Bagis: "The EU budget excluding Turkey isn't final"
The European Commission's decision to not include Turkey in the first draft of the European Union budget for 2014-2020 isn't final but is still open to discussion, according to Turkey's chief EU talks negotiator, Egemen Bagis. "The decision isn't final; it is still to be discussed," State Minister Bagis told reporters in Istanbul yesterday. Candidate countries receive special funding during their first five years of EU membership. An allocation has been foreseen for Croatia, another candidate country that started membership talks the same year as Turkey and is expected to conclude its negotiations later this year. However, no such funds were foreseen for Turkey in the budget. Member states' opposition to Turkey's joining the bloc caused the European Commission, tasked with preparing the budget, to rebuff Ankara's demands to have Turkey included in the EU's 2014-2020 financial considerations. Bagis added, however, that the EU faces serious problems, including an energy crisis, economic depression, an aging population and integration concerns within the bloc itself. "If we keep up with this economic growth, properly educate our young population and be patient, it will be the EU running after us," he said. During his visit to Istanbul, Bagis met with Turkey's independent rapporteur, Albert Rohan, at Turkey's EU General Secretariat office in Ortakoy. Bagis praised Rohan's contributions to Ankara's EU negotiation process, while Rohan stressed the importance of Turkey's accession to the bloc. "Turkey cannot be without the EU and the EU cannot be without Turkey," Rohan said.