1. PRE-CANDIDACY PERIOD
Turkey-EU financial cooperation has been implemented under Financial Protocols starting from Ankara Agreement until the completion of Customs Union in 1996. Three Financial Protocols and a Complementary Protocol were signed between 1964 and 1981 in order to promote Turkey´s socio-economic development. The Forth Financial Protocol earmarking 600 million Euros for cooperation has not been implemented because of Greece’s veto. The aid under the Financial Protocols consisted mostly of grants, European Investment Bank loans and Community funded loans. During the 32-year period, Turkey was able to receive 830 million Euros out of the total allocated funds of 1,433 billion Euros.
In the framework of Customs Union and in accordance with the Turkey-EU Association Council Decision No 1/95, Turkey was able to access EU budget resources and EU´s credit and grants under the programmes destinated to Mediterranean countries. During the 1996-1999 period, grants were earmarked under Budget Support, MEDA and Administrative Cooperation Fund (totaling 768 million Euros). However, only 52 million Euros were released as a result of Greece´s veto.
2. PRE-ACCESSION ASSISTANCE
Turkey’s status as an applicant country was recognized by the European Union at the Helsinki Summit (1999) and Turkey-EU relations entered a new phase. In this context, the quality and quantity of the aid provided to Turkey also changed. The EU declared that same conditions with other candidate countries would be applied to Turkey during the pre-accession period. Consequently, grant schemes for Turkey have been gathered under a sole framework according to the Draft Regulation on Pre-Accession Aid for Turkey (2005/2001/EC).
Before the Draft Regulation came into force, the assistance was provided through three budgetary lines: MEDA, Economic and Social Development Support for Turkey, Support for Enhancing Turkey-EU Customs Union. The Draft Regulation brought theses assistances together under one budget line.
Another point that came to the fore with the candidacy status is the increasing of aid quantity. The financial aid amounting to 1,04 billion Euros foreseen by the European for Turkey during the period covering 2000-2006, has been increased according to Turkey’s needs in the Strategy Paper presented by the European Commission. This approach was approved in the Copenhagen Summit held in 2002, within the framework of Turkey’s financial cooperation for the period of 2004-2006. It has been decided to grant Turkey a financial aid amounting to 1,05 billion Euros (250 million Euros in 2004, 300 million Euros in 2005 and 500 million Euros in 2006). As a result, the annual average of the aids rose from 177 million Euros to 250 million Euros.
In this new term, it was decided that the financial aids will be provided by the European Union, within the scope of the projects that are in compliance with the priorities determined in the Association Partnership Document and National Programme. Furthermore the establishment of a “Decentralized Implementation System” became necessary to ensure the implementation o0f same institutional structures in Turkey as well as in the other candidate countries by using of the same terminology. This will enable to develop further not only relations of Member States with candidate countries but also relations of candidate countries with each other. Turkey established this system in the year of 2001.
3. THE NEW “INSTRUMENT FOR PRE-ACCESSION” WITHIN THE EU FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE OF 2007-2013
The Council approved the legislation that provides the establishment of a new Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) on the 17th July 2006, in accordance with the proposal of the European Commission. IPA, which is under the heading of the “EU as A Global Actor” in the financial perspective of 2007-2013 and replacing five currently running financial aid programmes (PHARE, ISPA, SADARD, Pre-Accession Assistance for Turkey and CARDS) as of the 1st June 2007, covers the expenditures aimed for candidate countries (Turkey, Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia) as well as Western Balkan States (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia) which are regarded as the potential candidate countries. Therefore the regions which will benefit from the financial aid are divided into two categories as recognized candidate countries and potential candidate countries. The new Pre-Accession Strategy focuses on the areas of enhancement of institutional structure, regional and cross-border cooperation, regional development, human resources, rural development. IPA provides a financial aid worth of 11.468 billion Euros, in accordance with the 2007-2013 and the amount of the aid increases year by year within the same period.
Turkey receives a 4,87 billion Euro-financial aid for the period covering 2007 and 2013, which are displayed within five categories. These five categories are:
I. Transition Assistance and Institutional Building
II. Cross-Border Cooperation
III. Regional Development
IV. Human Resources
V. Rural Development
Table: Categories of the funds brought to usage of Turkey and their distribution by years
In € million
* IPA Component II, Cross-border cooperation, is dealt with in a separate Multi- Annual Indicatıve Plannind Document.
In the assessments made by the Commission regarding the 2007-2011 period, it was stated that sufficient benchmarks have not been defined when determining the priorities of the EU financial aids. Therefore, this situation was preventing the Commission from determining how successful were the projects conducted. Moreover the importance of strengthening the governance and supervision systems in order to prevent the delays occurring in the implementation of financial aids was pointed out. On the other hand, the participation of the civil society in this process was also emphasized.
Within this framework, the objectives expected to be reached in line with the IPA assistance in the period covering 2011-2013 are as follows:
– Supporting the progress in establishing the rule of law, in order to carry out the tough reforms in the fields of jurisdiction and fundamental rights.
– Speeding the harmonization process with the acquis in the complicated and difficult-to-implement areas of EU legislation such as transport, agriculture, food security, environment, climate change and energy.
– Assisting the economic and social development with the aim of reinforcing Turkey’s competitiveness
In line with the assessments of the Commission based on the report from European Court of Auditors, it was decided to administrate the financial aid provided by the IPA covering the period 2011-2013 in a more sectorial perspective. In this respect, 7 sectors which will lead the financial aid were determined as such:
The financial aids which are provided for these sectors, are granted through technical assistance, twinning, supply contracts, and grants within the scope of the categories I, III, IV and V mentioned above.
Table: Sectoral distribution of the aids that are provided in the scope of the IPA
Once the annual priorities within the framework of the pre-accession aid, objectives and programmes are determined, calls and bidding announcements are published. The pre-accession assistance for Turkey is provided by the European Commission, through the business, materials and services biddings. The grant financing opportunities which normally do not have a bidding value but are regarded as bidding in the EU external assistance system is announced to the public through various calls. (http://www.mfib.gov.tr )
While submitting the applications, it is necessary to consider the general evaluation criteria of the European Commission. The European Commission previews first the project evaluation, bidding and contract procedure. The proposals can be made to the relevant institution that is specified in the call as a response to a bidding or call.
The Beneficiaries of the Pre-Accession Assistance
Besides Turkey, participation to biddings is open to all legal entities of Member and candidate states. The beneficiaries of the pre-accession assistance are not only the Turkish government, public institutions and organizations, but also to local authorities, civil society organizations such as the business sector institutions (trade bodies, etc.), the institutions that represent the social aspects (unions), Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME), associations, foundations, non-profit organizations. The list of those who can submit a proposal to a specific programme, is specified in the bidding announcement or the call.