The European Court of Auditors plans to audit EU financial support for Turkey. Turkey is the single largest beneficiary of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), with more than 40% of all IPA allocations.
During the 2007-2013 period, Turkey was allocated €4.48 billion, of which €2.68 billion was committed and €2.19 billion paid out. Since 2014, a further €1.65 billion has been allocated but not yet paid out.
The aim of the IPA is to support the accession process and the underlying reforms in Turkey. However, as the auditors state, there is currently little progress in Turkey’s accession negotiations, and reforms have been backsliding in recent years.
There have been many financial audits and evaluations of the aid to Turkey but up to now no audit of the effectiveness of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance to Turkey, according to Hans Gustaf Wessberg, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.
The audit will assess whether EU pre-accession assistance to Turkey has been well-managed and effective. It will focus on three priority sectors: rule of law and fundamental rights; democracy and governance; and education, employment and social policies.
The results of the audit are expected by the first half of 2018.
The annual reports by the European Commission show that Turkey has not made much progress in the accession process and hardly meets any longer the Copenhagen political criteria for negotiation on EU membership. In the current political climate in Turkey the findings in the EU audit are likely to be negative.
Since December 2015 no Intergovernmental Conference with Turkey has taken place, and the Council has stated that no new chapters are being considered for opening.
As part of the governance system, the Turkish supreme state institution (Court of Accounts) could also be included in the EU audit. In recent years it has been struggling to develop performance auditing to strengthen accountability and transparency and improve the public administration in the country.
The Turkish Court of Accounts was recently in the limelight when it hosted the 10th EUROSAI Congress in Istanbul (22 – 25 May). EUROSAI (European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions) has 50 members, incl. the European Court of Auditors.
At the conference, the EUROSAI Presidency was handed over by the Netherlands to Turkey.