Under the Lisbon Treaty, entered into force on 1st December 2009, the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey has four main missions:
In the external relations field, to report on Turkey's foreign policy and to represent the European Union at diplomatic level.
- In relations to the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU, to monitor economic, financial and trade developments in Turkey, as well as the implementation of the Customs Union's provisions.
- In the framework of the EU accession negotiations, to monitor Turkey's progress in meeting the requirements of the political criteria and the acquis and to assist the unfolding of the negotiations. In this context, the Delegation reports to Headquarters on a daily basis in view of the Commission's yearly Progress Report.
- Concerning Pre-Accession Programmes, the Delegation supports Turkish institutions in charge of applying decentralised cooperation procedures and monitors the effective implementation of more than 250 projects worth a total amount of some € 2.0 billion.
As a diplomatic mission, the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey operates under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and is managed by a Head of Delegation who is accredited to the President of the Republic of Turkey with the rank of ambassador. The Delegation has a staff of some 130 agents.
The Delegation maintains close contacts and coordinates its work with the embassies of the member states of the EU accredited to Turkey.
The Delegation also maintains a wide range of contacts with public authorities, political parties, business circles, academia and think tanks, civil society organisations and cultural operators. In addition, it implements a comprehensive information and communication programme aimed at fostering the visibility and understanding of the European Union, its values and its activities in Turkey.
The Delegation of the European Union to Turkey started as a Press and Information Centre in 1974 in Ankara.
This office was converted into the 'Representation of the European Commission to Turkey' in 1987, being granted full diplomatic status on the basis of an 'Agreement on the Establishment of the Representation of the Commission of the European Communities in Turkey and on its Immunities and Privileges,' signed in Brussels on 4 February 1987 and published in the Turkish Official Gazette No. 19477 on 4 June 1987.
The name of the Representation of the European Commission to Turkey was changed to the 'Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey' in July 2004, thus bringing it into line with the other Commission Delegations in the world. With the decision taken on November 2009 its name was changed to Delegation of the European Union to Turkey. It is currently the EU's biggest single country delegation in the world, with a staff of over 120 people.