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Brussels, 10 April 2013
EU-Turkey: With Ministers Bağış and Çelik about Social Policy and employment
Brussels (10th April) - Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, together with Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, met with Turkish Minister of EU Affairs Egemen Bağış and Minister of Labour and Social Security Faruk Çelik in Brussels today. The meeting took place in the framework of the Positive agenda and is part of the overall efforts to put the accession negotiations with Turkey back on track. They discussed the progress in the accession process and also the support Turkey is providing to Syrian refugees.
In discussing the progress of Turkey in the accession process, Commissioners Füle and Andor focused in particular on the area of social policy and employment. They welcomed progress made as regards trade union rights for both the public and the private sector with the adoption of two laws in 2012 by the Turkish Parliament. It was agreed that the European Commission and Turkey would continue to work in close cooperation on further alignment of the Turkish legal framework with EU standards and the opening benchmarks for Chapter 19 (Social Policy and Employment) of the accession negotiations. The Commission welcomed as a good step the declaration made on these issues today by Ministers Bağış and Çelik with the social partners, who were also present at the joint meeting with the Commissioners.
In the context of the Syrian crisis Commissioner Füle recalled the Commission's commitment to assist Turkey in its efforts using also the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA). The European Commission announced the intention to allocate around €10 million for an IPA joint operation with UNHCR expected to start in the coming months. These funds will mainly benefit Syrian refugees who are not living in tent or container camps established by the Turkish government but in areas outside the camps. This action is being developed in coordination with the national institutions concerned, international NGOs functioning in Turkey and other UN agencies.