49th EU-Turkey Association Council

(Brus­sels, 19 April 2011)
The EU-Turkey Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil held its 49th meet­ing on Tues­day, 19 April 2011. The meet­ing was chaired by Mr Ahmet DAVUTOĞLU, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs of Turkey and Head of the Turk­ish del­e­ga­tion. The Turk­ish del­e­ga­tion also includ­ed Mr Ege­men BAĞIS, Min­is­ter for EU Affairs and Chief Nego­tia­tor. Mr János MARTONYI, Min­is­ter for For­eign Affairs of Hun­gary, led the Euro­pean Union del­e­ga­tion on behalf of the EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy. Mr Šte­fan FÜLE, Com­mis­sion­er respon­si­ble for Enlarge­ment, rep­re­sent­ed the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil meet­ing pro­vid­ed a time­ly oppor­tu­ni­ty to review EU-Turkey rela­tions. In line with the Coun­cil con­clu­sions of 14 Decem­ber 2010, the EU not­ed progress made by Turkey in its prepa­ra­tions in the frame­work of the nego­ti­at­ing process. Over­all, at this stage, out of 35 nego­ti­at­ing chap­ters, thir­teen have been opened and one pro­vi­sion­al­ly closed. As con­cerns chap­ters for which open­ing bench­marks have been set, the EU invit­ed Turkey to address them accord­ing­ly, and to step up its efforts in meet­ing estab­lished conditions.

The EU reaf­firmed that the pace of nego­ti­a­tions depends notably on Turkey’s progress in address­ing open­ing and clos­ing bench­marks, in meet­ing the require­ments of the Nego­ti­at­ing Frame­work, and in respect­ing its con­trac­tu­al oblig­a­tions towards the EU. In this con­text, the EU wel­comed the open­ing of one nego­ti­at­ing chap­ter in 2010. Recall­ing the good progress made by Turkey towards the ful­fil­ment of the open­ing bench­marks in the field of Com­pe­ti­tion Pol­i­cy, the EU not­ed that fur­ther efforts were required to meet the open­ing bench­marks in this chap­ter, and in the chap­ters on Pub­lic pro­cure­ment, and Social pol­i­cy. The EU also recalled the cru­cial impor­tance of imple­ment­ing the pri­or­i­ties enshrined in the Acces­sion Partnership. 

Progress made by Turkey in meet­ing the Copen­hagen polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic cri­te­ria, as well as Turkey’s efforts towards align­ment with the acquis com­mu­nau­taire, was also reviewed. The EU wel­comed the con­sti­tu­tion­al reform pack­age as a step in the right direc­tion, which now should be imple­ment­ed in line with Euro­pean stan­dards. The EU encour­aged Turkey to fur­ther improve the obser­vance of fun­da­men­tal rights and free­doms in law and in prac­tice, stress­ing in par­tic­u­lar the areas of free­dom of expres­sion and free­dom of reli­gion where sub­stan­tial progress is needed.

The EU not­ed that a num­ber of pos­i­tive steps have been reg­is­tered on civil­ian over­sight of the secu­ri­ty forces and imple­men­ta­tion of the judi­cial reform strat­e­gy, but fur­ther progress is need­ed. Fur­ther­more, the EU under­lined that fur­ther efforts towards ful­ly meet­ing the Copen­hagen cri­te­ria are also required, inter alia, as regards prop­er­ty rights, trade union rights, rights of per­sons belong­ing to minori­ties, women’s and children’s rights, antidis­crim­i­na­tion and gen­der equal­i­ty, and the fight against tor­ture and ill-treatment.

In line with the Coun­cil con­clu­sions of 14 Decem­ber 2010, the EU recalled Turkey’s oblig­a­tion of full, non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry imple­men­ta­tion of the Addi­tion­al Pro­to­col to the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment and the impor­tance of progress in the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of bilat­er­al rela­tions between Turkey and all Mem­ber States, includ­ing the Repub­lic of Cyprus. Fur­ther­more, the Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil reviewed the state of bilat­er­al rela­tions. The EU recalled that with regard to the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment and the Cus­toms Union, there remain a num­ber of unful­filled com­mit­ments by the Turk­ish side. Final­ly, the Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil con­sid­ered pri­or­i­ties for fur­ther work with­in the frame­work of the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment and the Cus­toms Union. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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