Turkey stands to lose EU financial assistance

The European Commission has proposed a new system for allocating financial assistance to countries seeking accession that is likely to leave Turkey feeling shortchanged, Germany’s public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.

The commission proposed a 30 percent hike in the EU’s 2021-2027 external action budget, which includes money allocated to applicant countries to raise standards in line with the EU in order to gain accession.

However, under this system for the first time accession candidate countries will not be allocated a set amount for the period, but will be granted amounts according to need and their performance in areas deemed important by the EU.

This could create a “kind of competition” among the candidate countries in order to fulfil the EU’s requirements, said Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner in charge of enlargement.

Turkey would be competing with four other candidate countries – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – for its share of the 14.5 billion euros on offer during the 2021-2027 period.

The new system also grants the EU flexibility to “adapt to the evolving situation in Turkey and reflect developments in our relations with the country,” the budget proposal states.

The proposal does not appear to be good news for Turkey, particularly given telling comments last April from Hahn, who criticised the country for taking “huge strides away from the EU, in particular in the areas of rule of law and fundamental rights.”

In the current period, Turkey has so far only received 315 million euros of the 4.45 billion agreed upon.

The EU commission cited failings in Turkey’s democratic standards and rule of law for the decrease in funding.