In a recent visit to Turkey, German Chancellor Merkel offered it support during the accession negotiations, particularly in connection with the chapters regarding energy, the economy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, in exchange for Turkish cooperation in dealing with the refugee crisis, basically making the one dependent on the other.
In fact, the visit took place during a very tense period in the run-up to the Turkish elections. Furthermore Turkey has, in recent months been falling short of almost all the Copenhagen criteria, while adopting an ambiguous position regarding Islamic State.
In view of this:
— Can the Commission say whether it is admissible to link the accession of Turkey with its cooperation regarding the refugee crisis?
— Why has the progress report for Turkey, which was expected for early October, not been published?
— It is true that a number of modifications were made to the progress report and that this was prompted by the refugee crisis?
Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission
The overall process of the accession negotiations with Turkey is not linked to the migration agenda, although the current refugee crisis underlines the need for close cooperation with the enlargement countries. Closer cooperation with Turkey in the area of migration and border management and reforms Turkey is committed to launch in this regard will naturally bring Turkey's legislation closer to the acquis of Chapter 24 justice, freedom and security. This — in turn — may impact on the pace of negotiations on this chapter in the future.
The Commission's annual enlargement package was adopted on 10 November 2015. It is traditionally adopted in the period between mid-October and mid-November.
The report on Turkey(1) was updated before adoption to take into account key developments in Turkey, including the elections on 1 November 2015 and important developments with regard to media freedom.