Community Programmes & Agencies



The Community Programmes consist of a series of measures adopted by the European Union in order to promote cooperation between its member states, to support the idea of Europeanness, innovation and entrepreneurship. They also aim to find common solutions to the problems faced by the Union. The Community Programmes are financed from the EU Budget since the 1970s. Financial contribution is given to the international projects that are drawn up in line with the Community Programmes´ conditions and purposes.

Member States as well as candidate countries can participate in the programmes under the condition that an annual fee is paid to the budget. By expanding the Community Programmes to candidate countries, the European Union has aimed not only to raise the knowledge of candidate countries on Community policies but also to further enhance cooperation with Member States. The first step on this way was the political will shown in the Copenhagen Summit (1993) for the participation of Central and Eastern European Countries which have already signed the Association Agreement with European Union, in the Community Programmes. In the European Council in Luxemburg (1997) reiterated the importance of such participation in Community Programmes and Community Agencies as part of the enhanced Pre-Accession Strategy of candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as of Southern Cyprus and Malta. Moreover, at this Summit, the EU leaders have also decided to adopt a “European Strategy for Turkey” which would regulate Turkey´s participation in some of the Community Programmes and Community Agencies on case basis. On the 4th March 1998 following the request of the Luxembourg European Council, the Commission adopted the Communication concerning a “European strategy for Turkey. The main elements of the pre-accession strategy for Turkey included the approximation of legislation and the adoption of the acquis. At the Helsinki Summit held in 1999, Turkey's status as candidate country has been recognized by the EU. In this connection, Turkey gained the right to participate in all Community Programmes and Agencies, which are open to candidate countries. 

The various Community Programmes to which Turkey participates are listed below. Civil society organizations may participate to all Community Programmes except the ones which are open only to public sector. 




I. Community Programme Open to Public Sector
FISCALIS: This Programme aims to help Member States work more closely against tax and customs fraud, through improved administration procedures and practices and improved electronic systems for information exchange between national administrations. It also encourage further cooperation in investigations, training seminars for customs and tax officials and experts and the exchanges of officials  between national administrations.


In Turkey, the Ministry of Finance EU Unit is responsible for the management of the Programme. The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Fiscalis Programme entered into force after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 25158) on the 4th July 2003.

II. Programmes in the Social Area

PROGRESS: The Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity has been established to support financially the implementation of the objectives of the EU in the fields of employment, social affairs and equal opportunities (non discrimination and gender equality) as set out in the Commission Communication on the Social Agenda. PROGRESS Programme has a budget amounting to 743,25 million Euros for the period covering 2007-2013. The Progress Programme is consisted of five main field of activities which are employment, social inclusion and protection, working conditions, non-discrimination and gender equality.

In Turkey, Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), EU Unit is responsible for the management of the Programme, except for the employment field. Turkey Employment Organization of Turkey is responsible in the field of employment. The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Progress Programme entered into force after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 27264) on the 20th June 2009. Therefore Turkey’s participation to the Progress Programme was limited in the period preceding 2009. Turkey started to fully participate to the Programme only from the 1st January 2011

PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMME: The Public Health Programme (2003-2008) embodied for the first time an integrated approach towards protecting and improving health. It was based on three general objectives: health information, rapid reaction to health threats and health promotion through addressing health determinants. In total over 300 projects and other actions were financed by the first Programme of Community action in the field of public health.

The Second Programme of Community Action in the Field of Health covering the period 2008-2013 is a continuation of the first Programme. The Health Programme is intended to complement and support to the policies of the Member States and contribute to protect and promot human health and safety and to improve public health. Within this framework, it also encourages the dissemination of information related to health issues. It has a budget amounting to 321,5 million Euros.

III. Programs in the Field of Education and Culture

LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME: The European Commission has integrated its various educational and training initiatives under a single umbrella called the Lifelong Learning Programme. With a significant budget reaching 7 billion Euros for the period covering 2007 to 2013, the new programme replaces the existing education, vocational training and e-Learning programmes, which ended in 2006. It consists of four sub-programmes: Comenius (for schools), Erasmus (for higher education), Leonardo da Vinci (for vocational education and training) and Grundtvig (for adult education). A transversal programme complements these four sub-programmes in order to ensure that they achieve the best results. Four key activities focus on policy cooperation, languages, information and communication technologies, effective dissemination and exploitation of project results. Finally, the Jean Monnet action stimulates teaching, reflection and debate on the European integration process at higher education institutions worldwide.

The National Agency is responsible for the management of the Programme in Turkey. The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Lifelong Learning Programme was signed on 29 May 2007 in Brussels and came to effect after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 26568) on 30 June

YOUTH IN ACTION: The EU´s youth policies aim to meet young people´s changing expectations while encouraging them to contribute to society. This Programme therefore aims to prevent discrimination and social exclusion. It also seeks to spread the sense of the European citizenship among the young population. This Programme conduct activities within five areas: Youth for Europe, European Voluntary Service, Youth in the World, Youth Suuprt Systems and Support for European cooperation in the youth fields. The overall budget of the Programme amounts to 885 million Euros.

National Agency is responsible for the management of the Programme in Turkey. The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Youth in Action was signed on 29 May 2007 and entered into force after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 26568) on 30 June 2007.


CULTURE: The EU´s Culture Programme (2007-2013) with its budget amounting to 400 million Euros supports projects and initiatives celebrating Europe´s diverse cultures and enhancing appreciation of EU´s shared cultural heritage. It will help construct a shared European cultural space by developing cross-border cooperation between cultural creators, players and institutions across Europe. Its overall aim is to foster intercultural dialogue. For the achievement of these objectives, the Programme supports three strands of activities: cultural actions; European-level cultural bodies as well as  analysis and dissemination activities.

The information and awareness-raising activities in Turkey are conducted by Cultural Contact Point established under Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Culture Programme was signed on 11 May 2007 and came to effect after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 26567) on 29 June 2007

IV. Other Community Programmes

COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME (CIP): This Programme aims to ensure coherence and synergy among all actions implemented at the EU level in the field of innovation and competitiveness.The supports innovation activities especially of SMEs by providing better access to finance and business support services. It also encourages a wider use of Information and Communication Technologies. The budget amounts to 3621 million Euros. The Programme is being implemented by European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry Policy.

In Turkey, the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology has been defined as the contact institution in Turkey after the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey’s participation in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme on the 12th of February 2008.


SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME: FP7 bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common umbrella. Its plays a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment; along with the  Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), Education and Training Programmes, and Structural and Cohesion Funds for regional convergence and competitiveness. It is also a key pillar for the European Research Area (ERA). It has a budget amounting to 50,5 billion Euros. The broad objectives of FP7 have been grouped into four categories: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities. For each type of objective, there is a specific Programme corresponding to the main areas of EU research policy. All specific Programmes work together to promote and encourage the creation of European poles of excellence. The non-nuclear research activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) are grouped under a specific Programme with individual budget allocation.

In Turkey, the national coordinator is the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). The Memorandum of Understanding regulating Turkey´s participation in the Seventh Framework Programme was signed on 1 June 2007 and came to effect after being published in the Official Newspaper of Turkey (registration number- 26567) on 29 June 2007.

CUSTOMS 2013 is a Programme aiming to ensure the efficient functioning of the internal market by fighting against the increasing fraud and by strengthening the competitiveness of European business. The Programme aims to reinforce security and safety within the European borders by developing the customs procedures. This Programme covers the period 2008-2013 with its budget amounting to 324 million Euros. The European Commission is responsible for the implementation of this Programme.

In Turkey, the national coordinator is the Undersecretariat of Customs.


The agencies have been set up in order to find innovative solutions to the problems occurring in the common policies of the EU with a decentralized approach. A Community agency is a body governed by European public law which is distinct from the EU Institutions and has its own legal personality. It is set up by an act of secondary legislation in order to accomplish a very specific technical, scientific or managerial task, in the framework of the EU law. While some of the agencies facilitating the dialogue in Europe by gathering different interest groups, some others help the functioning of various Union mechanisms. 

As mentioned above, the participation of candidate countries in the Community agencies was first deliberated at Copenhagen Summit (1993). In the “Agenda 2000” of 16 July 1999, it was stated that the participation of CEEC´s in the agencies would facilitate their harmonization with the acquis communautaire. The Luxemburg Council conclusions held in 1997 stressed the importance of participation of CEEC´s in Community agencies as part of the enhanced Pre-Accession Strategy, as well as part of Southern Cyprus and Malta. Furthermore, the “Communication on a European strategy for Turkey” adopted by the Commission on 4 March 1998, designated the conditions for Turkey´s participation to the agencies.

Following Turkey’s recognition as a candidate country in 1999, with the Accession Partnership Document, it was declared that the national contributions of Turkey to the agencies would be financed under the pre-accession strategy.

Turkey fully participates in the European Environment Agency (EEA) in accordance with the accession agreement signed on the 9th October 2000. This agreement was published in the Official Newspaper on the 28th January 2003.
The agreement on Turkey´s participation in European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was signed on 26 August 2006 and the agreement came into force on 30 October 2007and entered into force on the 8th October 2008 with its publication in the Official Newspaper)

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