EU Minister Bozkır dismisses claims EU stepping back from visa deal

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
Published 23.04.2016 03:31

EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır said on Friday there are no signs of hesitancy from the EU regarding visa liberalization and dismissed claims that the EU is seeking ways retract its decision.

Speculation arose after the Financial Times claimed on Thursday that some EU governments have begun looking at measures that would allow them to hedge their promise to Ankara, including safeguard clauses, extra conditions or watered-down terms. Commenting on Friday in Istanbul, Bozkır said that an EU withdrawal from the visa liberalization agreement is out of the question. "This decision has been unanimously taken by all 28 EU countries. So there should be no withdrawal from this political decision. Besides, there is no sign of hesitancy from the EU," he said.

Explaining that Turkey has been working to accomplish all the requirements for visa liberalization, Bozkır said: "Our expectation is for us to complete all the legal arrangements that we need to by the end of this month. Hence, the visa [requirement] will be lifted by the end of June. There is no other scenario and we continue to take firm steps forward to achieve it," he said. As of April 23, Turkey has fulfilled 62 of the 72 criteria required for its citizens to travel to the Schengen zone without a visa and plans to complete the adoption of the remaining six international conventions and four laws before May 4, the date the European Commission will outline in its advisory report.

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