The EU's decision to trim funding to Turkey by some 105 million euros projected to be paid in 2018 for political reasons will not affect Turkey considering the volume of the economy, a deputy prime minister said.
The bloc announced over the weekend the decision to cut funding to a certain extent after member states discussed the EU's budget for 2018 in a 16-hour meeting. Political developments in Turkey have been shown as the reason for the decision. The European Parliament (EP), which has been vigorously suggesting the budget cut for Turkey and has absolute authority over the EU budget, also participated in the negotiations.Despite Brussels' decision to trim funding by more than 100 million euros next year, Ankara remains unaffected. "A 105-million euro cut from EU funds is economically not important at all. Turkey uses 178 billion euros in gross external finance annually," Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy Mehmet Şimşek said on his official Twitter account. "What would be different if an EU member [state] were exposed to such a huge terrorist threat and the scene of a treacherous coup attempt?" Şimşek asked in response to Brussels' criticism of Turkey's alleged deviation from EU values.
The EP budget negotiator Siegfried Muresan said in a statement after the negotiations that "the deviation of Turkey from European standards" was the reason for the cut. He added that 105 million euros would be cut in pre-accession funds from the EU budget for Turkey next year.
The EP will address the decision at its plenary session on Nov. 30. As all political groups within the EP support the cut in funds to Turkey, a change in the decision is not expected. Following approval by the EP, the 2018 budget will be signed and will enter into force.
According to the European Commission, "From January 2007 onwards, the IPA funds replace a series of EU programs and financial instruments for candidate countries or potential candidate countries, namely. ... The financial instrument for Turkey."
Even though the EU decided to cut funding to Turkey, the money flows only into projects. European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva told Daily Sabah previously that the financial aid only helps nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and concrete projects. "The money from the Facility for Refugees in Turkey goes to NGOs and concrete projects, and all of this is carefully examined," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also said that as of August, only 190 million euros of the promised 4 billion euros have been paid to Turkey so far. "We have revised payments downwards and re-oriented our support towards civil society. Only 190 million euros have been paid of the 4 billion euros available for pre-accession," the European Commission spokesperson said.
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