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EU Funding in Turkey

15 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 15 October 2009

The EU is committed to supporting Turkey in its path for membership. The initial objective of EU financial support towards Turkey was the extension of an area of peace, stability and prosperity within and beyond Europe. Once the Union accepted Turkey as a candidate, financial assistance began to focus on supporting Turkey in its preparation for EU membership.


Present priorities are supporting reform in Turkey, cross-border cooperation and partnership with member states.

Turkey has been receiving pre-accession assistance from the EU since 2001, under the Turkish Financial Instrument. Funds are programmed on an annual basis under National Programmes for each year. As from 2007, this pre-accession Financial Instrument for Turkey has been replaced by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) which provides pre-accession assistance for both candidate and potential candidate countries.

The novelty of IPA is that it introduces financial support in new areas.

IPA is structured on 5 components and will continue to provide pre-accession support to Turkey in the same manner as under the Turkish Financial Instrument. The novelty is the introduction of pre-accession financial support in environment, transport, regional competitiveness, human resource development and rural development managed on the same principles of structural funds. Under IPA, Turkey will also continue to benefit from Community Programmes which are partly financed under IPA.

National programmes are designed to support reform in priority areas for EU membership. Project ideas are forwarded by the Turkish institutions and/or legal persons. Following a consultation process between the EC and the Turkish authorities, the projects are selected and included in the annual national programme. It is those programmes which will receive EU funds for their implementation.

Cross border cooperation programmes are designed to improve EU relations with its neighbours and to enhance cooperation through joint projects.

Twinning programmes are designed to help transfer the best know how in EU legislation from Member States to candidate countries, by establishing twinning between the relevant public institutions in Turkey and those in one or several EU member states.

Community programmes and Agencies are designed to enhance cooperation between organisations in EU member states in that specific field. They may be open for the participation of candidate countries, like Turkey, if the country has:

  • Signed the agreement to participate in that particular programme or become member of that Agency
  • Paid its contribution to the programme or Agency budget

Participation in the Community programmes such as the Education programmes allows Turkish and EU students, academicians, trainees to exchange visits, study in each other’s country, undertaking vocational training and other similar actions. Other Community Programmes such as 7th Framework Programme (R&D), Social Policy Programmes, Culture etc aim to foster closer links, transfer of know-how between participants in these programmes. This may be challenging at first, but it is an excellent way to create a long-lasting network to support further developments in these areas.

Turkey and the European Union decide together where the money goes.

As true partners in any relationship, Turkey and the European Union work together to determine what needs to be done with the money coming from the European Union. The EU (represented by its executive, the European Commission) points out the areas where Turkey needs to harmonize with the EU norms and regulations and Turkish institutions prepare and implement projects to address these needs.

Strategic documents fundament the choices made.

Financial assistance to Turkey is programmed within the framework of the objectives set out in the Accession Partnership document, and the priorities set out in the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA). With the onset of IPA, the main strategic framework for the identification of the priorities for programming is the Multi Indicative Programming Document (MIPD)

The Accession Partnership document for Turkey is prepared by the European Commission. It provides an assessment of priority areas where progress is needed in order to prepare for accession and outlines the ways in which financial assistance can support the process. It mobilises all forms of EU support within a single framework for Turkey and details precise commitments on the part of the Turkish authorities with respect to democracy and human rights, macroeconomic stabilisation, and the adoption of the Acquis Communautaire into national legislation.

The National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) sets out in detail the measures through which Turkey will make progress to meet and assume the obligations of membership (collectively known as the Copenhagen criteria).

On the basis of the priorities identified in the Accession Partnership for Turkey, and taking into account the recommendations of the European Commission’s annual Regular Reports, an annual National Programme (NP) is agreed upon between the European Union and Turkey. The annual National Programme covers the projects and programmes designed to directly support the accession process. The European Union Secretariat General (EUSG) leads this process on behalf of Turkey, whilst DG Enlargement leads the process on behalf of the European Commission.

Following a comprehensive process of consultation with the European Commission and with the EU Member States, the NP is approved and a Financial Memorandum is signed with the Turkish authorities on its implementation.

Source: Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey

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