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Parliamentary question - E-013917/2013Parliamentary question

EU-Turkey readmission agreement in return for visa liberalisation

Question for written answer E-013917-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Laurence J.A.J. Stassen (NI)

On 16 December 2013, Turkey is due to sign the ‘Readmission agreement for third-country citizens’. The agreement obliges Turkey to take back persons who have entered the EU illegally through that country. Turkey has never hidden its unsympathetic attitude: in return for signing the agreement, it wants visa liberalisation for all Turks. Turkey’s blackmail seems to have ‘succeeded’ — after signing the agreement, the EU and Turkey are set to work on visa liberalisation[1]. Meanwhile, the blackmail continues — Turkey is threatening in advance to halt the readmission of irregular migrants if the EU were to drag its feet — as Turkey sees it — on visa liberalisation[2].

Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, has firmly asserted that Turks will no longer need a visa to enter the European Union in ‘no more than three and a half years’. Štefan Füle, the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement, has talked of a ‘new dynamic in relations between Ankara and the EU’. Mr Füle, however, does not wish to put a deadline on the completion of visa liberalisation.

1. How does the Commission justify the fact that it has given in to Turkish blackmail by holding out the prospect of visa liberalisation for Turkey in return for it signing the readmission agreement? Does the Commission share the view that it would not be unreasonable to expect what is, after all, a candidate country for EU membership to simply sign an agreement of this nature without in all arrogance demanding something in return? In that context, then, how does the Commission explain its spinelessness?

2. What is the Commission’s assessment of the fact that Turkey is already threatening, in advance, to halt the readmission of irregular migrants if the EU were to drag its feet on visa liberalisation? Does the Commission share the view that threatening behaviour of this kind is unacceptable from a candidate country for EU membership? Does the Commission consequently share the view that Turkey’s arrogant behaviour should in no way be ‘rewarded’ but instead ‘punished’, and that that should be done by means of putting an immediate stop to the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey? If not, how will the Commission guarantee that unacceptable Turkish demands will not be acceded to in future?

OJ C 265, 13/08/2014