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Turkey – Employment and social policy

Candidate countries conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) in order to prepare themselves for accession. The accession negotiations cover the adoption and implementation of European legislation (acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.


Commission Report [COM (2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal].


The 2011 Report notes limited progress in the area of employment and social policy. Although constitutional changes have been made, the granting of full trade union rights is still not guaranteed. Undeclared work and that of women remain a source for concern.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The acquis in the social field includes minimum standards in areas such as labour law, equal treatment of women and men, health and safety at work and anti-discrimination. The European Social Fund (ESF) is the main financial tool through which the EU supports the implementation of its Employment Strategy and contributes to social inclusion efforts in the fight against social exclusion (implementation rules are covered under Chapter 22, which deals with all structural instruments). The Member States participate in social dialogue at European level and in EU policy processes in the areas of employment policy, social inclusion and social protection.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Turkey made limited progress in the field of social policy and employment. Administrative capacity showed some improvement. Constitutional amendments regarding trade union rights have not resulted in further changes of the legislation aimed at granting full trade union rights in line with EU standards and ILO conventions. The reduction of large-scale undeclared work and the increase of female employment rates are still matters of concern. The scope of the labour law remains limited. Enforcement of health and safety at work legislation needs to be stepped up. The risk of poverty remains very high, especially for the rural population and for children. Legislation establishing an equality body has not yet been adopted.


Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report highlighted the progress made by Turkey in the field of social policy and employment. However, alignment with the European social acquis remained limited. Reforms needed to continue in the areas of health and safety at work, trade union law and the fight against poverty.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2009 Report noted limited progress. The legislation on labour law, discrimination, health and safety at work had not yet been aligned with European standards. However, there had been good progress on the preparations for the introduction of the European Social Fund in the country. The establishment of the Parliamentary Commission on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women also constituted progress. The country had to take appropriate action to reduce unemployment and to combat poverty.

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2008 Report noted that Turkey still needed to make progress despite the adoption of a package of political measures in employment, social protection law and a social security system. The Joint Assessment Paper on priorities in employment and the Joint Inclusion Memorandum on inclusion were still to be finalized.

Commission Report [COM(2007) 663 final – SEC(2007) 1436 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2007 Report highlighted the efforts necessary to promote gender equality and to strengthen administrative capacity.

Commission Report [COM(2006) 649 final – SEC(2006) 1390 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2006 Report noted the progress made, particularly with regard to social protection and the implementation of a new law on people with disabilities.

Commission Report [COM(2005) 561 final – SEC(2005) 1426 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2005 Report noted changes in the fields of labour law and health and safety at work. The Turkish authorities had started working on the Joint Assessment Paper of Employment Policy Priorities (JAP) and the Joint Inclusion Memorandum (JIM) to combat social exclusion. The administrative capacity of the Ministry of Labour had also been strengthened.

Commission Report [COM(2004) 656 final – SEC(2004) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2004 Report noted that the process of alignment was still incomplete. Progress was needed to improve the health of the population and to make promoting social inclusion a priority.

Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final – SEC(2003) 1212 – Not published in Official Journal].
The 2003 Report emphasised that, although the process of alignment on Community law had begun, particularly labour law, a great deal nevertheless remained to be done on social dialogue, social protection, promoting social inclusion and public health.

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – SEC(2002) 1412 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final – SEC(2001) 1756 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2000) 713 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2000 Report noted that Turkey had much to do as regards transposing Community acquis in the areas of employment and social affairs.

Commission Report [COM(1999) 513 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(1998) 711 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 29.12.2011

See also

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