Moldova one step closer to EU visa liberalization
After a thorough assessment of the reforms implementation in Moldova, the European Commission advanced the country to the second phase of visa liberalization process.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said that the document, which was signed yesterday, June 27, is a step forward for Moldovan citizens who will travel to Europe. According to her, the changes made at the Visa Regime Agreement come to extend the facilities for getting visas, especially concerning the procedures of applying for a visa, expanding the categories of citizens who will benefit from the exempt of visa fees and others.
Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat welcomed the forward movement of Moldova-EU relations.
“I assure you that we will be as active, fast and effective as we were in the level one implementation process,” Mr. Filat said.
According to the report issued by the Commission on the 22nd of June, Moldova achieved progress in all four blocks the EU has been paying attention to: document security, irregular immigration, public order and security, and external relations and fundamental rights.
Concerning the first block (document security) the Commission believes Moldova meets the benchmarks.
“The legislative framework is in place. A clear schedule has been provided for the complete roll-out of International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO)-compliant biometric passports, including at Moldovan consulates abroad, as well as for the complete phasing-out of non- ICAO compliant passports,” the report shows.
Related to the second block, the Commission assessed it as being more than partly complete, some improvements being still necessary.
“In the area of border management, the relevant legislation was adopted. The institutional framework is in place, including provisions on training and ethical codes to fight corruption. With regard to migration management, the Republic of Moldova has laid down a comprehensive basis for an efficient migration management system and the relevant legislative framework is in place. Although some improvements are necessary, the instruments adopted are largely in line with European and international standards,” the general assessment shows.
Public order and security sector of Moldova make up the block 3 requirements. The Commission states that several laws and amendments have been enacted. There are still improvements which the EU is expecting to see.
“Regarding the law enforcement cooperation, coordination should be further improved in order to allow an effective exchange of information,” the report shows.
The controversial anti-discrimination bill was not forgotten by the EU. In the last block the Commission explained how important is to assure the respect of fundamental rights.
“With the adoption of a comprehensive Law on Ensuring Equality the Republic of Moldova completed the framework deemed to ensure effective implementation of the benchmarks in the area of external relations and fundamental rights,” the Commission stated in the report.
The EU-Moldova Visa Dialogue was launched on June 15, 2010. It is designed to provide to Moldovan citizens the possibility to travel to the EU countries without requiring a visa.
The Action Plan on Visa Liberalization implies four blocks of relevant issues, with the view of both the adoption of a legislative and policy framework (phase 1) and its effective implementation (phase 2).