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September 20, 2020
POLITICS

Moldovans to travel visa-free in Schengen Zone

The European Parliament has formally adopted a decision to allow Moldovan citizens with biometric passports to travel visa-free in the Schengen zone as of April 28, Radio Free Europe informs.
The decision was signed in Brussels on April 3 by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency. The decision comes after a European Commission’s proposal, thus yesterday the European Parliament and the Council have taken the final formal step to transfer Moldova to the list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirement. According to the Commission, it is expected that the amendment of the regulation will enter into force on 28 April, thereby abolishing visa requirements for Moldovan citizens who want to travel to the Schengen zone for a short-stay and hold a biometric passport.
Greek Deputy FM Kourkoulas told the European Parliament that Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti will attend a ceremony in Athens on April 28 to mark the event.  The April 3 signing ceremony was also attended by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, who said the move was “a great achievement and the beginning of a new chapter” in Moldova’s relations with the European Union. “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”, Malmstrom also said, as quoted by www.neurope.eu .
The Schengen zone is made up of 22 of the EU’s 28 member states – Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Britain are not included – as well as non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The initiative to ease the visa restrictions for Moldovans was first announced at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November, when Moldova initialed a key Association Agreement with the 28-member bloc. Moldova is expected to sign the Association Agreement later this year.

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