BRUSSELS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – The European Commission (EC) has welcomed Turkey's efforts to establish a visa-free regime with the European Union, but the EC is still not ready to recommend canceling visas and has called on Ankara to carry out several legal and administrative reforms.
On Monday, the EC presented the report to the European Parliament and the EU Council, giving the first official evaluation of Turkey's fulfillment of the criteria required for establishing a visa-free regime.
"This first report shows that Turkey is conducting effective efforts to meet the criteria identified in its visa liberalization roadmap and I welcome in particular the progress achieved in the fields of migration and international protection, as well as in document security. Work is still needed in areas like, among others, border management, and police and judicial cooperation. I am convinced that Turkey will keep a steady pace towards the fulfilment of the benchmarks by bringing forward several essential legislative and administrative reforms", said Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom as quoted in the communique.
The roadmap towards a visa-free regime with Turkey was set out on December 16, 2013, and consists of five blocks: the protection of documents, the management of migration processes, public peace and safety, basic laws, and the readmission of illegal migrants.
By the end of 2013, Turkey and the European Union signed a deal enabling EU countries to repatriate illegal migrants, who had entered the bloc via Turkey.
Turkey is a major transit country for migrants from Asia and Africa heading to the EU.
Turkey began negotiations to join the EU in 2005, but due to several political obstacles and disagreements, the talks have made slow progress.