Moldovans to travel visa-free to the EU

EU institutions have decided to grant visa-free travel rights to Moldovan nationals today on April 3, who will now be able to travel to the Union’s border-free Schengen area, if they hold a biometric passport, reports

Following a recent European Commission proposal, the European Parliament, and member states, have taken the final step to transfer Moldova to the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. It is expected that the amendment of Regulation 539/2001 will enter into force on 28 April.

Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström called this step “a great achievement and the beginning of a new chapter” in EU-Ukraine relations.

The country of 3.5 million inhabitants, which participates in the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, launched its so-called “Visa Dialogue” aimed at achieving visa-free travel in June 2010, and attained this objective in less than four years.

 “This shows that the efforts by the Moldovan authorities have paid off, and that the EU is committed to deliver on engagements with third countries wishing to work with us”, Malmström said.

The commissioner also said that the Moldova case was “an excellent example” for other countries of the region, “demonstrating that a strong political commitment and the effective implementation of reforms bring tangible results”.

Many Moldovans already enjoy visa-free travel, as reportedly some 400,000, if not more have obtained Romanian passports, the neighbouring EU country being very generous in granting its nationality to Romanian-speaking Moldovans.