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Parliamentary questions
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16 January 2020
 E-003350/2019
Answer given by Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003350/2019

In the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council(1) and the European Council(2) of 14 October 2019 and of 18 October 2019 respectively, the European Union (EU) has condemned the Turkish unilateral military operation in North East Syria, and has urged Turkey to cease it and withdraw its forces. Some EU Member States have also decided to halt arms export to Turkey.

On 11 November 2019, the Council(3) adopted a framework for restrictive measures in light of Turkey's unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. This framework makes it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons.

About EUR 1.2 billion has been cut from the envelope foreseen for Turkey under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) II programme since 2017. Following the unauthorised drillings in the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Cyprus and the military operation in North East Syria, the EU decided on a further cut of the 2020 envelope for Turkey, reducing it by 75% compared to the envisaged original allocation.

The EU approximately allocated two thirds of the 2019 IPA programme in support of activities in the fields of democracy and the rule of law, home affairs and support to the civil society and human rights. The European Parliament and the Council have identified them as EU priorities. In this context, the European Commission considers that IPA II assistance remains relevant.

(1)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/10/14/council-conclusions-on-north-east-syria/ .
(2)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/41123/17-18-euco-final-conclusions-en.pdf .
(3)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/11/11/turkey-s-illegal-drilling-activities-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-council-adopts-framework-for-sanctions/ .
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