Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos raised the issue of the special visa for Turkish tourists travelling to the islands of the eastern Aegean during a meeting with European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans in Brussels on Wednesday.

The pilot visa program, which started in 2012 and expired on October 30, 2016, had been approved by the European Commission and was crucial for the islands which rely on tourism to counter the effects of the refugee crisis. It constituted an exception from the Schengen rules.

Katrougalos also thanked Timmermans for his stable position and solidarity concerning migration and according to the minister the two sides converged on the issues of the Common European Asylum System and the revision of the Dublin Regulation.

The minister also briefed Greek MEPs on the country’s priorities during the first half of the year and mainly the future of Europe and migration.

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