EU executive to propose visa-free travel for Turks on Wednesday, sources say

by Reuters  |  published on May 3, 2016

The European Union executive will propose on Wednesday relaxing visa requirements for Turks, two sources said, after Ankara threatened to walk away from a migration agreement unless the EU eased travel rules for Turkish citizens.

The 28-nation EU depends on Ankara’s cooperation to maintain a March agreement that has helped stem the flow of refugees and migrants arriving from Turkey, which saw more than a million people reached Greece and Italy last year.

Liberalising visa rules for Turkey, a Muslim country of 79 million people, is a contentious issue among EU states. But Brussels is pressing ahead so it can keep the migration accord in place, as Europe struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War Two.

An EU official and a source close to the negotiations between Brussels and Ankara said a meeting of the EU’s executive European Commission on Wednesday will propose easing the visa requirements.

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