Lack of political will reduces impact of EU financial assistance to Turkey
Share article:
Share article:

Lack of political will reduces impact of EU financial assistance to Turkey

© ECA
© ECA

In a new audit report, the European Court of Auditors delivers scathing criticism of EU’s pre-accession assistance to help prepare Turkey for EU membership and align itself with EU laws. The auditors attribute the limited impact of the assistance on bureaucratic shortcomings such as hight staff turnover and, above all, the lack of political will on the Turkish side. The previous audit of assistance to Turkey was published in 2009.

EU financial assistance planned for Turkey from 2007 until 2020 amounts to over €9 billion. The auditors focused on priority sectors such as rule of law, governance and human resources (education, employment and social policies), to which €3.8 billion had been allocated.

Although the assistance was well designed, funding did not sufficiently address some fundamental needs in the rule of law and governance sectors, where critical reforms are overdue, say the auditors.

In areas where there was more political will, such as customs, employment and taxation, projects did help bring Turkey into line with EU law. But the results may not be sustainable because of difficulties in spending the funds and backsliding on reforms.

On the positive side, the auditors found that the Commission set funding objectives which were specific and consistent with the legal framework. In reality, however, the funds spent have barely addressed a number of fundamental needs, especially in the areas affected by the Turkish government’s suspension and detainment of staff in the civil service and judiciary after the failed military coup attempt in July 2016.

These areas are the independence and impartiality of the judicial system, the fight against high-level corruption and organised crime, press freedom, the prevention of conflicts of interest, and reinforcing external audit and civil society.

The Commission was also criticized by the auditors for failures that seem to be recurring in its management of external assistance. The Commission supported sector-wide reforms rather than stand-alone projects but sector assessments were not always comprehensive, notably in donor coordination, budget analysis and performance assessment.

Another recurring shortcoming is the non-respect of conditions to support reforms and projects. The Commission seldom used conditions such as the option of taking over the responsibility for the management of projects or taking other corrective measures if conditions were not met.

Due to widespread programming and implementation backlogs, the programme was significantly delayed. This led to reductions in both funding and the time available for the Turkish authorities to implement subsequent projects, and will further contribute to delaying tendering and contracting, according to the auditors.

Next opportunity for EU and Turkey to discuss their relations on the highest level, including the use of EU funding, will be at a planned summit in Varna, Bulgaria, on 26 March.

M.Apelblat
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...