The European Union (EU) has agreed on a pre-accession financial aid package – amounting to 14 billion, 200 million euros in total until 2027 – to seven EU candidate countries, including Turkey.
This decision has raised question marks amongst several political observers and public interest groups as Turkey’s descent into authoritarianism has been increasingly drawing criticism from quarters all over the world.
The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhalyi, in a statement in Brussels, confirmed the amount being proposed.
“The agreement reached for 2021 and 2027 will be a positive, pleasant, and strong message to the Western Balkan countries and Turkey,” Varhalyi said, adding that they will invest in infrastructural improvement, environmental protection, and digitalization in these candidate countries.
“People living in EU candidate countries – Turkey, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia – will receive this aid,” he stated.
Ana Paula Zacarias, State Secretary for the EU Affairs of Portugal, who participated in the negotiations relating to the financial package, emphasized that they want to support the economic, political, institutional, and social reforms of these countries.
In the statement made by the EU Commission, it was emphasized that financial aid should be used for reform efforts and that it was necessary to comply with EU standards, especially in problematic areas such as the rule of law in Turkey.
This EU financial aid plan also needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.
The membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU, which started in 2005, have come to a halt due to the political and diplomatic crises that have been experienced in recent years.
The accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU are theoretically carried out over 35 chapters, and in the past 16 years, 16 chapters were opened for negotiations, with only one having been temporarily closed.