The European Commission has agreed to the extension by one year of a visa facilitation pilot program that allows non-European Union citizens from Turkish ports to visit select Greek islands in the Eastern Aegean without a visa from a Greek consulate.
European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos announced the decision at a meeting with Eastern Aegean island mayors on Tuesday in Brussels.
“Once again we discussed the importance of the European Commission’s support for the future development of the islands, for tourism, for local communities and the economy,’’ Avramopoulos said after the meeting.
The Commission’s approval comes after South Aegean Governor George Hatzimarkos sent a letter in January to Avramopoulos requesting it re-examine its negative response last month.
The visa facilitation pilot program issues tourist visas to travelers coming from Turkey to the border entry points of the islands of the Eastern Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Rhodes, Symi, Kastelorizo).