Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

EU lifts visa restrictions on Moldova

  • Moldovan nationals with a biometric passport can travel to the EU without a visa (Photo: Guttorm Flatabo)

The EU on Thursday (3 April) formally agreed to lift visa restrictions on Moldova, allowing its citizens to travel throughout the Schengen passport-free area.

“This is a great achievement and the beginning of a new chapter in our relations,” said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in a statement.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The visa will be lifted at the end of the month.

Moldovans will be able to travel freely throughout the Schengen area for short trips so long as they have a biometric passport.

Conditions attached to the visa waiver required the country to reform its ministry of interior, modernise its border police, work closer with the EU on police matters, and manage its border with Ukraine.

Moldova, for its part, sees the move as a step towards deeper relations with the EU and possibly one day joining the Union.

“I want to tell the sceptics, who until recently have not believed that we will travel freely to the European Union, that the prospect of joining the European Union will be recognised in the same way,” Moldova’s prime minister Iurie Leanca said in a speech to the parliament in Chisinau on Thursday.

Last November, the government initialled a free trade and political pact with the EU in a wider effort to modernise the former Soviet republic.

Chisinau’s move towards the EU was met with threats from Putin’s special representative to Moldova’s Russian-occupied breakaway region of Transniestria, Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin in late 2013 said Moldova could lose the breakaway if it continued to seek closer ties with the EU.

In February, the autonomous region of Gagauzia voted in favour of joining the Russia-led Customs Union. Authorities in Chisinau called the referendum illegal.

Putin’s annexation of the Crimea has since heighted tensions in the region with Transniestria now wanting to join Russia.

Russia has some 1,200 troops, which it describes as peacekeepers, along a 12-20km wide buffer zone that separates Moldova and Transniestria.

Nato in late March also warned the country could become Russia’s next target, with Leanca telling Reuters that Crimea’s annexation “might raise expectations” in Moldova's separatist region.

Despite the tensions, Leanca says Chisinau intends to maintain an open dialogue and relations with Russia.

He noted that his deputy prime minster Natalia Gherman would be on an official visit in Moscow on Friday.

Russia is also set to send its envoy.

Gherman told media Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to visit the Moldovan capital at the end of the month.

Feature

'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Project Safte, an international research project funded by the European Commission, has revealed a loophole in the EU firearms directive that is being exploited by criminals and possibly terrorists.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists