- Visa free travel for Turkey into the European Union (EU) will not be possible if required measure are not carried out by the end of April, said European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans.
A proposal for the EU-Turkey deal to tackle the refugee flow is not offering a "free ride" to Turkey, Timmermans said in a press conference in Brussels on March 16.
"We are certainly not giving Turkey a free ride" Timmermans urged, underlining the need of agreement by EU member states. However, he vowed that Turkey's requests to open new chapters within the EU-Turkey accession process would be considered.
Having referred to concerns on human rights in Turkey, Timmermans said the EU was ready to expand the accession procedure, seeking to cover these issues.
“We need to be crystal clear with EU member states. The refugee problem is not going to go away and the EU will have to be serious about the resettlement of refugees” urged Frans Timmermans.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Turkish EU-membership was "not on the agenda". She said Turkey's accession process was not be used as a bargaining chip.
“My task for our summit on Thursday and Friday [March 17-18] is to put together the elements needed to make this proposal legally sound, in line with EU and international law, practically implementable, and of course acceptable to all 28 EU member states as well as to Turkey. That is why I am here in Ankara today” EU Council President Donald Tusk said March 15 at a joint press conference following talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara.