Brussels, 10 April 2014
EU-Turkey: Need to re-engage in reforms in line with EU standards
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, met with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Brussels today to discuss how to intensify the dialogue on key elements of EU-Turkey relations. Before their meeting they both participated in the session of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee (see Commissioner Füle's speech).
In the bilateral meeting they agreed on close cooperation in areas of mutual benefit for the EU and Turkey, in particular in the area of rule of law. Commissioner Füle expressed the EU's concerns about recent developments in Turkey that undermine the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression. He underlined that Turkey, as a candidate country eager to move forward in the accession negotiations, now urgently needs to re-engage fully in the reform process in line with European standards. "We need to change the way in which we cooperate as regards the accession negotiations. This is particularly important for the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights. We need to intensify our dialogue at all phases of policy and law making on these issues which are at the very centre of the accession process. They must be treated as an absolute priority. We also need to work closely on the assessment of the existing legislation," Commissioner Füle stressed.
He also welcomed the good cooperation with Turkey on the visa dialogue. The first assessments have already started and further ones have been planned. Turkish cooperation on this issue is of utmost significance.
Commissioner Füle and Minister Çavuşoğlu also discussed the modernisation of the Customs Union. After their meeting Commissioner Füle delivered an opening speech at the event organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels to launch the report on the evaluation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union. (see Commissioner Füle's speech)