• Germany's news in English
Germany, France want 'brake' on visa-free travel from Turkey
File photo: DPA

Germany, France want 'brake' on visa-free travel from Turkey

DPA/The Local · 28 Apr 2016, 12:36

Published: 28 Apr 2016 11:47 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Apr 2016 12:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A proposal for a “mechanism to suspend visa-free travel” was written by France and Germany and dated Wednesday, Politico reported after seeing a copy of the document.

“Current migration and refugee trends make it necessary to have an efficient mechanism in place to suspend visa liberalization,” the authors argue.

Visa liberalization was one of the carrots dangled by Europe to get Turkey to accept a controversial refugee swap deal.

Under the March agreement, Ankara said it would take back migrants who enter the EU illegally, while in exchange European countries will accept Syrian refugees from camps in Turkey.

Other countries currently negotiating visa-free travel with the EU include Georgia, Ukraine and Peru.

Current law dating back to 2013 allows visa-free travel to be revoked for up to six months under any of three conditions:

  • a “substantial” increase in numbers of third-country citizens remaining in an EU member state unlawfully after entering as tourists
  • an increase in the number of asylum requests from the third country
  • or an increase in the number of rejected requests for readmission
The new document suggests that the European Commission could also take into account “increases in crime, efficiency of the fight against corruption, organized crime, document fraud, illegal border-crossings and overall quality of cooperation in the field of readmission of irregular migrants” in deciding whether to apply the brake.

Under the proposed rules, the European Council - made up of the heads of state and government of all EU countries - and Parliament would decide together whether to temporarily suspend visa-free travel. Any EU country would be allowed to request the emergency brake be pulled.

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry told The Local that they could not confirm the Politico report.

'No looser rules for Turkey'

European officials have insisted that the urgency of bringing refugee flows under control would not push them to slacken the preconditions for the visa-free travel agreement.

"We will not play around" with the 72 criteria Turkey must meet to gain visa-free travel, European Commission deputy head Frans Timmermans told the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels on Thursday in comments reported by Reuters

He acknowledged that there were concerns that Turkey's government was not respecting the democratic norms the EU usually demands in exchange for benefits like visa-free travel.

"The distance between us and Turkey is not decreasing, it is increasing because of human rights, the media, and what is happening in civil society," Timmermans said.

MEPs favour tougher emergency brake

The visa deal has yet to be approved by the EP, where an emergency brake is also under discussion.

Story continues below…

"I would support looking at this emergency mechanism again," Germany's most senior MEP Manfred Weber said on Thursday.

Plans to open visa-free travel to Turks have met with resistance from the public in Germany and other EU nations including France, the Netherlands and Austria – meaning Paris and Berlin are hunting for opportunities to limit its impact.

But Weber, a Bavarian conservative who leads the European People's Party (EPP) in Brussels, argued that governments could reassure their citizens with a toughened emergency brake mechanism.

SEE ALSO: German TV journalist refused entry into Turkey

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd