Budget Committee MEPs on Tuesday agreed to cancel €70 million in pre-accession funds earmarked for Turkey, as conditions to improve the rule of law were not met.
Last November, during the budgetary negotiations, Parliament and Council decided to place in reserve €70 million in pre-accession funds for Turkey (€70m in commitment appropriations and €35m 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.”
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 condition set by the budgetary authority has therefore not been met, Members of the Committee on Budgets underline.
They accordingly support the draft amending budget 5/2018, in which the Commission proposes transferring the €70 million earmarked for Turkey to reinforce the European Neighbourhood 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 through payments appropriations.
The draft report by Siegfried Muresan (EPP, RO) has been adopted with 27 votes, 1 against and 4 abstentions.
To take effect, the draft amending budget has to be approved by a plenary vote in Parliament, scheduled for 3 October.