Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A closer look at EU aid to Turkey

Research into the complex relationship between EU financial assistance and EU enlargement may or may not have an impact on the Europeanisation of a nation. The case of Turkey sheds valuable insight on the matter.
A closer look at EU aid to Turkey
Turkey plays a pivotal role in Europe, from security and migration to the possible enlargement of the EU. Weighing in on Turkey’s position and impact on Europe’s integrity is the amount of financial assistance that the country receives from the EU. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded EUTUR (Enlargement and EU Funded projects: The case of Turkey) project evaluated the role played by the EU Financial Instrument for Pre-accession (IPA) within the EU-Turkey enlargement framework.

The project’s research revealed that there was no relation between financial assistance and negotiations regarding Turkey’s membership. More particularly, there was no strong correlation between EU-funded projects and accession chapters at any stage, and neither with political developments, demonstrating the neutrality of EU funding in this respect.

EUTUR also investigated the effects of EU funding assistance on governance in Turkey. It found that financial assistance strengthens administrative centralisation in the country. The project team outlined which particular ministries, government bodies and non-state organisations have been benefiting from funding, and possible impacts this has on society.

One important observation emerging from the project is the overrepresentation of consulting firms devoted to EU affairs in the country, with a few companies getting to manage most of the projects. This phenomenon is by no means restricted to Turkey and presents an important development to consider in aiming to widen the reach of EU funding in third countries.

Overall, the project team concluded that EU financial assistance with respect to Turkey is on the right track, even if any Europeanisation impacts are not enough to effect deep social change. The team pointed out that EU-related governance in Turkey is restricted to specific organisations and government ministries, reminiscent almost of governance concepts in Brussels. The project’s results could prove useful in streamlining financial assistance in the context of EU influence and enlargement.

Related information


Financial assistance, EU enlargement, Europeanisation, EUTUR, governance
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