The European Budget Post-2013 and its Effects on EU-Turkey Relations
ment of the Commission to the EU 2020 strategy, research and innovation funding will receive higher funding at the relative cost of both the agricultural and the cohesion policy whose share in the budget will further decline. Although Turkey is already participating in EU research programs as a candidate country, the level of investment for research and development at 0.85% of GDP22 is less than half as high as the EU-27 average. Therefore, it will still take considerable time for Turkey to dispose of the research infrastructure and benefit from those programs. In addition to the research infrastructure, investments will also be necessary for other infrastructure projects in order to increase the international competitiveness of Turkey. In addition to the structural funds, they could be delivered from the Infrastructure Fund which the Commission envisages. With the accession of a large but weak country, the GDP average of the EU would decrease. Therefore, the statistical effect of making poor regions relatively richer would be considerable because the affected regions would no longer be found in the old member states such as Germany or Spain but in Eastern Europe. Even without Turkey, it has been difficult to find transitional measures to compensate the affected regions for their losses (resulting from the statistical effect.) Finding a solution with many of the additional regions concerned will be even more difficult. Apart from the fact that it is highly disputed and may not be realized, the intermediate category foreseen by the Commission to support regions with a GDP between 75 and 90% would also prove too costly. Apart from the (relatively) stronger regions which would no longer be eligible for the highest funding, the accession of Turkey would also have an effect on the weakest regions that remained in the same category as the Turkish ones, for there would be competition for funds. Of course, the funding cap which the Commission proposes to lower from 4% to 2.5% of GNI should limit the funding to one country. However, because of the size of Turkey, this would still add up to a significant amount. Related to the funding cap is the issue of fund absorption: many countries in Eastern Europe have not made use of their funds because they do not have the means to co-finance 22. Eurostat estimate for 2010.
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...