Prof. Turan’s speech at the EMI Montenegro Congress (21-23 November 2013)

By European Union Economic and Monetary Union and Single Market

Prof. Turan’s speech at the EMI Montenegro Congress (21-23 November 2013)

Prof Turan stated that the Annual Enlargement Strategy Paper and the Progression reports were prepared at a time where enlargement fatigue, doubts about the economic future, fears for the euro, unsolved unemployment, lower growth rates and fears of deflation casted their shadows on the EU. She explained that we lived at a time when anti EU, anti immigrant parties were on the rise as exemplified by various nationalist parties in the UK, in France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Greece who have more and more a say in the making of politics and which all have one point of agreement: a dislike of the EU. This led Prof. Turan to ask the following question: Will these developments make further enlargement more difficult for the three potential candidates and 5 candidate countries?

Looking at the current EU map, Prof. Turan said she saw an enclave within the EU where Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia were in, which was proof that even if their membership could be postponed to a later date such as 2016 or 2017, they would inevitably and with no doubt become future members of the EU.  Within this enlargement package two more countries take place she said: Iceland way up north acting more like Norway, and Turkey in the deep East which will remain on the waiting list for some more undetermined time.

Not wishing to reflect on the annual enlargement strategy paper nor on the progress reports since each year the EU Commission adopted such a package to which Prof. Turan agreed with what it hailed as well as what it criticized, she said she would discuss and question two aspects of the EU which she called the enlargement enigma and the EU enigma.

Prof Turan said that the expansion confronts the EU with an enlargement enigma since as it expands the EU becomes more heterogeneous. Yet the vision of ever deepening integration calls for homogenization on the economic, political and even if it is not always openly said on the socio-cultural front. On the political front political regimes defined as a democracy is emphasized. It is a regime where freedom of expression and other individual liberties exist without impinging on the rights of others. On the economic front economies operating in a liberal economic order is wished for and it befalls on the countries wishing to become EU members to work to achieve these goals under the guidance of the EU institutions. Prof. Turan explained that on the economic front the adjustment seems to be quicker than on the political front. Referring to the ratings on political rights and civil liberties as measured by Freedom House, she explained that if aspiration to the highest possible democratic standards and practices are the goal, then much has to be done in both the candidate and potential candidate countries. She then stated that on the socio cultural front it was her opinion that all EU members should accept cultural differences as such and not expect homogeneity. Existing values and beliefs should be respected and understood as the cultural richness of the countries in question. Viewing the EU for example as a Christian club she said was discriminatory since it implied differentiation on the basis of religion and national origin.

Prof Turan went on saying that the EU itself could be viewed to-day as an enigma since what awaits it, where it goes, where  the six Balkan countries will fit in the system, what will happen to the membership of the UK, Iceland and Turkey were as yet unanswerable questions. She went on discussing that a close look at present day EU in the aftermath of the economic crisis showed that the EU did not form  as yet have a true genuine political union, did not have strong supranational institutions, an empowered European Parliament. She quoted Jürgen Habernas who had said that the EU was a technocratic federal system with the reins held by the European Commission. She said we faced an EU to which transferring more power was contested. She stated that a multi tier Europe existed. Members of the Euro-area group seemed to operate on their own mostly through intergovernmental treaties with limited role given to EU institutions, that there were talks about instituting their proper organs, euro zone institutions shadowing existing EU ones. Thus we have one group that shares a single currency with all not expected to join as in the case of the pre-ins and outs. Not all participate in the Schengen area of borderless travel, military missions are run by just a small group of EU countries, smaller countries cluster together to have greater say in meetings such as the Benelux countries, the Vizi grad group. She added that if most of the political differences existing among the 6 west Balkan countries were to be resolved it would be to their advantage to do the same.

Why the clustering, why the three tier EU she asked and explained that in times of crisis trying to solve problems by changing the EU treaty is not a likely situation since you need the agreement of all members . Some of these members need to hold a referendum and most probably reaching a consensus would prove difficult. This is why a second way of doing things has developed. By using the clause of enhanced cooperation that allows for decisions within what the EU treaty allows, new policy tools have developed. These enabled the EC to scrutinize national budgets, give guidance and penalties to members violating budget or debt criteria’s. Since these decisions would be binding for all they are not en vogue she said. Thus a third way of doing things has developed in the EU: intergovernmental treaties signed among members of the euro zone.

Prof Turan concluded her talk by asking one final question: What do these developments result in and what are their implications for the applicant countries. She pinpointed that:

1. A deepening integration within the EU zone where the euro zone becomes the central actor will be considered as a de facto exclusion for those that are not in.  And that

2. This would lead to a separation by thicker walls between the euro zone and the non members of the euro and the applicants. The greater the deepening integration the more difficult for pre ins and candidates to become member of the zone. This will imply harsher conditions to be required from candidate countries and greater disillusionment for second class marginalized members and applicants.

Prof. Turan finally wondered whether the supranational dream of a European federation would be replaced by greater intergovernmentalism and whether the rift between the ins, the pre ins and the outs would become deeper causing greater differentiation between core euro zone members and the others. She said that time would tell.

Seven Answers to Seven Questions

By EMI Education Academy

1. I listened to the reasons bringing you from the idea of being a ballerina to the one of being an economist. What brought you to focus also on the themes of youth unemployment and non-formal education and the role  civil societies can have in this field?

Answer: Having lived and studied in Algeria and Egypt, having travelled in remote areas of my home country Turkey, I felt it necessary to understand better the dual life style of these societies, to know what economic development implied, see how things could be changed, improved. I then thought that economics would be the answer. Becoming aware that it was politics that determined the type of economic policies applied in a country  led me to work more and more on political economy issues.  Politics determine economics and vice versa. Besides teaching I also have administrative responsibilities. This allows me to be in close contacts with students, young people graduating and wishing to find decent jobs. Giving talks, making presentations to various civil society organizations made me aware of their importance leading me to work for one of them. But my main specialty is banking and international finance.

2. You have been mostly working in Turkey: do you think that the motives of unemployment here are the same as in the rest of Europe?

Answer: I have taken sabbatical leaves more than once which allowed me to spend time in France and the US, I have travelled all around the world to give conferences and these opportunities have given me the chance to learn, compare for myself different economies. Unemployment is a general disease and one can find multiple reasons for it. Some are the same as in the developed countries and some are specific to developing ones. In developing countries where population increase is high creating new jobs become problematic, when people living in rural areas decide to move into cities creating jobs for these unskilled people is not easy, when the level of GDP (Gross domestic product) of the country is low, income per capita is not high the government is not able to allocate enough funds to education.

3.What are the valuable skills for today’s work environment that can be acquired through non-formal education?

Answer :. Working within a youth organization can be viewed as one form of non formal education. It enables you and your friends to acquire skills such as the ability to communicate with others, to express yourself intelligently and use words effectively. Discussions held during these meeting make you realize the importance of knowledge and creativity. Travelling in different places, meeting people of different nationalities and culture enhances you imagination. Curiosity about what surrounds you makes you more knowledgeable. Training in the right place will also lead to the same results. “To-day’s working environment” is an expression that   needs to be discussed in depth. Working environment may imply different things for different people.  What is it that you really want? What is the ideal environment for you? The answer will depend on the type of person that you are, thus in certain cases you may  not want to be part of this “working environment”….

4. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are the countries performing better in terms of low youth unemployment. What do you think the role of non-formal education is in this situation?

Answer:  I think that Sweden, Denmark and Norway are also doing quite well. Social democrat governments attach great importance to education and to questions related to unemployment in general. Politics play an important role. Policy priorities of different parties differ. One can now see a move towards more nationalistic regimes in some of the EU countries leading them to talk about closing their borders, ending the Shengen regime.

5. Do you have suggestions in order to help changing employers’ mentality in order to recognize achievement of non-formal education?

Answer: It is most difficult to try to promote specialized programs in small and medium sized enterprises where skilled and educated workers are not essential. In certain cases the government can subsidize in-company training, in other cases such as in Japan training is viewed as the responsibility of firms. In Turkey for example banks train their employees for several months and pay them before employing them. On the job training is important in certain sectors but not so in others. Employers know what they need, and if they do not find the required skilled elements then they train them out of necessity.

6. You talked about the necessity to understand the required positions from market and match with individual competences. Does this mean that people have to stop following their dreams if they do not match?

Answer: The choice will always be yours. What I meant is that your dreams may not correspond with the reality, with what the market wants. Job creation is to-day concentrated in high skilled areas, and if you want to avoid unemployment or low income or job insecurity you will have to behave accordingly. If you insist on pursuing your dreams that will be your choice and you could still be happy doing what you like best.

7. Can  universities in Turkey or elsewhere  promote youth employment. Can you tell me how this is could be done?

Answer:  High school graduates wishing to enter the university system must pass a two stage university entrance exam. Those students who fail the second exam are allowed to enroll in either a 2 year vocational school or a 4 year vocational school. This is a second chance opportunity for them to obtain a diploma that will allow them to secure a good job. E-learning centers could be formed to train young people wishing to work in the IT sector or wanting to operate a small sized enterprise of their own and these courses could be free of charge. These students would thus be able to increase their skills in management, accounting and different programs. Business associations, the government, a university, large firms could also cooperate to put together a vocational program

Société Civile et Etat

By Participatory Democracy and Civil Society Dialogue

Plus de 25 pays étaient représentés par des associations de la société civile  dans ce Troisième Congrès du Dialogue Sud-Nord Méditerranée organisé à Tunis entre le 7 et 9 Juin 2012 et portant  sur le partenariat qui pourrait exister entre « la Société civile et l’Autorité ».

Ce dialogue entre les représentants des sociétés civiles des deux rives de la Méditerranée et les institutions nationales et régionales développant des programmes dans la région avait été lance pour la première fois en 2004 par le Mouvement Européen International (MEI), une organisation internationale créé au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale. Le but de ce premier congrès était de promouvoir des projets concrets dans les domaines de l’éducation, la formation professionnelle, les migrations, les investissements, l’emploi et d’assurer la participation active de la société civile aux  processus politiques et décisionnels. La Déclaration d’Alger contenant un plan d’action pour une vision commune du futur  fut ainsi signée en Février 2006.

Le congrès qui a pris place à l’hôtel Ramada Plaza à Gammarth au bord d’une plage dorée a duré deux jours et demi. La coopération dans les domaines de la mobilité des personnes, de l’éducation et de la formation, celle du domaine culturel, des domaines économiques et sociaux furent discutées dans  six ateliers parallèles. Les questions posées concernaient la forme de partenariat qui  pouvait être mis en place,  comment développer le rôle de la société civile et comment les réseaux méditerranéens des organisations de la société civile pouvaient être améliorées.

Les propositions et recommandations qui ont résulté de ces ateliers peuvent être résumées comme suit :

  1. les sans voix doivent être entendues, représentées dans les associations représentant la société civile,
  2. des liens étroits tels que des jumelages devraient être formés entre Ngo nationaux, régionaux et internationaux,
  3. L’indépendance des Ngo vis-à-vis  de l’état, même si subventionnés et crées  par eux, devrait être assurée.
  4. Une société civile vigilante contribuant  à l’instauration d’une vraie démocratie dans les pays concernés doit être développée.

Mais ce qui fut intéressant furent les conversations tenues en privé avec les participants. On parlait de la fin des régimes policiers et prédateurs, de la fin de la rotation biologique, dynastique et non démocratique, de la nécessité de mettre fin à une économie du « clan » ou le système public était démantelé.   Mais on craignait aussi l’instauration de nouveaux  régimes autoritaire récupéré par l’armée, ou dominé par des tendances extrémistes.

La disparité des revenus dans les pays vivant ce soi disant printemps facilite la montée de l’islam militant qui éduque, fractionne, organise, endoctrine  les populations par le biais de  multiple associations  caritatives. En Tunisie près de 250 associations auraient vu le jour en un an, et on nous dit que plus de 500 sont actives. On y préconise le retour à la sharia, au mariage multiple. On parle de changer le Code du Statut Personnel,  ces lois progressistes tunisienne  promulgées en 1956 qui visait  à instaurer l’égalité  entre  la femme et l’homme et qui abolissait  la polygamie, permettait le divorce via une procedure judiciaire et le mariage sous consentement mutuel. Aujourd’hui le heurt entre ceux se voulant progressistes et ceux se disant islamistes et ayant des mentalités conservatrices a pris de l’ampleur.  Tout en aidant les couches sociales les moins favorisées ces mouvements sont actifs politiquement non seulement en Tunisie mais aussi dans le reste du Maghreb, l’Afrique Musulmane, la Lybie et l’Égypte et tout le proche orient. Le danger réside dans le fait que ces organisations arrivent à prétendre incarner, représenter  l’ensemble  des citoyens.

Quelle que soit ces associations représentant la société civile et la volonté des citoyens, on en vient à se demander quelles sont les liens qui les relient à l’État. Reçoivent elles le support de l’État, émanent t’elles d’elle ou sont t’elles en confrontation avec ce pouvoir public.  Lorsque l’on analyse les relations qui peut exister entre ces organisations et l’état on peut constater les développements suivants. La plupart du temps les  associations civiles à caractère nationale s’allient à des associations à caractère internationales pour  faire pression sur l’État vu comme répressif  pour revendiquer des changements.  L’État, a son tour et bien souvent se défend en reniant, répudiant les dites violations ou  critiques. Les groupes défendant les droits qu’ils revendiquent continuent à rendre public les violations. Finalement les pressions nationales et internationales forcent le gouvernement à faire des changements, des améliorations tactiques pour alléger les pressions. Pour donner fin aux criticismes domestiques et internationales des nouvelles institutions sont formées, les règles ou lois ayant les normes requises sont acceptées. La dynamique de l’expansion de cette stratégie peut aboutir à des changements. Mais ces changements restent la plupart du temps des changements de forme mais pas de fond. Un processus,  un phénomène d’indigénisation de certaines de ces valeurs, de ces reformes  nouvellement acceptées font qu’elles sont interprétées, institutionnalisées différemment avec des détournements qui ne correspond pas à leur sens originel. Entre le dire et le faire, entre les textes rédigés et appliqués il peut y avoir  un gouffre.

D’où dans un monde ou on parle de globalisation économique, de globalisation politique et culturelle que se passera t il véritablement ? Clash des civilisations différentes? Éloignement et isolement ? Ou acceptations des différences culturelles et autres et intégration soulignés par ces différences? Le temps décidera…

Activities Realized in 2015 by the Women in Foreign Policy Initiative

By Women Issues

The 2015 Activities of the Women in Foreign Policy Initiative founded by Associate Prof. Dr. Zeynep Alemdar, Rana Birden Çorbacıoğlu and Christina Bache Fidan were as follows:

1. Two activities were realized to commemorate the 15 th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSRC 1325)  on women, peace and security which calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.

a. On December 10,  a planning session was organized with two Sweedish Institutions: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) and Operation 1325 .

     b. On December 17 we participated to the meeting organized by the  UN Women’s European and Central Asia Office which gathered  local sivil society organizations,academicians and specialists of the subject to  discuss the 1325 National Action Plan.  

2. In May we  organized the Women in Foreign Policy Speaker Series with the support of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue (Istanbul) .

     a.On May 27 we had our first meeting where the three founders of the initiative discussed their personal experiences.

b. On September 17Asma Khader President of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J) shared her insights on the threats and challenges facing women in the Middle East with a specific focus on women refugees.

c. On November 16, Ferhan Salman Senior Economist at the Middle East and Central Asia and Member of the Gender Advisory Group of the IMF delivered a presentation on Macro Economic Impacts of Gender Equality.

3. We participated to the C20 (September), W20 (October)and G20 (November) meetings.


Security Policy Position

By Defense and Security

BağlantıSecurity Policy Position

– Draft for first discussion –

The European Union currently finds itself in a strategic environment that has changed fundamentally over the past years. The international system is in flux, with shifting power balances, the emergence of new actors on the global stage, and new threats to Europe’s security. The EU now faces the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, civil war in Syria, terrorist attacks on its own territory, radicalisation, a refugee crisis, cybercrime, climate change, and energy dependency, to name but a few of the most pressing issues.

In our multipolar and globalised world, these challenges cannot be solved at the national level but require cooperation. The economic crisis and ensuing reductions in defence and security budgets only underscore this. To protect Europe’s interests both at home and abroad, the European Union offers the best forum for cooperation on defence and security issues.

However, the current crises have revealed the limited capacity of the EU in crisis management, and oblige it to formulate a better response to the ongoing security crisis urgently. Furthermore, the EU heads of state seem reluctant to develop a comprehensive and coordinated response to the different challenges Europe faces. European citizens however expect concrete answers in the short, medium and long term to the current security challenges. In order to develop a common and effective European response to the various security challenges that it faces, the EU needs to:

·       Strategise and prioritise

High Representative Federica Mogherini will prepare an EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, to be presented by June 2016. This strategy should be realistic, streamlining the existing strategies and policies and set top priorities that all Member States share and should adhere too. A European White Book on Defence should be developed following on this strategy, in order to concretise the priorities in terms of capabilities.

·       Speak with one voice

The strategising and prioritising exercise undertaken by Federica Mogherini will not ensure effective and common action unless there is political will in the Member States to cooperate and devote resources to common action. It will only have impact if Member States actively convey a joint message and pursue the same priorities, also in other international fora.

·       Use existing provisions and tools

The Lisbon Treaty contains several articles that have never been implemented, such as articles 20.2 on enhanced cooperation, 44 on the flexibility provision, and in particular 46 on Permanent Structured Cooperation. The first invocation of article 42.7 on mutual assistance by France should be used to further develop concrete security and defence cooperation. The actual deployment of the existing EU Battlegroups would also be a step in the right direction.

·       Complete the single market for defence

The completion of the single market for defence, following on existing Commission plans, is an important element for a closer integrated and more competitive defence industry, as well as civilian and military synergies in research and technology. It will ensure a more efficient use of resources in times of austerity, while increasing Europe’s capability to face security challenges.

·       Explore new areas of defence cooperation

Fully exploiting the above options is not enough to respond to the challenges Europe faces, and new areas of the defence cooperation should be explored. Increased cooperation in the field of cybercrime in the form of a Cyber Command could be a start, as well as the setup of a permanent civil and military headquarters. Following on the above steps, the concept of a European army in the form of pooled capabilities and harmonisation among EU armed forces should be pursued, with special attention to the right of civilian and military personnel.

Coordinated, impactful and joint action is needed to respond to the ongoing security challenges and future challenges. An immediate response is key, and in this light short-term and practical measures, using existing policies, tools and treaty provisions should be prioritised. With that in mind, however, only deeper integration in the field of defence and security policy will allow the European Union to maintain its military capabilities, strengthen its global position and permanently ensure its security.

EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy: what should it contain?

The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy is currently being prepared by High Representative Federica Mogherini. This strategy should start from the core function of the European Union: ensuring peace and security on the European continent, whilst respecting European values. Furthermore, it should decide on a limited set of key priorities. These key priorities can include different sub-priorities or themes. Without pretending to present an exhaustive list, the following elements should be addressed throughout the strategy:

  • Migration

Addressing the current refugee crisis in Europe asks for a focus on the causes of the refugee flows. There is a clear security dimension in addressing those conflicts that result in the displacement of people, such as the war in Syria. The implementation of the so-called EU Agenda on Migration should be fully coherent with the overall direction of EU foreign policy.

  • Neighbourhood

Structuring relations with Europe’s different neighbours and partners should form a key part of the strategy. The recently reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy should, as is intended, be closely integrated in the EU Global Strategy, and its policies should be in line with the overall strategies set for EU security and foreign policy.

  • Climate

Climate change and security are closely interwoven. Not only does global warming pose a direct threat to Europe – for example in the rising sea level – the impact of global warming is often aggravating existing tensions and security problems elsewhere, not in the least in the form of mass population displacement, for example through droughts, water shortages, and poor harvests. Climate change is one of the key challenges that no state can solve by itself, thus asking for closer cooperation on a higher level.

  • Energy

Energy plays a role in many of the conflicts in Europe’s neighbourhood and has a strong geopolitical aspect. Europe’s energy dependency makes it vulnerable, and diversification and integration of European energy markets is therefore important. Externally, cooperation in energy matters might have a positive effect on current conflicts, and continuing to purchase Russian gas, in addition to diversification, will put the EU in a stronger position vis-à-vis Russia.

Woman of Europe Award / Women of Europe Network

By Women Issues

Woman of Europe Award / Women of Europe Network
With the aim of reviving the Woman of Europe Award, interested EMI members have met and shared ideas to prepare a new proposal for a Woman of Europe project:
Mission statement
Realising that the role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognized, the European Movement Woman of Europe Award aims to highlight the contribution of women in advancing the project of European unification, and to increase the involvement of women in European integration.
Woman of Europe Award
To this end, it aims to set up a European-level Woman of Europe Award and an adjoining Women of Europe Network composed of women active in European integration. The Award will honour women that strive or have strived to advance the European project, in their professional or private capacity.
Women of Europe Network
The network will bring together the European winners and nominees, as well as previous national winners, the women- and gender equality networks of the EMI’s International Associations as well as women networks of project partners. The network is inclusive, pro-European, and open to all genders. It aims to create linkages, share experiences and promote exchanges between women who work on European integration to enable them to increase their involvement in the European project.
Involvement of the European Movement
This project serves four goals that are important for the European Movement: it will recognise women for their contribution to the European project and aim to increase their role; it will stress the important values of human rights and gender equality; it will increase awareness of the work the European Movement International and its members undertake in the effort to advance European integration; and it will create new linkages between existing networks.
Action plan
To set up the proposed Award and Network, a Steering Committee will be formed, consisting of 6 members: the EMI Secretary General, one EMI staff member, and two representatives each of the National Councils and International Associations. They will undertake the following actions:
o Build partnerships with a leading European women’s organisation; a media partner; and an institutional partner;
o Raise funds (via sponsorship) for the organisation of the Award ceremony, the Award itself (possibly in-kind), and the set-up of the network;
o Organise the first Award ceremony and the adjoining Women of Europe Network, provide the enabling structures for a self-managing network, set up a database, and organise a first meeting in the margins of the ceremony;
o Collect nominations and form a jury to select the winner of the 2016 or 2017 Woman of Europe Award. Each member organisation can put forward one nominee, as well as (members of) the partnering women’s organisation (tbd). Eligible to be nominated are women who, in their professional or private capacity, strive or have strived to advance the European project.
All EMI members are invited to express their interest in the project and to join the project preparations.
Submitted for adoption by
EM Norway, EM Ireland, EM Germany, EM France, EM Serbia, AFEM, CESI, ALDE (ALDE GEN), CEMR.

Active Participation in Civil Society: International Standards, Obstacles in National Legislation and Proposals Report

By Participatory Democracy and Civil Society Dialogue

Active Participation in Civil Society: International Standards, Obstacles in National Legislation and Proposals Report[1] is published by TUSEV within the scope of Strengthening Civil Society and Civil Society Public Sector Dialogue Project that is funded by European Union and Turkish Republic determines the legal obstacles against the enabling environment for civil society in Turkey and introduces proposals for amendments.
The report is authored by Gökçeçiçek Ayata from Istanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Research Centre and Assistant Professor Ulas Karan from Bilgi University Law School and is composed of three major parts.
The first part evaluates the Turkey’s Constitution’s compatibility with the international standards on freedom of association, while the second part analyzes the interconnectedness of freedom of association with freedoms and rights like right to information, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly etc. Finally; in the last part, you can find the proposals for amendments regarding the Turkey’s legislation on freedom of association.
1] This report is prepared by TUSEV, in partnership with ECNL, through the Civic Space Initiative implemented by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy. The English translation of this report is financed by the Government of Sweden. The Government of Sweden does not necessarily share the opinions here within expressed. TUSEV bears the sole responsibility for the content of this publication. Report in Turkish and in English can be found at :


Work conducted within the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on sanctions to be implemented to ensure enforcement of EU’s values in case of their infringements by EU members

By Supporting Providing Fundamental Rights


Monika Flašíková Beňová

Scoreboard on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental rights

There are several instruments we can refer to when a EU Member State is not in line with EU laws, but what happens when a Member State, acting outside the scope of EU law, does not respect fundamental rights? Art 7 TEU is the only Treaty-based instrument which could be used by EU institutions to sanction Member States in case of a “serious and persistent breach” of EU values regardless of whether they are implementing EU law or not.

Art. 7, as the only comprehensive tool (including prevention and penalty mechanisms), is widely considered a „nuclear option’, so very difficult to trigger due to its political essence, which comes from powers given on political institutions. Council never activates it because countries seem too scared that this procedure might also be applied against them.

This tool has never been used, because of the high procedural thresholds, among which the requirement for a 4/5th majority in Council to determine that there is a ‘clear risk of a serious breach’ and the requirement for the European Council to decide by unanimity whether there is ‘a serious and persistent breach’ of the EU values. In both cases Parliament’s consent is required, by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, representing an absolute majority of all Members (Art. 354(4) TFEU). To lower these high thresholds a Treaty amendment is required.

When Art. 7 was conceived, there was a wide consensus on the defence of fundamental rights, which is not the case now and the aim was to address only systemic and gross violations of these rights – not any violation. The main problem is that deciding whether a breach is serious and persistent or not is under the current setting a political decision. Another concern is that art 7 gives the Court of Justice of the EU a limited role, because it may only review compliance with procedural rules but not the merits of Art. 7 decisions, according to art 269 TFEU.

The author’s proposal for a Scoreboard on Democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights (hereinafter ‘Democracy Scoreboard’) aims at filling in the gap of “concrete actions” for the respect of fundamental rights and values in the EU. It does not mean to create a new mechanism but to complement it and create comprehensive framework for protection.

The main objectives are to:

a) Solve remaining challenges related to fundamental rights in Europe and art. 7 TEU in particular;

b) Overcome the issue of “double standards” (EU Member States expect other States to comply with EU values, but they don‟t want to be judged on their domestic affairs);

c) Propose a tool with monitoring features (to check the compliance of Member States with EU common values and respect for fundamental rights not only when implementing EU law, but also when they act autonomously) but also preventive and corrective ones.

d) Raise awareness and promote the Charter, by making EU citizens able to use it and defend their rights, linking them with the defence of democracy and the rule of law (e.g. case of media freedom);

What is the Democracy Scoreboard?

The Democracy Scoreboard should be an information, and also an evaluation, monitoring and alerting tool, providing an overview of the compliance of Member States with art 2 TEU on the Union‟s Values (1) and EU Charter .

Like the Justice Scoreboard, this tool should contribute to identifying potential shortcomings, improvements and good practices with regard to democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights through annual country assessments. It should be drawn up by the permanent Committee of independent experts (see below) in cooperation with Commission, Council and the Parliament (and the Fundamental Rights Agency).

In addition to the country assessment, which should be made available to the public on the Internet in a dedicated website along background documents, an early warning system should be set up with the main aim to alert the EU institutions in case a risk of a breach of EU common values is detected in a Member State.

Most importantly the Democracy Scoreboard should also monitor EU performance in respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights.

The scoreboard on Democracy will complement the scoreboard on Justice, and data provided by both of them should contribute to the European Semester process.


The Democracy Scoreboard should:

1) Develop specific EU fundamental rights indicators to be incorporated in a Rights-based indicator framework. In the process of developing such indicators actors such as FRA (who is already developing indicators on the basis, inter alia, of the conceptual framework proposed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights and specific monitoring organs and mechanisms such as: the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)).

These indicators, which will be filled in with comparative, quantitative and qualitative data, will help assessing legislation and policies and their concrete effects on the lives of ordinary people, but also highlighting concerns that need to be further examined.

The Council of Europe is already carrying out monitoring of the compliance by Member States with their international obligations in fields such as protection of fundamental rights (freedom of expression, assembly and association), non-discrimination or the rule of law (democratic institutions, constitutional justice and ordinary justice, elections etc.). Monitoring is also performed by the European Commission via instruments such as the EU Justice Scoreboard and the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification for Bulgaria and Romania. The Democracy Scoreboard should not overlap with the existing instruments but should draw elements (data, indicators) from them, where relevant.

2) Include an Early warning system with different stages of alerts

Currently we see clear limitations in the effectiveness of the existing reporting mechanisms on fundamental rights, because the reports in most cases are released only after a breach of EU values has already occurred.

We therefore need an alert system that is sensitive also to the risk of a breach; in order to prevent it from becoming a serious breach of EU values, and such an alert should be automatically triggered. If an alert is triggered, Member States must suspend the adoption of

laws (2) or other measures that might disregard or breach fundamental rights.

3) Complement the EU Framework to strengthen the rule of law

The democracy scoreboard would be filling an important gap, because the existing European Commission framework to strengthen the rule of law cannot be triggered by individual breaches of fundamental rights and it only applies to the Rule of Law. We believe that dialogue with Member States, as soon as a risk of breach of fundamental rights is identified, is fundamental. The author agrees that the European Commission, as guardian of Treaties, must remain impartial, objective and an independent arbiter. That is why an external and independent body is needed.


The Democracy Scoreboard will not be a new mechanism, but a tool, used by an independent monitoring body (see below)bringing together existing instruments (from FRA, Council of Europe and its Venice Commission, European Commission, European Parliament the Council of Europe, FRA, and relevant NGOs), promoting synergy and avoiding overlaps.

The Scoreboard will rely on the cooperation among EU institutions and agencies; Member States and relevant institutions at national level, including judicial authorities, human rights institutions, equality bodies, ombudsmen and civil society; and relevant international institutions.

Input from the ECtHR and the Court of Justice of European Union would also be valuable, especially on objective criteria to define both the clear risk of a serious breach and a serious and persistent breach of EU values. This requires better coordination, enhanced cooperation and making full use of both existing legislative and non-legislative tools in the relevant areas.

Who should be in charge of this tool?

We propose the creation of an independent monitoring body, composed of representatives of Commission, Parliament, Council, FRA, and Council of Europe, and possibly NGOs, which should act as a “one-stop-shop”. This body, to be set up without Treaty revision, will gather all existing information and tools in a unique EU report. ).

The FRA should be the agency leading this process, under the supervision of the European Commission as guardian of the treaties. Therefore FRA’s mandate should be extended to increase its monitoring powers vis-à-vis the EU member states, and provide it with the necessary human and financial resources.

Due to the fact that the Fundamental Rights Agency currently monitors only those areas falling within the EU‟s competence and it analyses trends and needs across the EU without singling out individual Member States, a permanent Committee of Independent experts (3), non-partisan and evidence based, should be set up through an inter-institutional agreement. It could start working immediately and all the recommendations of this body should become binding for the EU Commission. The Committee of Experts should work as a preventive tool, acting before a country has breached a value and as a monitoring tool, to evaluate the seriousness of the breach, to envisage the dialogue with the Member State concerned in line with the process of the EU Rule of law Framework.

Include the Scoreboard in the context of the European Semester process

Last year the Italian Presidency of the EU Council concluded that “the safeguard of the rule of law in the framework of the EU treaties” should be put on the agenda of the Council once a year.

As it is the case for the Scoreboard on Justice, data provided by the scoreboard on Democracy should contribute to the European Semester process in order to ensure the exchange of information at an inter-institutional level. This information could form the basis for the adoption of Country Specific Recommendations on the compliance with art.2 TEU by the EC, which then passes these to the Council of Ministers for eventual endorsement by the European Council. Member States should then incorporate this policy guidance into their annual budgets and other legislation.

We also believe that the European Parliament‟s role in the whole process should be increased.

Different levels of sanctions

Depending on the level of seriousness of the breach and the degree of cooperation of the Member State(s) in question different level of preventive measures/sanctions could be envisaged. Possible ideas include proposals of freezing EU funds or asking the Member State in question to freeze the national legislation/ acts/ decisions which might represent a risk of a breach of EU values. The possibilities for CJEU Court of Justice  to impose a fine or a lump sum on the Member State concerned could be explored as well.


To conclude, we need a comprehensive framework by bringing together all procedures available. Perhaps the possibility of Member States bringing action before the European Court of Justice against other Member states under art. 259 TFEU may be explored as a possibility to ensure enforcement of EU’s values, but preference should go to a strong role for the European Commission as the guardian of the EU Treaties who can launch infringement procedures as per art 258 TFEU with the final say remaining with for the Court of Justice of the EU.

(1) “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of DT\ law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail”

(2) The duration and consequences of suspending the adoption of law will be discussed at a later stage.

(3) The structure and peculiarity of this Committee and the appointment of its members will be discussed at a later stage

DT\1083793EN.doc                                                                                                         PE575.273v01-00

Face to Face with Illusions and Realities

By EU Enlargement Policy

Having promised this blog to TPQ we did agree that we could post it on our website under the condition that we cited them. The original article can also be found at:

On the occasion of the International Peace Congress organized in Paris in 1849, in his speech entitled “A Day Will Come,” Victor Hugo had spoken of a period when Europe would be known as the “United States of Europe” and where in his words:

“You France, you Russia, you Italy, you England, you Germany, you all, nations of the continent, without losing your distinct qualities and your glorious individuality, will be merged closely within a superior unit and you will form the European brotherhood”.

A European Union exists to-day but without Russia.

John Maynard Keynes in 1930 in his Essays in Persuasions wrote an article called “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” where he tried to answer the following question: “What can we reasonably expect the level of our economic life to be a hundred years hence? What are the economic possibilities for our grandchildren?” His answer was as follows:

“The pace at which we can reach our destination of economic bliss will be governed by four things; our power to control population, our determination to avoid wars and civil dissensions, our willingness to entrust to science the direction of those matters which are properly the concern of science, and the rate of accumulation as fixed by the margin between our production and our consumption; of which the last will easily look after itself, given the first three.”

Today, we are far from being able to make similar projections for our world or the EU. We can no longer speak of a unifying Europe at a time when we speak of a Brexit and Grexit, or of an EU with no problems when it is still living the economic side effects of the 2008 crisis which started hitting them hard in 2009. The recovery is still slow and the Eurozone still prone to ups and downs. To the existing economic crisis, new social and political problems have been added. The influx of refugees from Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, the specter of the rise of extreme right parties and fascism within the EU forces us to contemplate a somewhat dark future for Europe.

Things do not look too bright for Turkey either. The economy is slowing down, many cities and regions of Turkey are living the aftershocks of having close to three million Syrian refugees living in the country, looking for jobs, living quarters, and schools while the widening conflict in Turkey’s southeast between government forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continues causing domestic and regional uncertainties.

These multifarious problems have led Turkey and the EU to revitalize their up till now frozen relations. The EU that had always emphasized its concerns on human rights, civil liberties, and democracy in Turkey seems now to have replaced the priority it had given to these fundamental values with new concerns about regional security, rising terrorism in the West, and the increase in the flow of refugees. This duplicity in the way relations between Turkey and the EU is conducted is saddening but a reality

The Turkey-EU Summit meeting of November 29, 2015 and the meetings that followed the summit allowed for the opening of a new Chapter  ­– Chapter 17 – in the accession negotiations, the starting of discussions over visa free travel for Turkish citizens by the end of the current year, the upgrading of the Customs Union Agreement, and the initiation of multiple talks on energy cooperation. This revitalization of relations was coolly welcomed by pro-EU constituencies in Turkey. One has only become too used to the “one step forward two steps back” policies of both the EU and Turkey.

Chapter 17 on Economic and Monetary Policy which was opened to negotiation during the Intergovernmental Conference last December had been formerly blocked by France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is the 15th chapter to have been opened out of a total of 35. In my opinion, Turkey will face no trouble in aligning itself to the directives of Chapter 17. Its level of alignment to the Maastricht Criteria is somewhat satisfactory especially with regard to the levels of budgetary deficit and public debt. But inflation, total independence of the central bank and aligning Turkey’s laws with the EU’s Economic and Monetary Policy legislation are areas in which further progress is needed.

The visa issue is a complex one. It is stated that by October 2016, Turkish citizens will be able to travel to the EU without a visa. However, 72 criteria have to be met by Turkey during this visa liberalization roadmap, including the recognition of Cyprus which currently Turkey does not recognize. This political issue will have to be resolved before visa exemption for Turkish citizens can become a reality. Visa-free travel is also contingent on Turkey implementing the EU-Turkey readmission agreement, which would result in third country citizens illegally entering Europe via Turkey forced to return  to Turkey. The agreement is an ambiguous one since all illegal entrants from Turkey, independent of the time they might have moved to an EU country, could be sent back. There seems to be no time limit and one expert jokingly pointed out that even those illegal immigrants who had entered Europe in the 1940’s could end up being sent back.

Upgrading the Customs Union agreement (CU)[1] by modernizing its functioning and extending it to new areas and Turkey’s inclusion in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)[2] are two important topics on Turkey’s agenda. It has been argued for quite sometime that the present CU agreement was in need of revision. When examining the many possibilities concerning what kind of changes might be involved, five potential scenarios come to light:

1. Not changing the agreement thus letting the current and worsening implementation deficit and non-compliance record stand

2. Modernizing the agreement by making amendments without changing its sectorial scope, that is letting it deal only with industrial products

3. Taking the agreement as a base and revising it with a view to facilitating its functioning and expanding it to cover new areas

4. Working out a totally new CU agreement

5. Replacing the CU with a Free Trade Agreement

My preference would be Scenario 3 since it would necessitate less time to agree on revisions than rewriting a totally new CU agreement.

Since Turkey is not a member of the EU, Turkey’s inclusion in the TTIP faces serious obstacles. There is a slight chance that when a final agreement on TTIP is reached, Turkey might be integrated into the agreement since it is already a candidate country that has already signed a Customs Union Agreement with the EU. If this does not happen, then the solution might reside in Turkey’s signing a separate Free Trade Agreement with the US. Right now the EU-US trade talks are still continuing and a final agreement does not appear to be within reach. The 12th round of talks will take place in Brussels from February 22 to February 26 2016. We should be ready for a succession of rounds in the future.

Coming back to where we stand today in Turkey’s relations with the EU, the main item on the agenda for the EU seems to be to secure its borders with the help of Turkey in return for which it will extend financial aid to Turkey for hosting refugees while leaving the door slightly open for future accession. Wondering  whether we shall ever squeeze in…


[2] Kemal Kirişci “Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Boosting the Model Partnership with the United States” The Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings, Policy paper Number 2, September 2013


The Federation of EU Associations in Turkey had been founded on May 9, 2014

By Participatory Democracy and Civil Society Dialogue

Turkey had applied to join the EU in 1987 and became eligible in 1997. In October 2004  it was declared that accession  negotiations  would be started  and that parallel to accession negotiations the EU would engage in an intensive political and cultural dialogue. To enhance mutual understanding the EU emphasized that this inclusive dialogue would also involve civil society.

To support the strengthening of the role of civil society the Federation of EU Associations was founded in May 2014.

The primary goals of the Federation may be summarized as :

To pursue policy based research focusing on the economic, political, cultural, social, sectorial and regional issues related to Turkey’s candidacy to the EU.

To promote policy dialogue between civil society, NGOs’, Turkey, the EU, and its member states.

The members of the Federation are

-Avrupa Birliği Çalışmaları Merkezi Derneği, Ankara (EU Workcentre Association)

-İstanbul Avrupa Birliği Öncüleri Derneği ( Istanbul EU Pioneers’ Association)

-Konya Avrupa Birliği Çalışmaları Merkezi Derneği (EU Workcentre Association of Konya)

-İstanbul Beyoğlu Avrupa Birliği Derneği ( The Istanbul Beyoğlu EU Association)

-Çukurova Avrupa Birliği Çalışmaları Merkezi Derneği’dir. (The EU Workcentre Association of Çukurova)