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Brussels, 16 January 2003

Commission prepares for Turkey's participation in education, training and youth programmes

The European Commission and the Turkish Government have just signed a series of agreements in preparation for Turkey's participation in the Community's Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes from 2004 on. These agreements are accompanied by a budget of EUR 6 million, of which EUR 4.7 million is provided by the European Union and the remainder by Turkey. As of next year, therefore, when the necessary agreement has been reached on arrangements for participation, Turkey's young people, students, apprentices and teachers will be able to set up projects or undertake periods of study or teaching in the European Union or the other countries which make up the 30 current participants, while Turkish universities, training centres and youth organisations will host young people or work in partnership with their European counterparts.

"The preparatory measures which we are introducing now at the beginning of 2003 for Turkey are part of the pre-accession strategy. I am delighted that Turkey will soon be able to participate fully in our programmes and I call on the universities, training centres and youth organisations to develop links with their Turkish counterparts", said Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for education, culture and youth.

The Decisions of the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament establishing the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes for the period 2000-2006 provide for the inclusion of Turkey, according to arrangements to be set out in an agreement with this country. In order to take part, Turkey must make a financial contribution to the programmes' budgets and follow their rules. To allow Turkey to benefit fully from participation when the time comes, a set of preparatory measures must be implemented in advance: information campaigns must be carried out throughout the country, the national agency which will be responsible for running the programmes in Turkey must receive training and equipment and become fully operational, and potential participants must be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the programmes and develop contacts with a view to future partnerships.

To this end, those appointed by the Turkish authorities have, with the Commission's help, drawn up work programmes planning the measures to be taken. On the basis of these work programmes, which were completed in December, the Commission has signed four financing agreements with the Turkish body responsible: three of these are intended to fund preparations for the programmes in Turkey for a period of 15 months (1 October 2002 - 31 December 2003) and the fourth is intended specifically for pilot actions under the Socrates programme in the areas of school education (Comenius), higher education (Erasmus) and adult education (Grundtvig) for the period 2003/2004. The total budget for these preparatory measures is EUR 6 million, of which EUR 4.7 million (78%) will be provided by the Commission.

Implementing these preparatory measures in the course of 2003 will help to prepare Turkey for full integration into the three programmes in 2004 when the necessary agreement has been reached. It will also provide the opportunity to develop contacts with the existing networks. Active involvement of the national agencies in the countries taking part in the programmes will be of great assistance.

Information on these programmes may be found on the website of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture:

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