16 December 2013
After years of deliberations, the European Union and Turkey have launched a dialogue on visa liberalisation and signed a readmission agreement. The launch and signature ceremony took place in the Turkish capital of Ankara on December 16th.
"Today is a day of historical importance. The cooperation between the European Union and Turkey has made a significant step forward. We have started two initiatives in parallel which will boost the relations between Turkey and the European Union and bring benefits for their citizens", EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a comment.
The aim of the EU-Turkey visa liberalisation dialogue is to progress towards eliminating of the visa obligation imposed on Turkish citizens travelling to the EU. The dialogue will consist of a screening of Turkish legislation and administrative practices. The roadmap for the dialogue lists the requirements that need to be fulfilled by Turkey. Such requirents include establishing migration and asylum systems in line with international standards, to have functioning structures in place for combating organised crime with focus on migrants' smuggling and trafficking in human beings, to implement police and judicial cooperation with the EU Member States, and to respect fundamental rights of the citizens and foreigners.
The purpose of the readmission agreement , meanwhile, is to establish procedures for the orderly readmission, by each side, of people having entered the territory of the other side irregularly.
"I hope that the readmission agreement will now be ratified by the two sides without delay, and that the visa liberalisation dialogue will soon allow to register substantial progress", added Commissioner Malmström.