EU-Turkey relations reach new level with visa liberalisation on the cards

The European Union took steps this week towards removing visa requirements for Turkish citizens, in a move that signals a snowballing unification between Ankara and the 28-member bloc.

Turkey and Brussels will sign an agreement allowing EU governments to send back illegal immigrants crossing into Europe from Turkey. In return, the EU agreed to enter into official discussions on how the current requirement for Turks to have a visa when travelling to Europe could be lifted.

On 4th December EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu in Brussels to discuss the latest developments in EU-Turkey relations. They agreed that following the opening of a new negotiating chapter last month, both sides should seize the new momentum to allow further progress in the accession negotiations.

Both Commissioner Füle and Commissioner Malmström welcomed Turkey's readiness to sign the re-admission agreement announced by Minister Davutoğlu. "The imminent signature of a readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey and the launch of a dialogue towards visa liberalisation will give new impetus to our joint project, and make it more tangible to citizens,” said Commissioner Füle. “I also expect Turkey to make further steps towards fulfilling the criteria, while emphasising that the EU should equally continue to enable progress in the talks."

Commissioner Füle and Minister Davutoğlu also discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest, notably developments in the Eastern neighbourhood. Turkey and the EU began a new round of EU membership talks last month, after discussions were delayed in the summer.

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