EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget 'after' democratic deterioration

The EU will cut funds allocated to Turkey due to the "deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights" there, according to a European Parliament (EP) statement
Sunday, 19 November 2017 17:37

A European Union 2018 budget deal was announced Saturday that cuts funds destined to Turkey, citing doubts about Ankara's commitment to democracy and human rights, AFP reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had led calls for a cut to the funds, which are linked to Turkey's stalled bid to join the bloc, following mass-scale arrests in the country since the failed July 2016 coup, the report said.

MEPs and member states have agreed to reduce the "pre-ascension funds" by 105 million euros ($124 million) and froze an additional 70 million euros of previously announced spending. Europe had pledged 4.45 billion euros in pre-accession spending for Turkey from 2014 to 2020, but only 360 million euros has been allocated so far, it added. 

According to the report, overall, the 2018 budget calls for 160 billion euros of committed spending for ongoing programmes and 145 billion in payments expected for the year, increases of 1.3 percent and 7.8 percent from 2017.

The Council of the EU and the EP, the two legislative institutions of the bloc, still need to formally approve the new budget.

A European Commission spokesperson had said in July, some €979.6 million was paid out between 2007 and April 2017 with more likely to come given Turkey's continued candidacy for EU membership.