Brussels, 20 October 2014
Commission assesses progress by Turkey in visa dialogue
Today the Commission presented its first report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements set in its visa liberalisation roadmap.
"This first report shows that Turkey is doing effective efforts to meet the criteria identified in its visa liberalisation roadmap and I welcome in particular the progress achieved in the fields of migration and international protection, as well as in document security. Work is still needed in areas like, among others, border management, and police and judicial cooperation. I am convinced that Turkey will keep a steady pace towards the fulfilment of the benchmarks by bringing forward several essential legislative and administrative reforms", said Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström.
The Commission report assesses the situation of the legislation, administrative capacities and practices of Turkey in the areas addressed by the benchmarks of the roadmap, and makes a set of recommendations for the Government of Turkey to fulfil these benchmarks.
It acknowledges the progress made regarding the Turkish passport and civil registry systems, the importance of the reforms recently adopted in the field of migration and international protection, some positive developments in border cooperation with the EU Member States and FRONTEX, as well as the encouraging initiatives taken to reform anti-terror legislation.
At the same time, further steps remain necessary to fully comply with the requirements of the visa roadmap. The report recommends inter alia that:
The European Commission launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Turkey on 16 December 2013, in parallel with the signature of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement (IP/13/1259).
On that occasion a visa roadmap was handed over to Turkish authorities. It sets out a comprehensive list of areas, divided in 5 chapters (called "blocks") on which Turkey was requested to develop legislation and administrative capacities and practices, as well as adequate cooperation with the EU.
The requirements listed in the roadmap aim:
The visa roadmap also includes a separate block listing requirements related to the need for Turkey to fully and effectively implement the readmission agreement signed with the EU (STATEMENT/14/285), as well as the readmission obligations taken by Turkey at bilateral level with the EU Member States.
Today's first report was prepared by the Commission on the basis of information provided by Turkish authorities, as well as through field visits and technical missions, which took place in Turkey between March and June 2014 and included experts from the Commission, the EU delegation in Turkey, Turkey, the EU Member States and the relevant EU agencies (FRONTEX, EASO, EUROPOL).
The visa liberalisation dialogue is a merit-based process. Turkey should meet all the requirements set out in the visa roadmap and demonstrate that there is no substantial migratory and security risk associated with lifting the visa obligation. Once this process is successfully completed, the Commission can recommend to the European Parliament and the Council lifting the visa obligation for Turkish citizens.
First report on Turkey
Cecilia Malmström's website
Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter
DG Home Affairs website
Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter