A technical committee of Turkish and EU officials is scheduled to meet next week in Turkey to discuss visa liberalization for Turkish nationals in the Schengen zone, a Turkish official said yesterday.
The official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said that the meeting is a follow up to the summit in Varna Bulgaria, held between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk. The summit was hosted by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country holds the European Council rotating presidency.
The Varna summit was seen as a step to normalize relations between Ankara and the EU, which have recently seen tensions.
Visa liberalization is part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal signed in March 2016.
Brussels and Ankara reached an agreement to take stricter measures against human traffickers, discourage irregular migration over the Aegean Sea and improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Under the EU-Turkey agreement, EU member states have to mobilize an additional 3 billion euros in funding by the end of 2018. However, the European Commission signaled on March 14 that it would pay the additional 3 billion euros, but so far it has not delivered on the promised money.
The agreement also promised acceleration in Ankara's EU membership process and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals in the Schengen zone, provided that Ankara fulfills criteria set out by Brussels.
Responding to a question of which EU members support Turkey's accession, the Turkish official said that "Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and France are the main ones." The official added that while some of the leaders of these countries speak against Turkey's accession to the EU, their foreign ministers speak otherwise during meetings between the countries.
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