On 4 May, the European Commission formally proposed to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU for short-term leisure and business trips. The visa waiver is part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal, the deadline being June. The formal proposal comes at a time when not all the benchmarks set in the EU-Turkey visa liberalization roadmap has been met on Turkish side. However, since the waiver has to be cleared by both the EP and the Council as EU´s co-legislators (and national parliaments need to have time to react), early proposal allows the process to finish in time if Turkey meets the requirements in the remaining time period. If it does not, the Council and EP can refuse the proposal at any stage. Some of the benchmarks are substantial though, including in areas such as freedom of expression and anti-terror laws, where Turkey has indicated it does not intend to move. Tough talks are therefore expected in the EP and the visa waiver is far from certain at this stage. Especially the MEPs are unwilling to reward the Turks in the present situation. They, together with the member states, also call for an effective snapback mechanism. It exists in theory, but the EC proposes to make it quicker. If asylum claims from Turks (entering EU without visas) surge, or if there are security concerns, the EU could quickly reintroduce visa.
Visa-free travel was also proposed for Kosovo, even though not all EU member states officially recognize it as a state.
20th February 2019
25th January 2019