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Brussels, 18 February 2008
6614/08 (Presse 44)

Council adopts a revised Accession Partnership with Turkey

The Council today[1] adopted a decision revising the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey (doc. 5815/08).

The decision, which repeals and replaces decision 2006/35/EC[2], identifies renewed priorities for the Accession Partnership, on the basis of the conclusions of the Council on 10 December 2007 and the 2007 Progress Report from the Commission on Turkey's preparations for integration within the EU. In order to focus its preparations to the evolving needs of the process, Turkey should develop a plan with a timetable and specific measures addressing the new priorities.

The Accession Partnership constitutes the framework for Turkey's preparations and provides guidance for financial assistance. The revised Accession Partnership will serve as a basis for future political reforms and as a yardstick against which to measure future progress.

The priorities, which concern both legislation and the implementation thereof, have been identified on the basis that it is realistic to expect that Turkey can complete or take them substantially forward over the next few years. A distinction is made between short-term priorities, which are expected to be accomplished within one to two years, and medium-term priorities, which are expected to be accomplished within three to four years.

The main priorities for Turkey relate in particular to its capacity to meet the political criteria set for EU accession by the European Council at Copenhagen in 1993 and the requirements of the negotiating framework adopted by the Council on 3 October 2005.

Short-term priorities relate to the following issues:

  • Democracy and the rule of law;
  • Human rights, civil and political rights, economic and social rights, minority rights, cultural rights, and the protection of minorities;
  • Regional issues and international obligations;
  • Economic criteria, and;
  • The ability to assume the acquis in the different negotiating chapters;

Medium-term priorities relate to economic criteria and the ability to assume the obligations of membership.

The implementation of the Accession Partnership will be examined using the mechanisms established under the Association Agreement as appropriate and through the Commission's progress reports. Its implementation is key for the advancement of the negotiating process.

[1] The decision was taken at a meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, without discussion.

[2] Council decision 2006/35/EC, Official Journal L/22, 26.01.06, p. 34-50.

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