Responding to the Prime Minister’s claims on Peston on Sunday, Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Vote Leave said:
‘David Cameron has said he wants to pave the road to Ankara and has repeatedly confirmed it is government policy for Turkey to join the EU. The EU is speeding up the process of Turkey joining and we are paying nearly £2 billion to help make it happen. If it isn’t on the cards why are taxpayers footing the bill for it already?
‘As with so much in the referendum the remain campaign are saying one thing now before the vote but are planning for the exact opposite after 23 June. The only safe option is stop handing Brussels £350 million a week and Vote Leave’
Commenting, Lord Owen, former Foreign Secretary said:
‘Only 9 weeks ago David Cameron committed the country at the European Council to re-energise the accession process of Turkey into the EU. The EU is continuing the preparatory work for Turkey at an accelerating pace with all of this going forward in parallel.’
The Prime Minister is misleading the public on Turkish accession, of which he is the ‘strongest possible advocate’.
The Prime Minister said on Peston on Sunday that ‘it is not remotely on the cards that Turkey is going to join any time soon.’ He also claimed that ‘Britain has a veto’, but he has been clear that he supports Turkish accession.
The accession process is being accelerated. On 4 May 2016, the European Commission announced that: ‘The accession process will be re-energised, with Chapter 33 to be opened… and preparatory work on the opening of other chapters to continue at an accelerated pace‘.
David Cameron strongly supports this. In 2010, Cameron said he was ‘angry‘ at the slow pace of Turkish accession, that he was the ‘strongest possible advocate for EU membership’ for Turkey, and that ‘I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels‘. In 2014, he said that: ‘In terms of Turkish membership of the EU, I very much support that. That’s a longstanding position of British foreign policy which I support‘.
The Government admitted it supported Turkish accession last month. Last month, the Europe Minister, David Lidington, said: ‘The UK supports Turkey’s EU accession process‘.
The British public will not get a vote on the accession of Turkey to the EU. The European Union Act 2011 allows the Government to ratify EU accession treaties without a referendum. There was no referendum on the accession of Croatia to the EU in 2013.
The Government opposes giving the British people a say. As the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said in 2011: ‘A few years ago, 10 new member states joined the European Union at the same time. I believe that their combined population then was 73 million, which is slightly greater than Turkey’s population is now. I do not believe that anybody in this country argued at that time that a British referendum on those accessions was right‘.
The only thing to do is to Vote Leave on June 23 to stop the deluge on our already overloaded and crumbling public services.