On Wednesday, the 27th of October, Turkey was given the green light to join several EU schemes, while the UK is still waiting to join such schemes following its withdrawal from the EU.
According to Brussels Times, ‘certain non-EU countries are allowed to participate in schemes like Erasmus+, Horizon Europe and the European Solidarity Corps, providing they fulfil certain criteria, such as membership of the European Economic Area or EU candidate status’.
At this present moment, Turkey has been a candidate country for EU membership, since 1999. While membership negotiations began in 2005, these negotiations have stalled several times, notably due to the distance between the EU and Turkey regarding the human rights record of the Erdogan government.’
Despite this, this has not prevented Turkey from being allowed to gain access to EU schemes, such as the Erasmus+ programme, due to its candidate status. Further, Brussels Times said that ‘Turkey is joining the likes of Iceland and Norway in securing access to programmes that are worth billions of euros in funding and which are extremely popular’.
These agreements signed between Turkey and the European Commission will allow the country to be granted access to be respective programmes until 2027 at the earliest. According to EU education and innovation chief, Mariya Gabriel, ‘Turkish participation in the new generation of our EU programmes will reinforce their capacities and support integration into the European Research Area and European Education Area’.
Brussels Times has further clarified that this ‘marks a continuation of a collaboration between Brussels and Ankara that dates back to 2003. Turkish researchers enjoyed 277 million euro in funding under the last Horizon programme, while more than 700 million euro was allocated under the Erasmus+ scheme’.
Meanwhile, post-Brexit, ideally, the UK would have liked to have gained access to these respective programmes. To date, at the time of writing, it has not been able to gain such access. Other countries, which are in limbo, is Switzerland.
According to Brussels Times, ‘Switzerland is another non-EU applicant that is in limbo, following its government’s decision not to renew a bilateral treaty with the EU. Talks are still ongoing and Horizon Europe access, in particular, is blocked until the matter is resolved’.
The granting of access of various EU schemes will be a boost for relations between the EU and Turkey and allow for greater interaction and collaboration among the wider European population. This will be a welcome change of pace for the parties as relations have deteriorated in recent years over matters related to migration and energy.