Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
any benchmarks as regards economic performance in relation to the EU. The Commission already has certified Turkey as a functioning market economy; and, provided that it continues its comprehensive structural reform program, the EU expects the country to withstand the competition pressures in the EU in the medium term.21 Presuming that political disputes are resolved and the Council approves, Turkey might therefore join the EU after 2020. Although reliable estimates concerning economic performance or structures cannot be given this far in advance, it is nevertheless certain that Turkey will still be poor compared to the rest of the EU. The agricultural sector, while smaller than today, will still be big and labor-intensive. Regional disparities are also likely to persist. While this was and still is also the case for most East European member states, the impact on the budget in the case of Turkey is a different one as a much higher amount of funding is needed to have a visible impact on a large country. Territorial cohesion and thus solidarity with the poorer and weaker regions is an EU goal codified by the Lisbon Treaty. Traditionally, measures aimed at generating growth in the regions have been funded via the structural funds. With a GDP far below 90% of the EU average, Turkey would be eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund. Further, its regions would fall into the highest support category for regions with a GDP below 75%, i.e., the current Convergence Objective. In addition, the Turkish agricultural sector would be entitled to significant support via the Common Agricultural Policy to ensure a decent income for the farmers and to support the development of rural areas. However, considering the trends in those policy areas, several factors would limit support. First and foremost, the amount earmarked for cohesion and agricultural policy in the MFF will be too low to cater to the needs of both Turkey and the regions in other member states. In line with the commit-
21. COM(2010) 660 final: Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council: Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011, 9.11.2010.
Turkey on the European doorstep
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...