Turkey wants to see progress in EU visa pledge

Turkey's EU minister has called on the Union to produce concrete result in its pledge to ease visa requirements for Turkish nationals a day after a senior EU official vowed to draw a road map to that end.

Turkey wants to see progress in EU visa pledge

Turkey's EU minister has called on the Union to produce concrete result in its pledge to ease visa requirements for Turkish nationals a day after a senior EU official vowed to draw a road map to that end.

"We expect that words given to Turkey be honored and we want to see results," Egemen Bagis told reporters Thursday in Strasbourg following his talks at the European Parliament.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malstrom on Wednesday said the Union would for the first time draw "a road map to remove visa requirements completely" for Turkish nationals and that in the meantime the EU would move to ease visa procedures.

"Turks feel themselves the least European is when they stand in long visa queues. That embarrassment has to end," he said.

Bagis said the European Commission had made the decision without asking Turkey to make any commitments regarding a readmission agreement.

European Commission has earlier put forward the penning of the readmission agreement as a prerequisite to start talks with Turkey for easier visa for Turks.

On Wednesday Malstrom said the EU member countries would issue long stay multiple entry visas with shorter visa issuance periods, less paper work as well as indefinite visas. The Union also plans to open visa issuance centers in several cities.

Responding to a question over Greek Cypriot offshore drilling for hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, Bagis said the Greek Cypriot side's move was aimed at hurting the settlement talks.

"Oil and gas don't go anywhere. The Greek Cypriot side is damaging the UN and it shoots EU in the foot," Bagis said.

Earlier on Wednesday Bagis met with Jan Zahradil, chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, as well as with Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

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Last Mod: 29 Eylül 2011, 16:23
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