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EU Turkey Cooperation on Judicial Reforms

The EU Justice Policy has undergone profound changes in the past few years. It was only in 2010, with the start of the mandate of the current Commission, that a justice portfolio was created. Since then, the Commission has brought forward more than 50 initiatives in this area, delivering 95% of the Stockholm Programme  and laying the building blocks of a true European area of Freedom, Justice and Security at the service of Europe's citizens – one of the EU's key objectives as stated in the Treaty of Lisbon. The European Commission highlighted the importance of national justice systems and the rule of law in the EU Justice Agenda for 2020 – Strengthening Trust, Mobility and Growth within the European Union.

In recent years, through a number of reform and democratization packages that have been put into practice in Turkey, steps have been taken for harmonizing the Turkish judicial system in line with EU standards. There is still some way to go, however.

Within this framework, EU support under the instrument for Pre-Accession provides an opportunity for the Turkish judicial authorities to familiarize themselves with EU rules and practices in the field and propose solutions for effective harmonization of the Turkish judicial system.

The Ministry of Justice has taken the lead role in overseeing the reform of the justice sector as a whole, determining problems, identifying gaps and proposing solutions through design of projects in close consultation with all stakeholders in this sector. The EU’s long-standing support to the reform of the Turkish judiciary, in the context of the preparation of Turkey’s accession to the EU, has reached €140 million so far since 2001. Under the new sectoral approach, EU support will focus on advancing priorities such as independence and impartiality of the judiciary, effectiveness and efficiency, and administration.