EU lawmakers agree to cancel pre-accession funds for Turkey

EU lawmakers agree to cancel pre-accession funds for Turkey

EU lawmakers agree to cancel pre-accession funds for Turkey

Members of the European Parliament’s Budget Committee on Sept. 25 agreed to cancel 70 million euros in pre-accession funds earmarked for Turkey on grounds the conditions to improve the rule of law were not met. 

The committee said the money would be spent on migration programs.

“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 commitment appropriations and 35 million euros in payment appropriations], 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,” the committee said in a statement.

“However, the 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 statement added.

The condition set by the budgetary authority has therefore not been met, members of the Committee on Budgets said.

They accordingly supported the draft amending the budget, in which the commission proposes transferring the 70 million euros earmarked for Turkey to reinforce the European Neighborhood Instrument through commitment appropriations — 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 through payments appropriations.

The draft report was adopted with 27 votes, one against and four abstentions.

To take effect, the draft amending budget has to be approved by a plenary vote in parliament, scheduled for Oct. 3.