EU set to drive forward visas for Turks in migrant deal

Despite deep public misgivings in some countries, the European Union will this week drive forward a plan to grant Turks visa-free travel to Europe as a reward for having reduced a flood of refugees and migrants into Europe to a trickle.

Migrants are pictured at a Turkish coastguard station after a failed attempt at crossing to the Greek island of Lesbos, in the Turkish coastal town of Dikili, Turkey April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

The European Commission is set to declare on Wednesday that Turkey has broadly met the criteria for early visa liberalization in a blaze of last-minute legislation and ask EU governments and the European Parliament to approve the decision by the end of June, several EU sources said.

“We have not lowered our standards. Turkey has raised its game,” a senior EU official familiar with the negotiations said.

He was seeking to explain how the EU executive could certify compliance after telling lawmakers just two weeks ago that Ankara had met fewer than half the so-called benchmarks.

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