EU cuts Turkey’s pre-ac­ces­sion funds by 146.7M eu­ros

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics -

THE EURO­PEAN Union has de­cided to cut Turkey’s pre-ac­ces­sion funds by 146.7 mil­lion eu­ros in its 2019 bud­get, it an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The 2019 EU bud­get, which was de­ter­mined af­ter months of ne­go­ti­a­tions and meet­ings, will be 148.2 bil­lion eu­ros. This means that there will be a 2 per­cent in­crease in bloc’s ex­pen­di­tures. De­spite the in­crease, Turkey will see a cut in its In­stru­ment for Pre-Ac­ces­sion As­sis­tance, or sim­ply IPA.

Turkey ap­plied for mem­ber­ship in the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity, a pre­cur­sor to the EU, in 1987. It be­came el­i­gi­ble for EU mem­ber­ship in 1997 and ac­ces­sion talks be­gan in 2005.

In re­cent years, Turkey has com­plained that the EU de­ci­sion to not open new chap­ters in its ac­ces­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions were po­lit­i­cal.

The IPA pro­gram “aims at align­ing Turk­ish leg­is­la­tion and stan­dards with the EU’s, build­ing [the] au­thor­i­ties’ ca­pac­ity for un­der­tak­ing this har­mo­niza­tion, and im­ple­ment­ing the re­forms through­out the ac­ces­sion process,” the EU Del­e­ga­tion of Turkey web­site says.

The EU also de­cided to pay 1.45 bil­lion eu­ros for Syr­ian refugees in Turkey, which is half of the re­main­ing 3 bil­lion eu­ros it pledged to pay as part of the Turkey-EU refugee deal.

In March 2016, Brus­sels and Ankara reached an agree­ment to take stricter mea­sures against hu­man traf­fick­ing, dis­cour­age ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion through the Aegean Sea and im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of Syr­ian refugees in Turkey.

The deal in­cluded a 6 bil­lion euro aid pack­age to help Turkey care for mil­lions of refugees hosted by the coun­try, and the EU promised to ini­tially al­lo­cate 3 bil­lion eu­ros in its first tranche for projects to sup­port Syr­ian refugees.

The deal was also to pro­vide visa-free travel for Turk­ish cit­i­zens to the Schen­gen Area and ac­cel­er­ate Turkey’s EU ne­go­ti­a­tions. In re­la­tion to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment, Ankara has been stress­ing that it has been do­ing its part and the EU should also ful­fill its prom­ises.

The bud­get will be pre­sented to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the mem­ber states for the ap­proval next week.

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