The European Parliament Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) today debated the package of proposals adopted by Commission on refugee and migration policies. This package appears to be a balanced and comprehensive one.
On visa liberalisation with Turkey, however, Parliament’s position is unchanged from the EU-Turkey meetings of 7 and 17 March: as co-legislator it is ready to play a constructive role to contribute to a successful outcome, but there will be firstly no shortcut in parliamentary procedures, so as to ensure independent legislative scrutiny, and secondly all applicant countries for visa-free travel will be treated equally and this means a proposal only once all benchmarks have been fulfilled.
The very substantial efforts deployed by Turkey in the last weeks and days to meet the necessary benchmarks are welcome. The Commission has however informed the European Parliament today that not all benchmarks have yet been fulfilled.
Until this is fully the case, and until the Commission provides the Parliament with a written guarantee that it is the case, thorough work should continue but no referral to committee can take place.
The Conference of Presidents gave its unanimous backing to this action proposed by President Schulz.