EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement Signed

The EU-Turkey readmission agreement was signed and the EU-Turkey Visa liberalization dialogue was launched in Turkish capital Ankara on Monday.
On behalf of the European Union, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström signed the EU-Turkey readmission agreement with the Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler, and initiated the EU-Turkey Visa liberalization dialogue with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the European Commission said in a press release.

The two events took place in a combined and parallel manner within the framework of a single ceremony, which was attended by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Minister for European Affairs, Egemen Bagiš, and the Ambassadors of all the EU Member States represented in Turkey.

Malmström expressed hope that "the readmission agreement will now be ratified by the two sides without delay, and that the visa liberalization dialogue will soon allow to register substantial progress."

The main objective of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement is to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, procedures for the rapid and orderly readmission, by each side, of the persons having entered or are residing on the territory of the other side in an irregular manner.

The agreement includes provisions related both to the readmission of the nationals of the EU Member States and Turkey, and to the readmission of any other persons (including the third country nationals and the stateless persons) that entered into, or stayed on, the territory of either sides directly arriving from the territory of the other side.

The provisions of the agreement related to the readmission of the nationals of the two sides, and those related to the readmission of the stateless persons and nationals from third countries with which Turkey has concluded bilateral treaties or arrangements on readmission, will enter into force on the first day of the second month following the date on which the EU and Turkey will notify each other that their respective ratification procedures have been completed.

The provisions related to the readmission of any other third country nationals, instead, will enter into force only three years later.

The agreement will now be sent to the European Union Council, the European Parliament, and to the Turkish Grand National Assembly for ratification.

The aim of the EU-Turkey visa liberalization dialogue is to make progress towards the elimination of the visa obligation currently imposed on the Turkish citizens traveling to the Schengen area for a short term visit.

The dialogue will essentially consist of a screening of the Turkish legislation and administrative practices, which will be carried out by the Commission on the basis of a document, elaborated by the latter, called "Roadmap towards the visa-free regime with Turkey".

This document lists the requirements which should be fulfilled by Turkey to allow the Commission to present a proposal based on solid grounds to the Council and the Parliament to amend the EC Regulation 539/2001, listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, so as to move Turkey from its negative to the positive list.

Once the Commission considers that all the requirements listed in the Roadmap are fulfilled and has presented its proposal to amend the EC Regulation 539/2001, this proposal will be voted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

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