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Majority of Finnish MEPs oppose visa-free regime for Turkey

An Yle survey has found that a majority of Finnish MEPs would oppose the introduction of a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens entering the Schengen area. Just three of Finland’s representatives in the European Parliament support the move, which is part of a deal on migrant repatriation between the EU and Turkey.

Ahmet Davutoglu ja Angela Merkel
Pääministeri Ahmet Davutoglu ja liittokansleri Angela Merkel neuvottelivat viime viikolla viisumivapaudesta ja muista Turkin ja EU:n välisistä asioista. Image: Sedat Suna / EPA

The EU Commission on Wednesday urged EU member states and MEPs to back a deal granting visa-free access to the Schengen area for Turkish citizens, so long as Turkey meets 72 conditions—but Finnish MEPs are less than keen, according to an Yle poll.

The agreement was struck between the EU and Turkey to try and halt migrant flows from Turkey to Greece, and implement a mechanism to deport migrants from Greece back to Turkey if they do not claim asylum.

As a quid pro quo Turkey asked for a relaxed regime for its citizens, but EU governments and MEPs must back the deal. Of 13 Finnish MEPs just three say they favour lifting the visa requirement, seven are opposed and a further three remain on the fence.

Some based their opposition on Turkey’s failure to meet all 72 conditions, but the Commission said on Wednesday that all but five have been met—and those remaining five are expected to be met soon.

The three MEPs positive on the deal were from the Centre, SDP and National Coalition parties—but all three had party colleagues opposing the agreement. Both Finns Party members were against the agreement, while the Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party MEPs did not give a view one way or the other. The Green League MEP said that she opposed the agreement as Turkey had not yet met the conditions.

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