The European Parliament on Tuesday decided to cancel 70 million euros in pre-accession funds earmarked for Turkey, as conditions to improve the rule of law were not met.
Last November, during the budgetary negotiations, Parliament and Council decided to place in reserve 70 million euros in pre-accession funds for Turkey (70 million euros in commitments and 35 million euros in payments), under the condition that “Turkey makes measurable, sufficient improvements in the fields of rule of law, democracy, human rights and press freedom, according to the annual report of the Commission.”
However, the European Commission's annual report on Turkey, published on 17 April 2018, concluded that “Turkey has been significantly moving away from the European Union, in particular in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights and through the weakening of effective checks and balances in the political system.”
The condition set by the budgetary authority has therefore not been met, MEPs underline.
They accordingly support the draft amending budget 5/2018, in which the Commission proposes transferring the 70 million euros earmarked for Turkey to reinforce the European Neighborhood Instrument.
This would be done through commitments – to cover actions linked to the Central Mediterranean migratory route and to fulfil part of the EU pledge for Syria – and to boost Humanitarian Aid by 35 million euros.
The report by Siegfried Muresan (EPP, RO) has been adopted with 544 votes, 28 against and 74 abstentions. [Kathimerini Cyprus]