European Union flags flap in the wind outside EU headquarters in Brussels. REUTERS
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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.The European Commission is set to declare 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.So in the time-honored EU manner, the Commission will present a package aimed at offering something for everyone.EU officials insist the union made no promise, and the offer applies only if Turkey meets 72 legal and technical conditions.Officials and diplomats say there is huge pressure to push visa liberalization through, notably from Germany, which was the main destination for about a million refugees and migrants who entered the EU last year and would be among the first to suffer if the accord with Turkey broke down.Turkish EU ambassador Selim Yenel told Reuters his country could live with that provided Turkey was not singled out.EU officials and diplomats believe no member state will ultimately halt visa freedom for Turkey, recalling that all 28 EU leaders signed up to the agreement with Ankara in March.
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