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European Affairs Committee supports visa-free regime between EU and Turkey

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Wednesday, 18 May, Saeima’s European Affairs Committee approved Latvia’s national position on the matter regarding the introduction of a visa-free regime between the European Union and Turkey.

It is mentioned in Latvia’s official position – only Turkish citizens with biometric passports that adhere to standards of the European Union should be provided rights to travel to the EU without visas.

The committee also approved Latvia’s position in regards to enhancing the non-visa regime’s halting mechanism. The mechanism for halting the non-visa regime provides an option to halt the non-visa regime with a country if the migrant flow from that country becomes uncontrollably large, as reported by the Saeima press-service.

In order to adopt a non-visa regime, Turkey has been provided with 72 conditions that have to be completed by the end of June. Turkey has yet to complete seven of those conditions, including the requirement regarding appropriate biometric passports. Introduction of a visa-free regime would allow Turkish citizens with biometric passports to travel to the EU for up to 90 days. The EU-Turkey agreement provides the establishment of the non-visa regime by the end of June.

During the meeting with the committee, Interior Affairs Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Evika Silina informed members the committee that one of the aforementioned conditions for Turkey was the control over illegal migrant flow from Turkey. This means Turkey has to take in illegal migrants sent back after being caught travelling to the EU illegally.

The meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Affairs Ministers that will address the matter regarding the visa-free regime and other matters is planned for 20 May.

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