Today, an agreement has been reached in the EU on a broader cooperation with Turkey on amongst others border control, readmission of persons without legal stay and on combating terrorism and organised crime. Furthermore, the Commission has been given a mandate to take steps towards a visa free regime between the EU and Turkey as a gradual and long term goal.
The aim is to improve border management at the Greek-Turkish border, to fight illegal immigration, to further Turkey’s alignment to the EU standards on for instance refugee protection and visa policy and to combat amongst others human and drug trafficking.
This is a strengthening of the already existing cooperation between the EU and Turkey as an EU candidate country, where Turkey has to fulfil a number of requirements to become an EU Member State and reap the benefits that a membership entails, amongst others as regards freedom of movement across the internal borders of the EU and better possibilities for the business community.
In such a process, it is only natural that the EU as a gradual and long term goal is willing to offer visa freedom for Turkish citizens. It is also natural that the EU requires Turkey to cooperate on readmission of persons with no legal stay and on the combat of illegal immigration. Turkey has to fulfill the same requirements as other countries before the final decision on visa freedom can be made.
The Danish Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov states:
"The decision is a very positive step for the cooperation between EU and Turkey. The situation at the Greek-Turkish border shows that it is crucial to strengthen cooperation on border management and the fight against illegal immigration and organised crime.
A strengthened cooperation is both in the interest of the EU and Turkey, and could bring the relationship between EU and Turkey on issues of visa and readmission from a period of standstill to a renewed momentum."
It is the aim to finalise all procedural steps in the coming days allowing the Presidency and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, to launch the broader cooperation as well as to sign a readmission agreement in Ankara before the end of this month.