Magazine article European Social Policy

Free Movement : Ecj: Turkish Nationals Subject to Visa Requirement

Magazine article European Social Policy

Free Movement : Ecj: Turkish Nationals Subject to Visa Requirement

Article excerpt

Turkish nationals do not have the permission to enter without a visa an EU member state and receive services there. Unlike the EU treaties, the European Economic Community (EEC)-Turkey association agreement has a purely economic purpose and is not specifically aimed at the free movement of persons in general. This is the meaning of an EU Court of Justice ruling of 24 September (Case C-221/11) on the interpretation of the so-called standstill' clause, which bans associated parties from introducing restrictions, such as a general visa requirement.

In 1963, Turkey and the EEC, together with its member states, concluded an association agreement, the aim of which was to promote the continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations between the contracting parties. The additional protocol to that agreement, signed in 1970, contains a standstill' clause, which prohibits the contacting parties from introducing new restrictions on freedom to provide services with effect from the date of its entry into force. Invoking this particular clause, Leyla Ecem Demirkan applied for a tourist visa with the German Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in order to visit her stepfather, who lives in Germany. After her application was rejected by the German authorities, Demirkan brought an appeal to the Oberverwaltungsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg (Higher Administrative Court), claiming that a family visit still included the determining aspect of the provision of services and that she did not need a tourist visa. Moreover, Demirkan noted that Turkish nationals intending to visit a family member in Germany, for a period of three months maximum, were not required under German law to obtain a visa at the date of entry into force of the additional protocol, that is in 1973.

Therefore, the effect of the standstill' clause is that the general visa requirement subsequently introduced by Germany for Turkish nationals in 1980 cannot be applied to Turkish nationals. …

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