At the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius [November 28-29], the European Commission will propose to cancel visa regime for Moldova citizens traveling to Europe, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso stated at a news conference in Brussels on Friday.
The conference was held following his meeting with Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, and after the presentation in the European Commission of the 5th Report on Moldova’s fulfillment of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP).
Barroso said, “On this note, I’m extremely pleased to announce today that after considerable efforts by the Moldovan authorities over the last three years, the Commission's report on Visa Liberalization which we are publishing this morning concludes that Moldova meets all the benchmarks set. Following the Eastern Partnership Summit, the European Commission will present a legislative proposal to lift visa requirements for Moldovan citizens holding a biometric passport. This is very good news for citizens and a very tangible element towards a closer political association and economic integration with the European Union, because we are also speaking here about people to people contact. We are making this European path a reality.”
Jose Manuel Durao Barroso also said that the European Commission will continue to support financially the projects set. The support will apply to all spheres. There is a lot of priority projects, so it is necessary to decide how to realize them, for instance the gas projects, which will let Moldova receive gas from Romania. For Moldova, it will be the first direct contact with the European gas market. This will help Moldova diversify energy sources. Also, there are energy projects that will let Moldova increase electricity imports from Romania and ensure energy security.
Answering journalists’ questions about how the European Union will be backing the Eastern Partnership countries, on which Russia may be pressing, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso stated that all countries have the right to choice proceeding from their sovereignty.
“This process does not carry whatever confrontation. We support our neighbors in the process of their integration into Europe, which choice they have made themselves. Moreover, we believe that this is beneficial for the neighbors of our neighbors because more possibilities will appear for cooperation, trade and for the raising of living standards. This is our philosophy”, stressed the President of the European Commission.
Infotag’s dossier: The Republic of Moldova started its visa liberalization dialog in June 2010, and received its Visa Liberalization Action Plan in January 2011. The VLAP includes measures to combat illegal migration, ensure border security, public order maintenance, struggle against corruption and organized crime. The 1st Report on Moldova’s Action Plan implementation progress was presented on September 16, 2011. After that, there were 4 more Reports, including the one presented in Brussels on November 15. Officials in Brussels are saying that not a single country has ever been able to meet visa liberalization conditions so quickly. If the Vilnius Summit really hears a statement on the start of technical procedures of visa liberalization for citizens of Moldova, then a Visa Liberalization Agreement may be signed in 2014 and come into effect on January 1, 2015.