ANKARA: The European Union approved €1.9 billion for Turkey assistance program, Turkey’s Ministry for EU Affairs announced.
The approval was given by the bloc’s financial assistance mechanism for candidate and potential candidate’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.
In a statement, Turkey’s EU ministry said the European Commission’s annual budget program determined that Turkey would use €1.96 billion out of the total €4.45 billion in the first part of projects or programs for 2014-2020.
The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance is the main financial instrument for candidate countries to provide EU support in implementing reforms to move towards full EU membership.
According to IPA official website, the body gives financial aids for the following four specific objectives: support for political reforms, support for economic, social and territorial development, strengthening the ability of the beneficiary country to fulfill obligations stemming from membership in the EU by supporting progressive alignment with the Unions, and strengthening regional integration and territorial cooperation.
Programs associated with agriculture, food, fisheries, organic agriculture and improvement of rural infrastructure can benefit from the EU assistance. In addition, companies operating in these areas, individual producers, cooperatives and producer associations can also benefit from the funds.
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987. Accession talks began in 2005.
However, negotiations hit a stalemate in 2007 because of Turkey’s position on the Cyprus issue and opposition to its full EU membership by German and French governments.
Turkey does not recognize Southern Cyprus, which is a member of the EU.
Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters, which involve reforms and adoption of European standards to become an EU member.
So far, 14 chapters have been opened, while 17 remain blocked and another four have yet to be discussed. Only one chapter has been opened in the past three years.