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Friday, March 18, 2016

Spain slams 'unacceptable' EU-Turkey migration deal.

Spain slams 'unacceptable' EU-Turkey migration deal. . (PoliticoEU).

Turkey is demanding full visa liberalization for EU travel for all of its citizens by the end of June. Germany, which backs the idea, has tried to spin it as merely an acceleration of existing plans to grant Turks visa-free travel. That’s only partly true.

Europe was previously intending to drop the visa requirement for “frequent travelers,” such as business professionals, professors and students. The current proposal would lower barriers to all Turks.

That has conservatives across Europe, including in Merkel’s own party, crying foul. They worry than everyone from Anatolian shepherds to persecuted Kurds will flood into the EU.

A bigger hurdle is the EU’s own rulebook. It requires countries enjoying the privilege to meet dozens of preconditions. Turkey already complies with about half of the 72 requirements and wants leniency on the rest. That’s unlikely. Among the remaining stipulations is a requirement that protections for minorities be anchored in law.

Even if Turkey manages to meet the remaining requirements, the European Parliament would still have to give its stamp of approval. Given the broad misgivings over Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds and Erdo─čan’s growing authoritarianism, that may be a longshot.

Dealbreaker? Very possible. Visa liberalization is the top priority for Ankara with both practical and emotional elements. It wouldn’t just make life easier for millions of Turks going to and from the EU. Dropping the restrictions would send a strong signal that Turks have joined the first tier of nations. Read the full story here.

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