EU, CoE launch joint initiative to assist rule of law, human rights in Turkey

EU, CoE launch joint initiative to assist rule of law, human rights in Turkey

The European Union and the Council of Europe (CoE) joint initiative to assist partners in Turkey and in the Western Balkans in addressing challenges in the areas of rule of law and human rights, with a focus on supporting reforms of the judiciary, fight against corruption and organized crime, protection of the rights of vulnerable groups and the promotion of anti-discrimination policies.

EU’s Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, and the Secretary-General of the CoE, Thorbjørn Jagland, met on April 11 in Brussels for the signature ceremony of the finalization of the EU/CoE Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey.

“These are all issues of fundamental significance for citizens, as well as key elements in securing the commitments of the Western Balkans and Turkey to European standards,” Hahn and Jagland said in a joint statement, referring to the reform fields that will be supported by the initiative.

The initiative will help the beneficiaries to work towards the above mentioned objectives by undertaking several activities such as strengthening the organizational and management capacity of penitentiary systems, improving the framework for political party funding and the organizational development of courts, helping authorities to appropriately deal with the recovery of criminal assets, reviewing legislation and strategies according to new international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism, systemizing the collection of information on intolerance and discrimination, setting up inter-ministerial working groups on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, they said.

In addition, the initiative will provide CoE expertise for legislative analysis and policy advice on request from the beneficiaries.

The European Commission will provide 20 million euros and the CoE 5 million euros to support the initiative for the period of three years.