The relationship with the EU is a priority of Turkey’s foreign policy (cf. chronology).
A) Turkey has been linked to the EU since 1964 by an association agreement and, since 1996, by a Customs Union.
B) Accession negotiations were opened with the EU on 3 October 2005. Negotiations on the “science and research” chapter were opened and closed provisionally on 12 June 2006; negotiations are currently underway on three chapters (“industrial and business policy” - opened on 29 March 2007-, “statistics” and “financial control” - opened on 26 June 2007).
C) Turkey benefits from a series of instruments intended to support its rapprochement with the EU:
- Annual reports from the Commission,evaluating its progress in areas such as political and economic reforms and alignment with Community acquis. The Commission published its most recent progress report on 8 November 2006.
- An accession partnership (that identifies short- and medium-term reform priorities that Turkey needs to implement in order to get closer to the EU). The EU adopted the most recent accession partnership on 23 January 2006.
- Two forms of financial assistance from the EU:
· EIB loans in the context of the pre-accession facility, which groups together the countries involved in the EU accession process and potential candidate countries. This funding will total approximately 2 billion euros for the period 2007-2009. Turkey also benefits from the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). (EIB’s website: http://www.bei.org/projects/regions/enlargement/turkey/index.htm).
· Donations obtained under the new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which, since 1 January 2007, has been the sole framework for financial assistance provided to the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey. Assistance is made up of five components: institutional strengthening, cross-border cooperation, regional development, development of human resources, and rural development. In this context, Turkey will receive 2.256 billion euros in assistance for the period 2007-2010 (website of the Permanent Representation to the EU: http://www.rpfrance.org/ce/financement.asp?euro=ipa).
- An enhanced political and economic dialogue with the EU.
- A dialogue between the civil societies: cofinanced by IPA, this dialogue targets professional organizations, local communities, universities and youth organizations, in particular. The EU earmarked 21.5 million euros for this dialogue in 2006 (website of the Commission’s delegation in Turkey)
France supports Turkey’s rapprochement with Europe through its bilateral cooperation (cf. France-Turkey relations) and its involvement in projects financed with Community financial assistance: technical assistance, institutional twinnings between French and Turkish administrations, involvement of French organizations in projects concerning civil society.