The 2006 Lisbon Assessment Report, which evaluated the economic performances and the competitive structures of current EU members, future members and candidates, has placed Turkey above Bulgaria and Romania, which will join the union in January.
The report looked at Turkey's higher productivity and competitive structure to arrive at their conclusion.
Now all eyes are fixed on Brussels, which is preparing to freeze eight chapters of Turkey's accession negotiations. Most of the chapters deal with economic issues, including the customs union agreement that has been in effect since April 1995.
The customs agreement is behind the decision to freeze talks since Ankara has not opened its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot commercial traffic.
In its economic assessment, the World Economic Forum designated Croatia as the country with the highest potential for membership.
According to the report, "Croatia and Turkey's performances are close to each other and they are higher than Poland's."
However, the report also said Turkey's performance in agriculture, where a third of its labor power is employed, is remarkably low.
Therefore, it needs another set of regulations to be able to meet EU membership criteria. Although it has made great headway in comparison to past performances, there are still financial instabilities and a high public expenditure deficit.
Moreover, it is trying to cope with an inflation rate still higher than the EU average.
The best performing countries of the European Union are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Holland and Germany.