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EU Programmes and Agencies to which Turkey Participates


The EU Programmes consist of a series of measures adopted by the EU in order to promote cooperation and solidarity among its Member States, to support the idea of Europeanness and to overcome common challenges in various areas such as innovation, entrepreneurship, public health, education etc. The EU Programmes are financed from the EU Budget and occasionally from Member States’ own budget. Financial contribution is given to the international projects that are drawn up in line with the EU Programmes´ objectives and conditions.

Member States as well as candidate countries can participate in these programmes under the condition that an annual fee is paid to the budget. By expanding the EU Programmes to candidate countries, the EU has aimed not only to raise the knowledge of candidate countries on EU policies but also to further enhance cooperation with Member States. The first step in this regard was the political will showed in the Copenhagen Summit (1993) for the participation of Central and Eastern European Countries which had already signed the Association Agreement, in the EU Programmes. The European Council in Luxemburg (1997) reiterated the importance of such participation in EU Programmes and Agencies as part of the enhanced Pre-Accession Strategy of candidate countries.

Moreover, at this Summit, the EU leaders have also decided to adopt a “European Strategy for Turkey” which would regulate Turkey´s participation in some of the EU Programmes and Agencies. On the 4th March 1998 following the request of the Luxembourg European Council, the Commission adopted the European strategy for Turkey. The main elements of the pre-accession strategy for Turkey included the alignment of legislation and the adoption of the Acquis. At the Helsinki Summit held in 1999, Turkey's status as a candidate country has been recognized by the EU. In this context, Turkey gained the right to participate in all EU Programmes and Agencies, which are open to candidate countries.

The list of EU Programmes to which Turkey is participating can be found below:



Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy that aims to secure Europe's global competitiveness. With its €80 billion budget, Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation Programme launched so far by the EU. This Programme covers the period from 2014 to 2020. The goal of Horizon 2020 is defined as to ensure that the EU produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering tangible results in that area.

Turkey has been associated to EU research framework programmes since 2003. Under the previous programme, the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) there has been over 1000 participations from Turkish public and private institutions in approximately 950 projects which have received around €200 million in EU funding.

The agreement granting Turkey full access to Horizon 2020 was signed on the 4th June 2014 in Istanbul. The national coordinator of the Horizon 2020 Programme in Turkey is the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

Links: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/  and  http://www.h2020.org.tr/


The Erasmus+ Programme aims to boost skills and employability, as well as to modernize Education, Training, and Youth work. The seven year programme includes a budget of €14.7 billion; a  40 percent increase compared to current spending levels, reflecting the EU's commitment to investing in these areas. Erasmus+ Programme will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. Erasmus+ Programme will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations in order to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe.

The National Agency is responsible for the management of this Programme in Turkey.

Links: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/index_en.htm and  http://www.ua.gov.tr/


Creative Europe is the European Commission's framework programme supporting the culture and media sectors. Following on from the previous Culture Programme and MEDIA Programmes, Creative Europe, with a budget of €1.46 billion (9% higher than its predecessors), aims to support:

  • Culture sector initiatives, such as those promoting cross-border cooperation, platforms, networking, and literary translation;
  • Audiovisual sector initiatives, such as those promoting the development, distribution, or access to audiovisual works;
  • A cross-sectoral strand, including a Guarantee Facility and transnational policy cooperation.

The information and awareness-raising activities in Turkey are carried out by the Cultural Contact Point which is established under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Links: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/creative-europe_en and  http://ccp.gov.tr/ccp/


COSME is the EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3 billion. COSME will support SMEs in the following area:

  • Better access to finance for SMEs;
  • Access to markets;
  • Supporting entrepreneurs;
  • More favourable conditions for business creation and growth.

The agreement granting the right to Turkey to participate the COSME Programme was signed on the 16th October 2014.

Links: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/initiatives/cosme/ and http://www.sanayi.gov.tr/

  • CUSTOMS 2020

Customs 2020 is a programme aiming to ensure the efficient functioning of the internal market by fighting against the increasing trend in fraud and by strengthening the competitiveness of European business. The Programme aims to reinforce security and safety within the European borders by developing the customs procedures. Customs 2020 has a budget of €547.3 million and covers the period from 2014 to 2020. Customs 2020 aims to support cooperation between customs authorities in Europe to help increase their efficiency and avoid mismatches in their work, which could hinder the functioning of the Customs Union. It will also facilitate networking, joint actions and training amongst customs personnel, while also funding IT systems to enable the development of electronic customs in Europe.

Turkey is participating to the Customs Programmes since 1996. The Agreement granting the right to Turkey to participate in Customs 2020 Programme was signed on the 16th July 2014.

Links: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/cooperation_programmes/fiscus/index_en.htm and http://www.gumruk.gov.tr

  • FISCALIS 2020

In order to improve the operation of taxation systems in the internal market, EU operates the Fiscalis Programme. The overall objective of this programme is to improve the proper functioning of the taxation systems in the internal market by increasing cooperation between participating countries, their administrations and officials. The Programme aims to help Member States work more closely against tax and customs fraud, through improved administration procedures and practices and improved electronic systems for information exchange between national administrations. It also encourages further cooperation in investigations, training seminars for customs and tax officials and experts and the exchanges of officials between national administrations. Fiscalis 2020 allows the development and operation of major trans-European IT systems in partnership. The programme has a budget of € 234,3 million and will run for the period covering 2014 to 2020.

Turkey participates to the Fiscalis programmes since 2003. The EU Unit of the Ministry of Finance  is responsible for the management of the Programme. The Agreement granting Turkey the right to participate in the Fiscalis 2020 Programme was signed on the 16th July 2014.

 Links: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_cooperation/fiscalis_programme/fiscalis_2020/index_en.htm and http://www.abmaliye.gov.tr/Sayfalar/viewNews.aspx?refId=2

  • EaSI

Turkey signed an agreement with the European Commission in February 2015 to participate to two of the three pillars of the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI): Progress and Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship.

With a total budget of 920 million Euros, the EaSI covering the period 2014-2020 aims to modernize labor market and social security systems, to provide financial support for social entrepreneurship and to contribute to the increase of employment rate, especially among young people. This Progamme contributes to the improvement of working conditions, to the enhancement of social protection and to the fight against social exclusion and poverty.




The agencies have been set up in order to find innovative solutions to the problems occurring in the EU common policies with a decentralized approach. An EU agency is a body governed by European public law which is distinct from the EU Institutions and has its own legal personality. It is established by an act of secondary legislation in order to accomplish a very specific technical, scientific or managerial task within the framework of the EU law. While some of the agencies are facilitating the dialogue in Europe by gathering different interest groups, some others help the functioning of various Union mechanisms.

As mentioned above, the participation of candidate countries in the EU agencies was first deliberated at the Copenhagen Summit (1993). In the “Agenda 2000” of 16th July 1999, it was stated that the participation of Central and Eastern European Countries’ (CEEC) in the agencies would facilitate their harmonization with the acquis communautaire. The Luxemburg Council conclusions held in 1997 stressed the importance of participation of CEEC´s participation in EU agencies as part of the enhanced Pre-Accession Strategy, as well as part of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus and Malta.

Furthermore, the “Communication on a European Strategy for Turkey” adopted by the Commission in March 1998, determined the conditions for Turkey´s participation to the agencies. Following Turkey’s recognition as a candidate country in 1999, with the Accession Partnership Document, it was declared that the national contributions of Turkey to the agencies would be financed under the pre-accession strategy.

Turkey fully participates to the European Environment Agency (EEA) in accordance with the Accession Agreement signed on the 9th October 2000. This agreement was published in the Official Journal on the 28th January 2003.

The agreement on Turkey´s participation to European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was signed on the 26th August 2006 and entered into force on the 8th October 2008 with its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.