Rutte: send EU accession money for Turkey to human rights organisations

Photo: Maarten Hartman

Some EU leaders want to give less financial support to Turkey in preparation for possible EU membership because of concerns about human rights violations, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has said.

Rutte told the media that this was the subject of the first day of meetings of the 28 EU leaders in Brussels.

According to NOS broadcaster, he said on Thursday night that subsidies currently given to the Turkish government would be better off diverted to human rights organisations.

The proposal to stop pre-accession funding comes from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who criticised the ‘absolutely unsatisfying human rights situation in Turkey’ but said she did not want to ‘break bridges’ or have a showdown with the NATO country.

Rutte said that accession negotiations with Turkey are at a standstill. ‘They are comatose, and that will not change,’ he said. But he added that there is no consensus among EU leaders for a Dutch proposal to shut down funding to the country completely.

Brexit is also on the agenda for the European leaders.