Updated: 12/09/2023

Chapter 22- Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments

Content of the Chapter

The European Union developed its “Regional Policy” in order to decrease socio-economic disparities among member states and among regions in the same country, and to ensure both socio-economic integration and cohesion. “Coordination of Structural Instruments” covers establishment of institutional and administrative structures and implementation of general regulations and specific regulations related to each Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund which are the financial instruments of EU.

In this chapter the acquis do not require transposition into national legislation. However, it is envisaged that administrative and legal arrangements have to be performed in terms of effective use of Structural Instruments through the principles and mechanism given in the regulations.

With the last enlargement the EU is composed of 27 countries, 242 regions and has a population of 448 million people million. Accordingly, disparities among regions have increased and with this enlargement process regional policies have come to the forefront. Moreover approximately ¾ of the EU acquis is being implemented at the local and regional level.

The main investment tool of the EU’s Regional Policy is “European Structural and Investment Funds” (ESIF). In the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the EU has a budget of 392 million euros (one third of the EU budget) for ESIF. In this regard, 5 policy objectives are supported with the EU funds, which are;

  1. A more competitive and smarter Europe,
  2. A greener, low‑carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy,
  3. A more connected Europe by enhancing mobility,
  4. A more social and inclusive Europe,
  5. Europe closer to citizens by fostering the sustainable and integrated development of all types of territories.

Türkiye is using IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession) funds, but not Structural Funds. IPA is a financial mechanism developed by the EU for the candidate countries to prepare them for the use of Structural Funds once they become an EU member.

Türkiye has been using IPA funds in the multiannual financial framework for 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 with the implementation of many projects in various sectors including civil society, judiciary and fundamental rights, environment, transport, competitiveness, employment, energy and agriculture. The programming for IPA III period has been on-going.

Current Stage of the Negotiations on the Chapter

The explanatory and detailed screening meetings for the Chapter 22 were realized on 10-11 September 2006 and 9-10 October 2006 respectively. After France’s declaration to lift the blockage on the Chapter, the only opening benchmark was conveyed to Türkiye with the letter of the Irish Presidency on 27 February 2013.

Türkiye was informed that the Action Plan met the opening benchmark for the Chapter as of 24 April 2013 and was invited to submit its negotiating position paper.

After that, the Negotiating Position Paper was delivered officially on 7 May 2013.

On 25 June 2013, Irish Presidency informed Türkiye that the General Affairs Council agreed to open Chapter 22 and agreed in principle on the Common Position Paper. It was decided that the date of the intergovernmental conference would be decided after the publication of the Commission’s annual progress report.

As a result, the 22nd Chapter was opened to negotiations with the intergovernmental conference on 5 November 2013.

Opening Benchmark

The opening benchmark provided in the Screening Report prepared by the European Commission is:

“Türkiye presents the Commission a detailed action plan setting up clear objectives and a related timetable setting out clear objectives and timeframes as regards the implementation of EU’s Cohesion Policy and necessary institutional set-up.”

The Action Plan was officially conveyed to the European Commission on 12 March 2013.

Closing Benchmarks

6 technical closing benchmarks stated in the EU Common Negotiation Position Paper (as of 23 October 2013) prepared by the Commission are listed below:

  1. Türkiye demonstrates a satisfactory performance of the indirect management system under IPA in the regional development and human resources policy areas leading to the conferral of management of EU pre-accession funds without ex-ante controls,
  2. Türkiye adopts an institutional set-up for the implementation of EU Cohesion Policy (Managing Authorities, Audit Authorities and Intermediate Bodies etc.),
  3. Türkiye submits to the Commission a capacity building plan for EU Cohesion Policy (covering actions at national, regional and local levels and staff retainment policy),
  4. Türkiye designate and demonstrates the effective functioning of its national policy leading to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion,
  5. Türkiye submits to the Commission drafts of national strategic planning document and operational programmes under EU Cohesion Policy which complement Türkiye's own policy – including actions at the regional and local levels,
  6. Türkiye designs and completes the set-up of its Management Information System (MIS) based on a through needs assessment and an analysis of good practice across the European Union.

In the framework of the Chapter 22, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) was defined and 12 NUTS I, 26 NUTS II and 81 NUTS III regions in Türkiye were designated in 2002.

The establishment of 26 Developments Agencies (DAs) was envisaged in 26 NUTS II regions. Firstly, İzmir and Çukurova Development Agencies were established and began to operate in 2006; then the DAs in İstanbul, Konya, Samsun, Erzurum, Van, Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Mardin were established in 2008. This was followed by the establishment of the other DAs in remaining 16 NUTS II regions. Development Agencies are established to contribute to the country's economy in the best way by realizing the local potential; to create development awareness in all segments of society, especially entrepreneurs; to improve the implementation capacity of regional development plans and programs; to improve economic and social conditions at national, regional and local levels by reducing inter-regional and intra-regional development level differences, and making a positive contribution to the general welfare and stability of the country.

Relevant Sub-Committee

Sub-committee No. 7 on Regional Policy, Employment and Social Policy.


European Commission Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy:


The new financial envelope 2021-2027:


Screening Report for the 22nd Chapter:


Screening Meetings

Presentations of the Explanatory Screening Meetings (11-12 September 2006)

Presentations of the Detailed Screening Meetings (9-10 October 2006)
Answers to the Questions of the European Commission in the Screening Meetings
Screening Report


Updated: 12/09/2023 / Hit: 95,308