Balkans occidentaux et Turquie : Rôle essentiel du processus d’élargissement dans le renforcement de la stabilité économique et politique dans la région.
Bruxelles, le 10 novembre 2015 – Dans une série de rapports annuels adoptés ce jour, la Commission européenne évalue l’état d’avancement des pays des Balkans occidentaux et de la Turquie au regard des préparatifs visant à satisfaire aux critères d’adhésion à l’UE.
Dans une série de rapports annuels adoptés ce jour, la Commission européenne a évalué l’état d’avancement des pays des Balkans occidentaux et de la Turquie au regard des préparatifs visant à satisfaire aux critères d’adhésion à l’UE, exposant les mesures à prendre pour relever les défis restants.
À l’occasion de la présentation du «paquet élargissement» annuel, le commissaire Johannes Hahn s’est exprimé en ces termes: «La crise actuelle des réfugiés montre toute l’importance d’une coopération étroite entre l’UE et les pays de l’Europe du Sud-est. Le processus d’élargissement de l’UE, qui concerne les Balkans occidentaux et la Turquie, est un puissant outil pour renforcer l’État de droit et les droits de l’homme dans ces pays. Il donne aussi un coup de fouet au renforcement de l’économie, tout en promouvant la coopération régionale. Une perspective européenne claire a pour effet de transformer progressivement nos partenaires et de renforcer la stabilité autour de notre Union. C’est pourquoi notre engagement ferme à l’égard de l’élargissement de l’UE et des conditions à respecter à cette fin constitue un investissement à long terme dans la sécurité et la prospérité de l’Europe elle-même.»
La région a été gravement touchée par la crise des réfugiés. La Turquie apporte une aide substantielle à plus de 2 millions de réfugiés syriens présents sur son territoire. Les Balkans occidentaux, et en particulier l’ancienne République yougoslave de Macédoine et la Serbie, ont eu à faire face à l’afflux d’un nombre important de ressortissants de pays tiers transitant par leur territoire depuis le début de l’année. L’enjeu que représentent les migrations plaide plus que jamais en faveur d’une coopération accrue avec les pays visés par l’élargissement et l’UE fournit une aide substantielle à cette fin.
Les fondamentaux, clés de la stabilité
Dans sa stratégie d’élargissement, la Commission réaffirme avec force la volonté de privilégier le principe de la «priorité aux fondamentaux» dans le processus d’adhésion. Les questions essentielles que constituent l’État de droit, les droits fondamentaux, le renforcement des institutions démocratiques, y compris la réforme de l’administration publique, ainsi que le développement économique et la compétitivité restent des priorités clés. Des progrès sont réalisés, notamment avec l’adoption d’actes législatifs pertinents et la mise en place des structures administratives nécessaires. Toutefois, la mise en œuvre effective laisse très souvent à désirer dans tous les domaines. La Commission continuera de s’efforcer en priorité d’inciter les pays à privilégier les réformes dans ces domaines clés et d’obtenir des résultats en la matière.
État d’avancement .
Des progrès importants ont certes été accomplis au cours de l’année écoulée, mais il reste des défis de taille à relever. En ce qui concerne l’État de droit, les systèmes judiciaires ne sont pas suffisamment indépendants, efficients ou tenus de rendre compte de leur action. De sérieux efforts sont encore nécessaires en matière de lutte contre la criminalité organisée et la corruption, afin notamment d’obtenir des résultats en matière d’enquêtes, de poursuites et de condamnations définitives. Si les droits fondamentaux sont souvent en grande partie consacrés par la législation, des lacunes persistent dans la pratique. Le respect de la liberté d’expression constitue un défi particulier, la situation en la matière évoluant de manière négative dans un certain nombre de pays. La réforme de l’administration publique doit être poursuivie avec vigueur afin de mettre en place les capacités administratives nécessaires et de résoudre les problèmes que constituent les niveaux élevés de politisation et le manque de transparence. Le fonctionnement des institutions démocratiques nécessite aussi une attention particulière. Il convient de coopérer encore plus étroitement avec les acteurs de la société civile au niveau local afin d’ancrer les réformes dans la société.
La plupart des pays sont confrontés à des défis de taille en matière de gouvernance économique et de compétitivité. Le développement économique revêt une importance capitale pour la création d’emplois et la croissance et pour susciter un intérêt croissant parmi les investisseurs. La Commission a mis en particulier l’accent sur la coopération régionale et les actions visant à stimuler le développement économique régional et la connectivité. Des progrès importants ont été accomplis dans ce domaine, notamment grâce au «processus de Berlin» et à l’initiative du «Groupe des Six des Balkans occidentaux». La Commission souligne aussi la nécessité d’entretenir des relations de bon voisinage et de surmonter les différends bilatéraux.
La Commission a instauré cette année une approche renforcée de ses évaluations des fondamentaux et des chapitres de l’acquis s’y rapportant. La stratégie d’élargissement globale est désormais pluriannuelle et couvre la période correspondant au mandat de la Commission. Outre l’examen des progrès réalisés, cette stratégie met beaucoup plus l’accent sur l’état de préparation en vue d’assumer les obligations découlant de l’adhésion. Dans le même temps, les rapports fournissent des orientations encore plus claires sur les actions que les pays devraient entreprendre à court comme à long terme. Des échelles d’évaluation harmonisées sont utilisées pour améliorer la comparabilité entre les différents pays et la transparence du processus d’adhésion, ce qui devrait permettre un contrôle plus rigoureux des réformes par toutes les parties prenantes.
Le programme d’élargissement actuel concerne les pays des Balkans occidentaux et la Turquie. Les négociations d’adhésion avec la Turquie ont été ouvertes en 2005, mais ne progressent que lentement. Des négociations d’adhésion avec le Monténégro et la Serbie sont en cours depuis, respectivement, 2012 et 2014. Le processus d’adhésion à l’UE mené avec l’ancienne République yougoslave de Macédoine – qui a le statut de pays candidat depuis 2005 – reste dans l’impasse. L’Albanie s’est vu octroyer le statut de pays candidat en 2014 et s’efforce de mettre en œuvre un certain nombre de priorités clés avant que la Commission ne puisse recommander l’ouverture de négociations d’adhésion. Un accord de stabilisation et d’association (ASA) avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine est entré en vigueur en juin. Un ASA avec le Kosovo a été signé en octobre 2015. [ What’s new in the 2015 enlargement package?]
Full Speech by Enlargment Commissioner Johannes Hahn before the Foreign Affairs Committee
Brussels, 10 November 2015 – I am delighted to be able to present to you today the enlargement package……..finally! And I am particularly happy to do this here in the AFET meeting together with Colleagues from the national parliaments!
At the end of September last year, during my hearing in this House, I said there would be no standstill in our work on enlargement. The European perspective remains as important as ever.
I also stressed I wanted to step up our activities with pre-accession partners. Over the past 12 months, I have engaged with all our partners very intensively. The Commission has invested heavily in helping to prepare them for the many challenges that lie ahead, in putting them on a firmer European track, and in defusing political crises.
The current refugee crisis has only reinforced the strategic case for close cooperation with the countries in south-east Europe – for the sake of Europe’s own stability. The enlargement process brings concrete results through economic and democratic reforms. These reforms gradually transform the countries concerned, improving their resilience and strengthening stability in our immediate neighbourhood. Therefore, enlargement policy and a smart migration policy with our partners are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually reinforcing.
This year’s Enlargement package, adopted by the Commission today, contains a number of new elements:
First, unlike in previous years when a new strategy paper was adopted each year, this time we set out an overarching strategy for the next 4 years of my mandate.
Second, we have further strengthened the basis for our assessments in the country reports. There is more emphasis on the level of preparedness for taking on membership obligations.
We have also provided much clearer guidance to the countries on what they have to focus on in the year ahead. Also the longer term results that are needed to meet EU expectations are spelled out more clearly than in the past.
Reporting is also more harmonised, with a clear assessment scale allowing each country to see clearly where they stand in key areas.
This approach increases the transparency of the process making it easier for citizens and civil society to scrutinise reforms.
You will see that we have applied this new approach to reporting in a number of areas directly linked to the fundamental reforms. This year’s report clearly reaffirms the need for strong focus on the principle of “fundamentals first” in the accession process, which will continue to be the backbone of enlargement policy under this Commission.
We will continue to focus our efforts on the rule of law, which is crucial. This includes judicial reforms, tackling organised crime and corruption. There is a strong focus on fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and fighting discrimination, notably against the LGBTI community and Roma, and on the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration reform.
We have also put a stronger emphasis on promoting economic development and strengthening competitiveness, which for me is equally a basic pillar alongside the fundamentals.
In other words: The rule of law and economic development are two sides of the same coin.
Let me also underline the importance of regional cooperation. Here, we flag the progress on the connectivity agenda, in particular in the context of the ‘Berlin process’ and the Western Balkans Six format.
We also stress the need for good neighbourly relations and overcoming bilateral disputes.
As regards the current refugee crisis, increased cooperation with the wider region is urgently required to address this phenomenon, in order to identify people in need of protection, to provide assistance, to secure the EU’s external borders and to dismantle criminal networks engaged in people smuggling. The Commission is providing significant support to this end
Let me highlight some of the key points in the 2015 Enlargement Package for each of the countries, starting with the Western Balkans:
Montenegro has made progress in its accession negotiations, including the opening of eight negotiating chapters. This was made possible thanks to progress on the rule of law and strengthening of the legal and institutional framework. However the track record on corruption and organised crime remains limited. With key laws and structures in place, this now needs to be the focus of attention.
I would like to also take this opportunity to recall the need for constructive and inclusive dialogue between government and opposition – dialogue that has to take place in parliament!
This is becoming even more urgent, taking into account recent events in the country. Only they can find the best way forward.
Serbiahas taken major steps on its EU path, which brings closer the opening of the first negotiation chapters. I am very confident this can be done at an Inter-Governmental Conference still this year.
Serbia finalised rule of law action plans, reached key agreements with Kosovo, and has been vey constructive in developing regional co-operation with its neighbours. At the same time, Serbia embarked on an ambitious economic reform agenda.
Serbia is also affected by the refugee crisis but handled the unprecedented influx of refugees relatively well.
Serbia should now build on this progress. We expect a renewed commitment to move decisively forward with the reforms, in particular in the area of judiciary, fight against corruption and organised crime, freedom of expression, anti-discrimination, public administration reform and the economy. Equally important is to maintain the same level of commitment for further progress in normalisation of relations with Kosovo.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is at a relatively good level of legislative alignment. But the content of the wiretaps which have come into the public domain shows that the political system is seriously undermined by political interference and corruption.
In June and July, I facilitated a political agreement with the help of MEPs Vajgl, Howitt and Kukan. I remain convinced that this is the best way to put an end to the political crisis for once and for all.
The political leaders must implement the political agreement in good faith, as well as the ‘Urgent Reform Priorities’. The inter-ethnic situation remains fragile and the review of the Ohrid Framework Agreement needs to be completed. It is essential that further measures are taken to build trust among ethnic communities. In the light of the progress made so far in the implementation of the June/July political agreement, the Commission is prepared to extend its recommendation to open accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This shall, however, be conditional on the continued implementation of the June/July political agreement and substantial progress in the implementation of the urgent reform priorities. This issue shall be addressed again after the elections.
In AlbaniaI welcome the steady progress in addressing the key priorities for the opening of accession negotiations, and in pursuing a set of reforms necessary to advance on the EU integration path. However, more needs to be done on the rule of law in particular through carrying out a thorough reform of the judiciary and gradually building a solid track record on fighting corruption and organised crime.
A more systematic approach to the protection of fundamental rights needs to be ensured and, regarding property rights, the legislation on restitution and compensation of property nationalised under the communist regime needs to be adopted.
As regards Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country is back on the reform track. The EU initiative of December 2014 enabled a new reform momentum which led to the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in June and the adoption of a comprehensive Reform Agenda focused on socio-economic, rule of law and public administration reforms.
In this regard I welcome some implementation of the Reform Agenda which started in July and seems to be on good track. Equally, the Structured Dialogue on Justice proves to be the right forum to address relevant issues on the state level judiciary.
In the near future I expect Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve policy coordination at all levels and deliver on the SAA adaptation following the accession of Croatia.
Kosovogovernment has taken some very difficult decisions lately with the establishment of the Specialist Chambers and a Specialist Prosecution office as well as the agreements reached with Belgrade in August. Our report acknowledges these key decisions. However the six month political stalemate after the elections delayed key reforms. Kosovo is at an early stage in numerous areas and needs to stay focused on its reform agenda.
Together with High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini I co-signed the SAA with Kosovo on 27 October in Strasbourg. This was a historic step in EU relations with Kosovo and completes the map of SAAs with the entire Western Balkan region. I now look forward to this House giving its consent and to the agreement being concluded and entering into force as soon as possible thereafter.
Turning finally to Turkey, we share common opportunities and challenges, as made painfully clear by the ongoing refugee crisis. I commend Turkey’s impressive humanitarian support to more than 2 million refugees from Syria and Iraq. We have stepped up our cooperation with the Joint Action Plan for refugees and migration management, which First Vice-President Timmermans and I negotiated.
But our relations with Turkey extend beyond migration, and we have continued to enhance our cooperation in all areas of joint interest: foreign and security policy, counter-terrorism, energy, trade and economic relations.
The Commission hopes to see an end to the escalating violence in Turkey and a return to the negotiations on a lasting solution of the Kurdish issue.
Over the past year, significant shortcomings affected the independence of the judiciary as well as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, in particular as regards increased pressure and intimidation of journalists and media outlets as well as amendments to the internet law which allow blocking media content. Reforms in these key areas are an indispensable priority in Turkey’s accession process – in Turkey’s own interest.
We will strongly engage with the new Turkish government on these key issues. This is all the more important now, with hopes that the momentum in the settlement talks on the Cyprus issue can deliver decisive progress and boost accession negotiations with Turkey.
The next year will be a busy period for the enlargement countries. We have set out more clearly where they stand and what they need to do, both in the year ahead and in the longer term. All enlargement countries must now deliver on their reform commitments.
The support of this Committee and your continued bilateral contacts with enlargement countries will be crucial in that regard.
I look forward to the European Parliament’s response to each of the country reports. [Video: Presentation of the 2015 Enlargement Package by Johannes HAHN] — [Video: Press Conference]
Strategy and Reports
Each year the Commission adopts its “Enlargement package” – a set of documents explaining its policy on EU enlargement. Most importantly, this package includes the Enlargement Strategy Paper] which sets out the way forward and takes stock of the progress made by each candidate country and potential candidate. In addition to this strategy paper, the package contains the Reports in which the Commission services present their assessment of what each candidate and potential candidate has achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities.
Key findings of the 2015 report on Turkey
Brussels, 10 November 2015 – 2015 enlargement package : The report on Turkey is part of the 2015 enlargement package adopted today by the European Commission. The Report highlights that the EU and Turkey continued to enhance cooperation in the areas of joint interest, which support and complement the accession negotiations. Political dialogue on foreign and security policy continued, including on counter-terrorism, against the background of Turkey joining the international coalition against Da’esh. Cooperation on visas, mobility and migration was pursued in the framework of the visa liberalisation dialogue launched in December 2013. Turkey continued to provide unprecedented humanitarian aid and support to refugees from Syria and Iraq. A Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan for refugees and migration management was welcomed by the European Council in October. The Commission and Turkey agreed to step up cooperation on energy. Developing further close economic ties was also a shared priority and both sides agreed to initiate procedures in view of a modernisation and extension of the Customs Union. Good progress has been made towards the opening of chapter 17 – economic and monetary policy – which would underpin the envisaged high level economic dialogue.
At the same time, the report emphasises an overall negative trend in the respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights. Significant shortcomings affected the judiciary as well as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Turkey saw a severe deterioration of its security situation. The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume. The new government formed after the repeat election on 1 November will need to address these urgent priorities. Regarding the economic criteria, the Turkish economy is well advanced and can be considered a functioning market economy. Turkey has also a good level of preparation in acquiring the capacity to cope with the competitive pressure and market forces within the EU. Turkey has continued to align with the acquis, albeit at a slower pace,and has achieved a good level of preparation in many areas.
The pace of reforms slowed down over the past year in Turkey, also due to protracted elections and the continued political divide. The 7 June general election saw a record 84% turnout and all major political parties were represented in the new parliament. However, a government could not be formed by the constitutional deadline and repeat elections took place on 1 November, again with a very high turnout of 85 %. All major political parties re-won seats in the parliament with the ruling party securing enough votes to form a majority government. The security of the repeat election was ensured despite concerns due to the situation notably in the east and southeast of the country. There was an increased pressure on the media which gave cause for serious concern. Amongst the shortcomings in the legal framework regulating elections, the 10% threshold of votes to be represented in parliament need to be addressed as a priority.
Turkey saw a severe deterioration of its security situation. The authorities launched an extensive anti-terror military and security campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which remains on the EU list of terrorist organisations, both in Turkey and in Iraq. The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume.
Turkey was struck by the deadliest terrorist attack in its modern history, on 10 October in Ankara, claiming the lives of scores of demonstrators gathering for a peace rally sponsored by trade unions and opposition parties’ youth branches. It is essential that swift and transparent investigations are conducted into these heinous acts which were aimed to destabilise and harm Turkey’s democracy.
Turkey continued to express its commitment to EU accession. This commitment was, however, offset by the adoption of key legislation in the area of the rule of law, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly that ran against European standards. The President remained engaged in a wide range of key domestic and foreign policy issues, which led within Turkey to criticism that he was overstepping constitutional prerogatives.
Turkey has a strong public service and is committed to a user-oriented administration. However, impetus for a more comprehensive and modern reform is weak. Civil society has remained active, growing in numbers and continuing to be involved in many spheres of public life but restrictions to freedom of assembly continued to be a serious concern.
In the area of the judiciary, Turkey’s justice system has reached some level of preparation. The independence of the judiciary and the principle of separation of powers have been undermined since 2014 and judges and prosecutors have been under strong political pressure. The government’s campaign against the alleged ‘parallel structure’ within the state was actively pursued, at times encroaching on the independence of the judiciary. Substantial efforts are needed to restore the independence of the judiciary.
As regards the fight against corruption, Turkey has reached some level of preparation to effectively prevent and fight corruption. Turkey’s track record in the fight against corruption remains inadequate. Corruption is perceived as widespread. The undue influence by the executive in the investigation and prosecution of high-profile corruption cases continues to constitute a major concern.
Turkey has achieved some level of preparation in the fight against organised crime, and needs to increase financial investigations and improve statistics. The absence of data protection legislation is an impediment for widened cooperation with EU bodies and Member States.
Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms had considerably improved over the past few years but major shortcomings remain. The enforcement of rights stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is not yet fully ensured. There is an urgent need to adopt a comprehensive framework law on combating discrimination in line with European standards. Turkey also needs to effectively guarantee the rights of women, children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and ensure sufficient attention to the social inclusion of vulnerable groups such as the Roma. There was significant backsliding in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Legislation on internal security contradicts the measures outlined in the March 2014 action plan on the prevention of violations of the ECHR by granting broad discretionary powers to the law enforcement agencies without adequate oversight. Most recently, the escalation of violence in the east and south east since July gave rise to serious concerns over human rights violations. Anti-terror measures taken in this context need to be proportionate. Turkey should widen the scope and improve the monitoring of the implementation of the action plan. After several years of progress on freedom of expression, serious backsliding was seen over the past two years,with some level of preparation in this field. Ongoing and new criminal cases against journalists, writers or social media users, intimidation of journalists and media outlets as well as the authorities’ actions curtailing freedom of media are of considerable concern. Changes to the internet law are a significant step back from European standards.
The Turkish economy is well advanced and can be considered a functioning market economy. In the reporting period, Turkey continued to face external and internal imbalances, calling for adjustments in monetary and fiscal policies as well as an acceleration of comprehensive structural reforms. The large current account deficit continued to contribute to the Turkish economy´s vulnerability to shifts in global monetary conditions and risk sentiment. On the internal side, inflation continued to run at a relatively high rate, which is problematic in terms of macro-economic stability, resource allocation and re-distributive effects. It again exceeded the official target; nevertheless the central bank cut interest rates. Public debt has attained a sustainable level, but the general government structural balance has been significantly negative. Structural reforms need also to accelerate to improve the functioning of the markets for goods, services and labour.
Turkey has a good level of preparation in acquiring the capacity to cope with the competitive pressure and market forces within the EU. The quality of education and gender equality in education needs particular attention. Efforts are needed to ensure the transparency of state aid and to remove constraints and exceptions in the area of public procurement.
Turkey has continued to align with the acquis, albeit at a slower pace, and has achieved a good level of preparation in many areas. Turkey is well advanced in the areas of company law, financial services, trans-European networks and science and research. The country has also achieved a good level of preparation in the areas of free movement of goods, intellectual property law, enterprise and industrial policy, customs union, external relations, and financial control. In the area of justice, freedom and security, Turkey remained highly mobilised to tackle the extraordinary migration and asylum challenges. Turkey is only moderately prepared on public procurement and statistics. In all areas, more attention needs to be given to enforce legislation whilst many areas require further significant progress to achieve legislative alignment with the acquis.
State of play on accession negotiations
EU accession negotiations with Turkey began on 3 October 2005. In total, 14 out of 33 negotiation chapters have been opened, and one of the open chapters has been provisionally closed. As a result of Turkey not having fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement, the EU decided in December 2006 that eight negotiating chapters could not be opened and that no chapter could be provisionally closed until Turkey meets its obligations.
September 1959: Turkey applies for associate membership of the European Economic Community (EEC)
September 1963: Signature of the Association Agreement, aiming at enhancing economic cooperation and achieving a Customs Union between Turkey and the EEC
April 1987:Turkey presents its formal application for membership of the European Economic Community
January 1995: Turkey – EU Agreement creating a customs union
December 1999: The European Council recognises Turkey as a candidate country
December 2004: The European Council agrees to start accession negotiations with Turkey
October 2005: Start of accession negotiations
December 2006: The Council decides that eight negotiating chapters cannot be opened and no chapter can be closed until Turkey meets its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional protocol to the Association Agreement
May 2012:European Commission and Turkey start the implementation of the Positive agenda for Turkey
November 2013: Chapter 22 on Regional Policy and coordination of structural instruments becomes the 14th chapter on which negotiations are opened
December 2013: The EU-Turkey readmission agreement is signed in parallel with the launching of the visa liberalisation dialogue.
October 2014: The EU-Turkey readmission agreement enters into force.
Filed under: Avrupa Birliği, European Union/Avrupa Birliği | Tagged: 2015 enlargement package, Key findings of the 2015 report on Turkeyi, Processus d’élargissement, What’s new in the 2015 enlargement package? |