Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, met with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Brussels to discuss how to intensify the dialogue on key elements of EU-Turkey relations.
In the bilateral meeting they agreed on close cooperation in areas of mutual benefit for the EU and Turkey, in particular in the area of rule of law.
“We need to change the way in which we cooperate as regards the accession negotiations. This is particularly important for the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights. We need to intensify our dialogue at all phases of policy and law making on these issues which are at the very centre of the accession process. They must be treated as an absolute priority. We also need to work closely on the assessment of the existing legislation” Commissioner Füle stressed.
Commissioner Füle expressed the EU’s concerns about recent developments in Turkey that undermine the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression. He also welcomed the good cooperation with Turkey on the visa dialogue (Turkey and the European Union have launched a dialogue on visa liberalisation and signed the Readmission Agreement with a signature ceremony in Ankara on December 16, 2013).
Commissioner Füle and Minister Çavuşoğlu also discussed the modernisation of the Customs Union. After their meeting Commissioner Füle delivered an opening speech at the event organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, to launch the report on the evaluation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union. The purpose of this initiative, based on the status of goods in free circulation, is however limited to industrial products and processed agricultural products. Turkey signed this agreement with the EU in 1995 and was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki Summit of the European Council. Negotiations were started on 3 October 2005 and the process is likely to take at least a decade to complete, but the membership bid has become a major controversy of the ongoing enlargement of the European Union.