Monday

26th Jun 2017

EU-Turkey deal not binding, says EP legal chief

The legal arm of the European Parliament on Monday (9 May) spoke out against the EU deal with Turkey.

It noted the statement between the two on 18 March is nothing more than a press release, which has no legal bearing.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"This statement was nothing more than a press communique," the parliament lawyer told MEPs in the civil liberties committee.

"This statement is not a binding agreement."

He noted the statement came without any signatures and was not published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

"It is very difficult to conclude that both the European Union and Turkey wanted to be legally bound under international law by this declaration," he said.

The distinction is important because the European Parliament is obliged to sign off on international agreements.

He said the language used in the statement suggests the two sides did not want an international accord.

"It is really a long way from the drafting standards of any international agreement," he said.

Despite the lack of clarity behind the statement, it still conforms to EU law, he noted.

Parliament will still have to sign off on visa-waiver plans and other issues like the budget and the resettlement of people on the one-to-one migrant swap deal.

The statement was hatched by EU heads of state and Turkey's former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a wider effort to stem the flow of migrants to Greece.

Davutoglu had rewritten a draft version en route from Turkey to Brussels, which he then presented to stunned EU leaders in early March.

Agreement, statement, what is it?

MEPs at the committee appeared increasingly agitated by the whole plan, with Swedish liberal Cecilia Wikstroem describing it is as a farce.

She accused the EU commission and the Council, representing member states, of switching tactics.

Before they called it an "agreement" but now they call it a "statement", she said.

"They now realise that if this was an indeed a binding agreement between EU and Turkey, in an area where this parliament has co-decision, namely migration and budget, then the parliament also a constitutional obligation to either accept or reject this agreement," she told MEPs.

Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld drew a similar conclusion.

She said the EU commission had until the 19 April used the term "agreement" and then switched it with "statement".

"I think the commission realised very well the legal implications of that term," she said.

Turkish leader parts way with EU

President Erdogan said that Turkey would not change terror laws as required by the EU to grant visa liberalisation and said the country needed a presidential regime.

EP stops work on Turkey visa waiver

The EU parliament has stopped all work on the commission's plan to lift visas for Turkish nationals. The move could spell the end of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

Erdogan wants visa-free travel by October

With the July deadline for visa-free travel increasingly unlikely to be met, Turkey's president now says he wants visa-free access by October instead.

Why Erdogan made a U-turn on EU visas

Turkish leader Erdogan needs to look and act tough on terror to cement power at home. Former PM Davutoglu, who brokered the EU visa deal, also taken down a peg.

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit