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Brussels, my love? What Brussels think about the Turkish elections and the EU flag debate

Host Méabh Mc Mahon with Marisa Matias, Demir Murat Seyrek and Ricardo Borges de Castro
Host Méabh Mc Mahon with Marisa Matias, Demir Murat Seyrek and Ricardo Borges de Castro Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Méabh Mc MahonPaul Larroque-Hoppenot & Luis Albertos
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In this edition of Brussels, my love?, panelists discuss EU/Turkish relations in light of the recent Turkish elections as well as the encouraging news about growth across Europe.


This week, we were joined by Marisa Matias, Portuguese MEP from The Left group in the European Parliament, Demir Murat Seyrek, Professor at VUB and the Brussels School of Governance and Ricardo Borges de Castro, an Associate Director at the European Policy Centre.

The panelists discussed one of the most important votes of 2023 - the knife-edge elections in Turkey that brought about no clear winner but saw a record turnout of 88.9%.  Millions of Turks at home and abroad will vote again on 28 May to choose between current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his main rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

"I think in Europe, many people claim that democracy in Turkey is dead. It is not dead. And I think it's a major insult to all these people, millions of people really hoping and not only hoping, but really volunteering, doing something about this as we speak here today," said Demir Murat Seyrek who has been covering the relationship between Brussels and Ankara for over two decades.

Ricardo Borges de Castro said this link was like a "difficult love affair". 

"You can't live with them, but we can't live without them", he added, listing out all the issues at stake for Europe in trade, migration and geopolitics.

Panelists also looked at new data regarding GDP in the EU which is set to reach 1% in 2023 and 1.7 percent in 2024 - slightly higher than previously expected.

"Even if you have a forecast that says that there will be a huge growth in the next year, it will not be absorbed by the people," said a skeptical Marisa Matias alluding to the grave cost of living crisis pinching people all across Europe.

Ricardo Borges de Castro agreed adding "it's good to have positive news on the macroeconomic side of things, but maybe if we talk with average families, small business, you know, they don't feel that yet, it's not yet in their pockets".

The other big news of the week in Brussels was the confirmation that European elections are set to take place between 6-9 June 2024.

Watch Brussels, my love? in the player above.

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