The European Commission has published Progress Reports on all European Union candidate countries, including Turkey. The reports were published on 10 October 2015 in connection with the 2015 Enlargement Package. The latest report is Turkey's 18th Progress Report and reflects the retrospective approach embraced by the new European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. Accordingly, the Progress Reports evaluate overall compliance with European Union norms through the lenses of the harmonization process.

Progress Reports consider three main areas: Political Criteria, Economic Criteria and the Ability to Assume Membership Obligations. A candidate country's progress is generally assessed by comparing local legislation with European Union norms.

The Political Criteria primarily consider judicial systems, freedom of speech and freedom of press.

Within the Economic Criteria, Turkey's Progress Report endorses the country's functioning market economy, as well as the high level of commercial and economic integration.

Significant points in Turkey's Progress Report regarding its Ability to Assume Membership Obligations include:

  • Turkey was already evaluated as having a high level of alignment regarding company law. Turkey's adoption of new corporate accounting and financial reporting standards, as well as amendments to existing standards based on International Financial Reporting Standards is seen as a positive development. However, Turkey must finalize technical alignment of its legislation with European Union norms, including legislation related to mergers and divisions.
  • Turkey is evaluated as having a good level of alignment regarding intellectual property law. The Progress Report recommends Turkey adopt pending intellectual property and copyright legislation, as well as improve anti-counterfeiting and piracy enforcement measures.
  • Turkey is evaluated as having a good level of preparation regarding financial services. The Progress Report recommends that Turkey take measures to re-establish trust in the independence of supervisory agencies. In particular, the Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Agency.
  • Turkey is evaluated as being moderately prepared regarding the energy field. The Progress Report notes good progress over the last year regarding security of supply. The Report outlines three main areas of priority for the coming year within this context:
  • Establish a functioning competitive market in the natural gas sector in line with the EU acquis.
  • Implement a transparent and cost-based pricing mechanism for electricity and gas.
  • Make urgent progress on aligning with the EU acquis on nuclear energy, to establish the necessary legal framework for planning and building nuclear plants.
  • Turkey is evaluated as being moderately prepared regarding taxation. The Progress Report notes that Turkey should comply with the 2009 action plan for excise duties on alcoholic beverages, as well as align excise legislation on energy products with the EU acquis.
  • Turkey was already evaluated as having reached a good level of preparation regarding the Customs Union and no further progress was noted during this reporting period. Duty relief, free zones, surveillance measures and management of tariff quotas are not yet fully in line with the EU acquis or Turkey's obligations under the Customs Union. The Progress Report recommends that Turkey particularly improve risk-based controls and simplify procedures to facilitate legitimate trade, while ensuring security and safety. It also recommends that import and export restrictions be removed which prevent the effective free movement of goods.

Please see this link for the full text of the Report.

Information first published in the MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by Moroğlu Arseven

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