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Cutting the Visa Knot. How Turks can travel freely to Europe 21 mai 2013

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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ESI Report (European Stability Initiative) 21 May 2013, 28 p.

Berlin – Brussels – Istanbul

Visa liberalisation has been a crucial element in the EU’s relations with Romania, Serbia and Albania. Yet until recently it had not even appeared on the agenda of talks between Brussels and Ankara. Then on 21 June 2012, the Council invited the Commission to establish a dialogue with Turkey aimed at visa liberalisation. Almost a year has passed since these Council conclusions. The dialogue on visa liberalisation has yet to begin.

From the European Commission’s point of view, what needs to happen next is obvious. Turkey must accept what the EU Council specified as the single most important condition for a visa liberalisation dialogue: signing a readmission agreement with the EU. Then the Commission would hand over to Turkey a list of official requirements for visa-free travel, known as the « roadmap ».

Turkish officials have misgivings about the implementation of the readmission agreement and its costs, as well as about specific requirements in the roadmap. The EU has not resisted the temptation to model the visa liberalisation process after EU accession talks. However, the EU-Turkey visa dialogue cannot be successful if it is seen as a quasi-accession exercise.

This report argues that Turkey needs to formulate its own firm but constructive response to the EU’s proposal. Turkish diplomacy can cut the Gordian knot of visa-free travel in five strokes.

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