Turkish nationals may finally see their dream come true and be able to travel throughout Europe visa-free by June this year after the European Commission proposed lifting the visa requirements for Turkey’s citizens.
Turkey will however be required to meet the conditions set out in a March 18 agreement to take back refugees from Greece. Fulfilling the deal is “a matter of urgency” the Commission said in its report. Today’s recommendation is presented together with a progress report on whether Turkey is fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap.
“Turkey has made impressive progress, particularly in recent weeks, on meeting the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation roadmap. There is still work to be done as a matter of urgency but if Turkey sustains the progress made, they can meet the remaining benchmarks. This is why we are putting a proposal on the table which opens the way for the European Parliament and the Member States to decide to lift visa requirements, once the benchmarks have been met,” First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.
The report evaluates Turkey’s progress thus far through the implementation of the benchmarks, identifies outstanding benchmarks and sets out the measures that Turkey needs to meet in order to complete the remaining requirements in areas such as the fight against corruption, data protection and practices on terrorism.
“We trust Turkey is committed to delivering on all fronts as soon as possible. On the understanding that all benchmarks will be met as a matter of urgency, the Commission has decided to put forward a proposal to transfer Turkey to the list of visa-free countries. Of course, the Commission will continue to monitor the continuous fulfilling of these criteria,” Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said.
The visa-free scheme applies only for short stays of up to 90 days (in any 180-day period) for business, tourist or family purposes. It does not provide for the right to work in the EU.