EU hopes to grant Turkey visa-free travel in migrant deal, but the U.K might Veto this 'madness'. (AA).
The European Union is set to give conditional approval on Wednesday for Turks to gain visa-free access to the Schengen zone, meeting a key demand by Ankara to keep a migrant crisis deal alive.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, will say Turkey must still meet further measures to access the passportless Schengen area without visas by June, sources told AFP on Tuesday.
Ankara has demanded that the visa requirement be scrapped in exchange for taking back migrants who land in Greece under a seal signed in March, but there are still widespread concerns among EU states, especially over human rights issues in Turkey.
"The Commission will put forward a plan to include Turkey in the list of countries exempted from visas," a European source told AFP, adding that "only 64 out of the 72 criteria are fulfilled" and that the offer, therefore, remains conditional.
Turkey has to meet a list of 72 criteria – ranging from biometric passports to respect for human rights – that were set when Brussels and Ankara first talked about 90-day visa-free travel to the Schengen area.
EU member states and the European Parliament must still approve the Turkey visa plan after it clears the Commission, which is by no means a foregone conclusion.
Germany and France have proposed an emergency brake or "snap back mechanism" under which it could halt visa-free travel if large numbers of Turks stay in the EU illegally or if there are a large number of asylum applications by Turks.
Even politicians in favor of EU membership, such as Home Secretary Theresa May,have signalled that further enlargement needs to be reconsidered for countries with "poor populations and serious problems with organised crime, corruption and sometimes even terrorism".
Ministers have emphasised that the UK has the right of veto over future prospective members, while insisting the talks with Turkey and other countries are unlikely to be rushed and, as such, the issue will not come to a head for a while.said a Turkish agreement was "not on the cards any time soon" and insisted the UK would not allow any free movement deal with countries which weren't closely aligned in terms of size and prosperity . Hmmm.....Once again the U.K. can make the difference and stand for freedom.