On 6-7 September 2023, the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi will Ankara to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation with Türkiye. This is the first official visit paid by an EU representative to the country following the Presidential elections in May this year.
The Commissioner will meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan; the Minister of Trade, Omer Bolat; the Minister of Family and Social Services, Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş; the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Alparslan Bayraktar, and the Minister of Industry and Technology, Mehmet Fatih Kacir.
The visit follows the conclusions of European Council last June, in which EU Leaders invited the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and the European Commission to submit a report to the European Council on the state of play of EU-Türkiye relations, building on the instruments and options identified by the European Council, and with a view to proceeding in a strategic and forward-looking manner. This visit also comes before the publication of the next Enlargement report, expected in October.
Ahead of the visit, on 1 September the European Commission signed an association agreement with Türkiye that opens access to the €7.5 billion Digital Europe Programme, which will, once entered into force, enable businesses, public administrations and other eligible organisations in the country to take part in projects that deploy digital technologies. With this agreement the Digital Innovation Hubs in Türkiye will be set up too.
The European Commission has also proposed financial support of €400 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to provide assistance to Türkiye following the damages caused by the devastating earthquakes of February 2023.
During the visit, Commissioner Várhelyi will sign a €781 million contract providing EU funds for a social safety net for the most vulnerable refugees as part of the additional €3 billion funding pledged by the EU to continue supporting refugees in the country.