MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — A decision to scrap visa requirements for Turkish travellers under EU’s migrant deal will hardly affect the number of Turks seeking to claim asylum in Europe, a European Parliament member told Sputnik on Wednesday.
The European Commission recommended earlier today that the European Parliament vote on visa-free travel for Turkey after it meets all 72 benchmarks. The decision is expected in June.
"Visa free regime (for stay of 3 months anyway) will make travel easier without any real impact on the number of Turkish people seeking asylum in Europe (that is the fear of some European citizens)," Miltiadis Kyrkos, of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, said.
Kyrkos, who co-chairs the delegation to EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, estimated that only 4.4 percent of Turks are denied visas to travel to EU’s passport-less zone, and an uptick in their arrivals was very unlikely.
"Visa liberalization is almost always a political decision. Although Turkish authorities works hard for completing the 72 benchmarks it is impossible to have them all fulfilled, especially on sensitive matters…But there is a French – German proposal on the table for a procedure to take back the liberalization if and when the criteria are not met. That can be a solution for the moment," Kyrkos said.
Visa-free travel with Turkey is one of the key provisions of the EU-Turkish refugee deal, according to which Ankara has to take back migrants, who have entered the European Union illegally and in return the bloc will accept Syrian refugees from camps in Turkey.
The initiative of Paris and Berlin could pave the way for cancelling the visa-free regime with Turkey and other states if too many migrants from those countries came to the European Union. This mechanism also can temper domestic criticism of the proposal to liberalize the visa regime with Turkey which is growing in countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria.