The European Policy Centre (EPC) and the European Stability Initiative (ESI) organised a joint Policy Dialogue, on 1 February, on Visa liberalisation and Turkey – What progress?
Turkey faces an important decision: will it embark on the visa liberalisation process that the EU is offering? If yes, Ankara will have to carry out a number of reforms in the area of justice and home affairs. These are listed in a “roadmap towards a visa-free regime with Turkey”, which the EU finalised in December 2012. Turkey will inter alia have to step up efforts to stem irregular transit migration through the country to the EU, implement a readmission agreement with the EU, and build up a functioning asylum system. It is reassuring for Turkey that a number of other countries have already successfully completed a roadmap process based on the same benchmarks and been granted visa-free travel in the end. However, can Turkey trust the EU? Can it rely on the promise of visa-free travel if it carries out all the reforms? Are there other ways for Turkey to obtain visa liberalisation, such as through rights emanating from its Association Agreement with the EU? Finally, how challenging are the required reforms?
These and other questions were discussed by a panel of experts, including Gerald Knaus, Chairman of the European Stability Initiative, Henrik Ankerstjerne, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Denmark, and Elizabeth Collett, Director of Migration Policy Institute Europe & Senior Advisor to MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration. The event will be moderated by Amanda Paul, EPC Policy Analyst.
This event was well attended and held under the auspices of the EPC's European Politics and Institutions programme. It has been organised in cooperation with the European Stability Initiative with the financial support of Stiftung Mercator.