EU says will prepare roadmap to lift visa for Turks

An official from European Union Commission has said the European Union will prepare a roadmap to completely abolish visa requirements for Turkish nationals, a first positive signal from the 27-member club to revive Turkish-EU ties in the face of stalled membership talks of the candidate country.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malsmtröm and Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bağış

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malsmtröm and Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bağış

An official from European Union Commission has said the European Union will prepare a roadmap to completely abolish visa requirements for Turkish nationals, a first positive signal from the 27-member club to revive Turkish-EU ties in the face of stalled membership talks of the candidate country.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malsmtröm said in a meeting in Strasbourg on Wednesday that before lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens, the EU will enfore a new program on visa facilitation.

Turkey and the EU concluded a readmission agreement on illegal immigrants earlier this year, which the EU earlier said is key in securing visa deal with Turkey. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other Turkish officials harshly criticized the 27-nation union for failing to live up to its obligations in opening up a mechanism to faciliate visa requirements for Turkish nationals. Turkey says it can’t find a European interlocutor to start visa talks and vowed that it won’t implement the readmission agreement unless the union starts visa talks with the candidate country.  

Malmström said the EU has recently laid down a new perspective in lifting visa requirements and that it will no longer consider the readmission agreement as an indispensible condition for a possible visa deal.

“We are at the beginning of a journey. It will take time. But we will start facilitating visa requirements at this time,” Malsmtröm said during the meeting, where Turkey’s EU minister also participated.

Malmström said a new program in facilitating visa requirements for Turkish nationals will kick off in autumn. According to the new initiative, the EU will issue long-term visas, they will be multi-entry, time of acquiring visas will reduce, required documents for visas will be minimum and long-term or permanent visas will be issued for people in certain category.

Bağış said “light at the end of the tunnel” is visible now after EU’s new approach, adding that all candidate countries must be treated equally by the bloc and that freedom of movement is a right of Turkish citizens.

He also added that it is not correct to think that there will be a mass migration to the EU in case the 27-nation bloc lifts visa requirements.

 

29 September 2011, Thursday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,