Euro poll results indicate challenging future for Türkiye-EU relations

The strong gains of European far-right political parties in the European Parliament elections indicate a more difficult road ahead on the already damaged Türkiye-EU relations, with less hope for breakthroughs on issues like upgrading the customs union and visa liberalization.


“This picture out of the European Parliament elections is negative in regard to Türkiye-EU relationship,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on June 10.

Far-right political parties across the European continent have increased their votes in the European Parliament elections although the centrist European People Party (EPP) and the social democrats have protected their domination in the 720-seat parliament.

“In addition to the increase of the votes of the far-right politics in Europe, the rightist centrist parties’ traditional support to the Turkish accession process has significantly diminished. The new right is no longer pledging its support to Türkiye,” the official stressed.

The social democrats’ traditional endorsement and sympathy for Türkiye have also decreased in recent years, the official stated.

According to the official, the election results will not change the equation at the European Parliament and the EPP’s majority will likely hand over a new mandate for the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Having said that the official recalled that Türkiye’s main interlocutor is the European Commission, and the new composition of the European Parliament will not have an immediate impact on Türkiye-EU ties.

“Our priority is to revive our engagement with the EU. And the report by [EU foreign policy chief] Josep Borrell will be the main instrument for doing so,” the official recalled.

Borrell, in a report on the state of play in regard to ties with Türkiye, has recommended to start negotiations for the modernized customs union, visa facilitation and launching high-level political dialogue as well as resumption of the activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Türkiye. However, because of the veto of Greece and Greek Cyprus, the report could not yet be put into practice.

Out of these items only the resumption of the activities of the EIB can be materialized in the coming period, according to the official. “The EIB is really keen in returning to Türkiye. They are already excited. The EIB has funded many key strategic investments in Türkiye, including the Marmaray railroad project,” recalled the official.

On trade, Türkiye-EU High-Level Trade Dialogue will take place in Brussels on July 8, where the two sides will have the opportunity to further improve trade conditions by resolving some irritants.