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Partnership for the accession of Turkey

The purpose of the Accession Partnership is to assist the Turkish authorities in their efforts to meet the accession criteria. The Partnership places particular emphasis on political criteria. It covers in detail the priorities for Turkey’s accession preparations, with particular reference to implementation of the acquis, and provides a reference framework for directing pre-accession assistance.


Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey and repealing Decision 2006/35/EC.


The Accession Partnership, which is based on the pre-accession strategy, is the main instrument providing Turkey with guidance in its preparations for accession.

The Helsinki European Council (December 1999) decided to recognise Turkey as an applicant for accession on the basis of criteria equivalent to those applied to the other applicant countries. The accession negotiations were started on 3 October 2005.

The pre-accession strategy combines the frameworks and different instruments relating to the accession process of a new Member State, offering Turkey a coherent accession programme and enabling it to familiarise itself with the European Union's procedures and policies, notably by giving it the opportunity to participate in Community programmes.


The objective of the Accession Partnership is to incorporate in a single legal framework:

  • the priorities for reform with a view to preparing for accession;
  • guidelines for financial assistance for action in these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions governing implementation of the Partnership.

The Accession Partnership with Turkey was established in 2001 and has been revised three times (in 2003, 2006 and 2008). It evolves as the country progresses and continues its efforts to prepare for accession.

With a view to achieving the objectives identified in the Accession Partnership, Turkey adopted a national programme for transposing the Community acquis (NPAA), in which it sets out procedures and a programme for implementing action in the priority areas.


A distinction is made between short-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within one to two years, and medium-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within three to four years. Both are based primarily on Turkey's ability to comply with:

The short and medium-term priorities are:

  • political dialogue, which includes short-term priorities such as: democracy and the rule of law (public service, civilian oversight of security forces, the judicial system and anti-corruption policy), human rights and protection of minorities – which imply that these rights are promoted and respected at national and international level (civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, the situation in the east and southeast, displaced persons) – regional issues and international obligations (Cyprus, peaceful settlement of border disputes, Association Agreement);
  • economic criteria: market liberalisation, the fight against the underground economy, completion of the privatisation programme, improvement of the business climate, competitiveness, sustainability of public finances, budgetary and monetary policies guaranteeing macroeconomic stability, a coordinated economic policy and improvement of health and education levels and infrastructures and the correction of labour market imbalances;
  • ability to assume the obligations of membership, namely the adoption and implementation of the acquis (EU policies and legislation, both primary and secondary).


The Commission regularly evaluates the progress made by Turkey on the priorities set by the Accession Partnership and in the areas in which greater efforts have to be made. Such evaluation covers compliance with the accession criteria, including adoption and enforcement of the acquis. The Accession Partnership is monitored and its implementation evaluated under the Association Agreement between the European Union and Turkey.


Turkey receives financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) for the period 2007‑2013. The Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework for the period 2009‑2011 (MIIF) sets out the amount of assistance allocated to Turkey under the IPA: approximately EUR 3 037.9 million (including 2007 and 2008).

Community assistance is subject to compliance with the essential elements governing bilateral relations between Turkey and the EU, the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the partnership. If these elements are not complied with, the financial assistance may be suspended by the Council.

Turkey is also eligible for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) under its external lending mandate for the EU’s south-eastern neighbours.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2008/157/EC



OJ L 51 of 26.2.2008


Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004 (FR).

The European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005.


EEC‑Turkey Association Agreement (1963) [Official Journal No 217 of 29 December 1964].

Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Economic Community and Turkey following the enlargement of the European Union [Official Journal L 254 of 30 September 2005].


Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [OJ L 210 of 31 July 2006].

Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (CFIP) for:

  • 2008‑2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • 2009‑2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Reports are available on the website of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Enlargement.

Last updated: 29.05.2008