EU proposes enhanced dialogue and cooperation with Turkey, addresses visa and trade issues

BRUSSELS — The European Union has put forward a proposal to revitalize dialogue and collaboration with Turkey, suggesting a fresh approach to engagement. Amid the backdrop of negotiations which have been stalled since 2018, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi emphasized the need to resume talks with Turkey, a candidate for EU membership for over two decades.

In their joint proposal on Wednesday, the officials recommended that the 27 member states of the EU engage in continued dialogue with Ankara, focusing on enhancing cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including immigration, energy, trade, and visa regulations for Turkish citizens. Varhelyi specifically advocated for extending multiple-entry visas to Turkish citizens for longer durations, aligning with a longstanding request from Turkey. Additionally, he proposed updating the customs union agreement between the EU and Turkey.

Trade between Ankara and the EU has surged to a record high of approximately 200 billion euros, underscoring the significance of collaboration. Despite the positive economic ties, both European officials emphasized the importance of gradual and equitable progress in dialogue and cooperation.

In light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the EU is keen to engage with Turkey on strategies to prevent Russia from circumventing the sanctions imposed by the West. Turkish resistance to imposing sanctions on Moscow, despite its NATO membership, requires approval from all 27 EU member states before implementation. The proposal reflects the EU’s proactive stance in navigating complex geopolitical dynamics with Turkey.