The EU’s financial support for Turkey is going to be scrutinized by the European Court of Auditors. Turkey is the single largest beneficiary of the EU’s financial assistance covered by the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), with more than 40 % of all IPA allocations. In 2007-2013, Turkey was allocated €4.48 billion and since 2014, a further €1.65 billion has been allocated but not yet paid out. The aim of the IPA funding was to support Turkey’s accession process and the associated reform process in the country. However, the accession process is currently frozen and reforms have been backsliding in recent years.
“Turkey is the EU’s largest beneficiary of external aid and a strategic partner in the key policy areas of foreign affairs, defense, migration, the fight against terrorism and trade. But up to now, we have never audited the effectiveness of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance to Turkey,” said Mr. Hans Gustaf Wessberg, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. The audit will evaluate whether EU pre-accession financial support to Turkey has been well-managed and effective. It will focus on three priority areas: rule of law and fundamental rights; democracy and governance; and education, employment and social policies. The results of the audit will be released in the first half of 2018.
Turkey-EU relations have been governed by an Association Agreement since 1964 and a customs union was established in 1995. Since 2006, only 14 out of the 35 chapters in the membership negotiations between both sides have been opened. One of these 14 chapters was tentatively closed in 2006 and, following the agreement finalized in mid-December 2015 between the EU and Turkey on the migration crisis, preparations started for the opening of chapter 17 – economic and monetary policy. Currently no new chapters are being considered for opening.