Saturday

17th Nov 2018

EU gives up on Turkey visa deadlines

  • Doubts emerge on when visas will be lifted for Turkish citizens wanting to visit the EU (Photo: EUobserver)

A deadline to grant Turkey visa-free travel to the EU will be missed at the end of the June with no new date announced.

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday (15 June) that he was no longer in a position to say when the restrictions would be lifted.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Hopefully it will be done soon but I cannot be more precise," he said.

The visa waivers are part of a broader migrant deal between the EU and Ankara signed off in mid-March. Once granted, it would allow Turkish nationals to visit any of the passport-free Schengen EU states without a visa.

Turkey has met most of the 72 EU requirements for that to happen. But Ankara remains intransigent on EU demands to narrow the definition of terrorism in its anti-terror legislation.

Earlier this week, Turkey's prime minister Binali Yıldırım said Ankara would not budge on the legislation, even if it means scrapping the visa deal.

"We are fighting for our country’s unity and solidarity. Amendments to the anti-terror law under these conditions are out of question for us, even if changes would lead to visa exemptions being granted,” he said.

Turkey insists the law is needed to combat a string of attacks from Kurdish separatists and the Islamic State.

But critics say the law is also being used to jail critics of the government.

In May, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped the EU would "close this issue by October at the latest". But this deadline is also now in doubt.

Avramopoulos said: "The final time for visa travel will depend on both when Turkey completes work on the remaining benchmarks and when the co-legislatures ultimately take their decision."

The EU parliament has previously said it will not start work on the file until all benchmarks are sorted.

EU trying to bury report on Turkey migrant returns

The EU's asylum agency in Malta is working to determine if Turkey is safe enough to return asylum seekers. Their probe has riled the EU commission and some EU states who want it to stop.

Feature

Samos: Inside Greece's 'nightmare' EU hotspot

Asylum centres on the Greek islands have borne the brunt of implementing the EU-Turkey deal. The centre on Samos island has struggled more than the others.

Turkey 'ready' to reform terror laws for EU visa deal

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, says Ankara is ready to reform its anti-terror laws and meet all outstanding benchmarks so that Turks can travel freely to EU member states without visas.

Xenophobia on the rise in Germany, study finds

Germans, in particular those living in the east, are demonstrating higher levels of xeonphobia and backlash against religious minorities than when compared to five years ago, according to a new study.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us