EU WASTE: Brussels cash bung to Turkey has FAILED, blasts watchdog

Turkey has received substantial payments from the EU as part of a major investment between 2007 to 2020.

The money was designed to help the country align itself with the bloc’s regulations and eventually accede to become an EU member state.

But a report by the European Court of Auditors states the country has been “backsliding” on its reforms despite receiving the money, dubbed the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

And it said the money “insufficiently addressed some fundamental needs in the rule of law and governance sectors, where some critical reforms are overdue”.

It states: “In reality, the funds spent under the IPA objectives have barely addressed some fundamental needs: the independence and impartiality of justice, the fight against high level corruption and organised crime, press freedom, the prevention of conflicts of interest, and reinforcing external audit and civil society.

“According to the Commission’s own analysis, progress in these areas has been unsatisfactory for several years, as there is a lack of political will of the Turkish authorities.”

Report author Bettina Jakobsen warned: “From 2018 onwards, the Commission should better target funding for Turkey in areas where reforms are overdue and necessary for credible progress toward EU accession.”

The report also recommends the European Commission increases its monitoring of Turkish projects.

Despite misgivings over the way Turkish authorities are spending the cash, the EU is still chipping in another €3billion for Syrian refugees in the country.

A 2016 deal with Turkey, though criticised by rights groups for restricting the chance to claim asylum by those in need, has cut to a trickle arrivals through its soil to EU member Greece.

The EU on Wednesday announced a second tranche of funding for projects benefiting Syrian refugees in Turkey, though the bloc’s executive European Commission and the member states must yet agree on the exact financing.

The EU’s top migration official, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “Our cooperation with Turkey is key to address common challenges.

“Unnecessary escalations can and should be avoided.”

Despite heavy criticism of leader Recep Erdogan’s track record on human rights, the bloc’s top officials will host him for high-level talks next week.