very important for the EU in reaching the rest of the world, especially the Middle East, noting its access to important markets in all directions.

“Turkey is a huge and important country with a society of 75 million people. More countries must realize that it is necessary to restart the EU negotiations [with Turkey] again; both parties need to come back to the table and continue. You should not give up, that is my message both for the EU and Turkey,” Björling said.

She also expressed support for her counterpart, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, with whom she met Jan. 16. “Sweden has been supportive, we are supportive and we will continue to be supportive of Turkey’s EU membership.”

Need for young workforce

Björling said that due to their demographic situation, Sweden needed more young people for the country’s workforce.

“We have the most liberal labor migration law today throughout Europe. It is because we have realized that we need to have more people from other countries, young people that can work in Sweden.

Within the next 20-30 years, we will have more and more elderly people and fewer young people of working age. Turkey could be a good source for that [labor],” Björling said.

Björling said Turkey and Sweden could collaborate in many other sectors, especially the telecom and mobile operation sectors.

“One extremely important area is within telecom and the mobile operators’ area. Therefore it is also important for the Turkish government to discuss the next generation when it comes to 4G. Today, you have a 3G generation but you [need to] also open up for the next step as we have done in Sweden,” Björling said.

The minister also said Sweden and Turkey could conduct significant collaboration if Turkey chose to move more toward clean and green energy.

“This is also important for the whole world – ‘cleantech’ [clean technology] and environmental technology. Sweden has got a lot of solutions for that. It is also something that is being discussed more and more worldwide. I hope we will have some more formal agreements in the future within this area,” she said.

Björling did not speculate on whether a Swedish automobile company would be involved in the production of the first domestic Turkish car in Turkey but added that she would like to see more Swedish companies in the country as well as more Turkish firms in Sweden.

“And if that will involve car production, it’s fine. We can also see a sign that it is moving in that direction since we have the Swedish Autoliv company established in Turkey,” she said.

Björling also said the Swedish consulate had signed an agreement with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce that will ease visa procedures for Turkish businessmen coming to the Scandinavian country.