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EU unjustifiably rewards Erdogan with 595 million euros
The European N-VA delegation has voted against the EU budget for 2017 which has in the meantime been approved. “We are disappointed in the European policy choices,” says MEP Sander Loones. “Above all the fact that Erdogan is being given European money to the tune of 595 million euros is something I just can’t get my head around.”
The Open Vld has brought up the thorny subject for discussion. In the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, the Flemish liberals are advocating freezing the European accession resources for Turkey. “A great move,” Sander Loones says. “Although it’s a slightly surprising one, since the Open Vld and all other traditional parties in the European Parliament had only just voted down an amendment to freeze the European accession resources for Turkey. Naturally, however, we welcomed their newly sharpened insight.”
After that, the tough statements just kept on coming. For example, various MEPs demanded that Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU be put on hold. Just a week ago, an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament finally voted in favour of a freeze of those accession negotiations. “But to our great surprise, the broadly-supported declaration seemed to have been forgotten just a week later,” Sander Loones notes. In the vote on the European budget, the Parliament yesterday decided not to sanction Erdogan after all, but on the contrary to reward him unjustifiably with 595 million euros from the European budget for next year. The traditional parties, sp.a, Open Vld, CD&V, PS, cdH and MR, indeed all voted in favour of the budget and therefore in favour of the extra funds for Erdogan. The N-VA voted resolutely against it.
Money down the drain
“The European Parliament is acting as though it wants to send Erdogan an assertive message with the right hand, and yet is giving away an enormous amount of money with its left. That’s not just inconsistent, it’s also money down the drain,” says Sander Loones. “In recent years we have seen a clear decline in democracy in Turkey. These 595 million euros will once again disappear into the Turkish doldrums of autocratic obscurity, money that Europe could in fact have used much better itself to strengthen its own border control.”
“I find it lamentable that the traditional European parties limit themselves to mere words,” Sander Loones concludes. “Once again there are the tough statements, but when push comes to shove, the traditional parties fail to translate those words into actions. And in the meantime Erdogan is laughing all the way to the bank.”