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21-04-2016

Civil Liberties MEPs stress that Turkey must fulfil all criteria to get visa-free travel to the EU

Turkey must fulfil all requirements established by the EU in order to be granted visa-free access to the Schengen area, stressed Civil Liberties MEPs during a debate on Thursday about the progress made by Ankara in its visa liberalisation roadmap. A majority of MEPs opposed the possibility of relaxing the criteria and called on the Commission to verify with care the Turkish compliance.

As part of the EU-Turkey deal reached on 18 March to better manage migration and refugee flows, EU leaders offered Turkey to accelerate the visa liberalisation, with a view to grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel by June 2016, provided that all benchmarks are met.

The next progress report assessing the situation will be presented on 4 May. Once the Commission adopts a legislative proposal to exempt Turkey of visa requirements, the Parliament will have to decide together with the Council under the codecision procedure.

You can catch up with the debate via VOD (available soon)

EU-Turkey statement, 18 March 2016 (European Council)EP TV: Questions on Turkey visa liberalisationTurkey: need of urgent reforms in key areas, say MEPs (Press release after plenary vote, 14.04.2016)Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee web page