Denmark’s European affairs minister promises hard work on visa liberalization

May 31, 2012, Thursday/ 22:35:00

Minister of European Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark Nicolai Wammen, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, has promised to work closely on the issue of visa liberalization which is expected to mean a visa-free travel regime with Ankara.

“We will try to find a compromise,” Wammen said on Thursday afternoon at the conference “What Has Changed in Turkey Between the Two Presidency Terms of Denmark in 2002 and 2012?” held at İstanbul Kültür University with Turkey’s minister for EU affairs and chief negotiator Egemen Bağış

Bağış also said there is good will on both sides in regards to visa liberalization. Wammen addressed the problem by ensuring Bağış that Denmark’s presidency would be a window of opportunity to improve Turkey’s predicament, promising to work closely on the issue before it hands over its position this July.

In April, the EU agreed on a draft text that will give the European Commission the necessary mandate to start a visa liberalization dialogue with Turkey. The EU says Turkey first needs to finalize a re-admission agreement for illegal migrants with the 27-member bloc before starting talks over facilitating visas for Turkish nationals.

Meanwhile, Turkey has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with FRONTEX, the EU's border management agency, to cooperate against irregular immigration. "The MoU, which establishes cooperation with FRONTEX, clearly shows Turkey's determination to work to fight irregular migration and the importance attached to cooperation in this field," said a written statement released by the Foreign Ministry on May 28.

Turkey, a candidate to join the EU, says its nationals must be able to travel to EU countries without first obtaining a visa. The EU has insisted on a series of preconditions, including Turkey’s introduction of biometric passports in line with EU standards and the signing of a readmission deal, taking into consideration that Turkey has become a major transit point for irregular immigrants from Asia and the Middle East trying to reach EU countries.

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