Lithuanian Presidency reaches agreement on visa free travels for the Republic of Moldova

20 December 2013, Last updated at, 16:32 EET
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author: AFP/Scanpix

At its final meeting under the Lithuanian Presidency to the Council of the EU on December 20 in Brussels, the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER II) has agreed to grant the citizens of the Republic of Moldova with visa-free travels to the EU. The final adoption of the decision by the EU Council and the European Parliament is expected early next year.

“Today’s agreement on the visa-free travels for the Republic of Moldova is a very important moment for the citizens of this country, but also for the EU. During last 3 years, Chisinau worked extremely hard in implementing the Visa Liberalization Action Plan requirements, and – according to the principle “more for more” – their reform efforts are now rewarded. I believe our today’s agreement will also serve as an incentive for all political actors in Moldova to continue comprehensive reforms in all the areas to bring even more benefits to their people,” said ambassador Raimundas Karoblis, chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee.

Citizens of the Republic of Moldova will be able to travel without visas to the EU once the amendment of the Regulation listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of Member States and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, will be adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament. Such an amendment has been proposed by the European Commission on November 27.

“We also encourage other Eastern partners and Russia to follow this very good example by Moldova. Effective implementation of the substantive reforms on the ground – be them fixed in the Visa Liberalization Action Plans or “Common Steps” document – is a genuine way to achieve the mutually desired goal of visa free travels,” added ambassador Karoblis.

Lithuania has placed the EU visa policy high on its EU Presidency agenda in the second half of 2013. A week ago, a very important agreement has been reached on the visa free travels for the 16 Caribbean and Pacific countries, United Arab Emirates, Peru and Colombia. The EU-Azerbaijan Visa Facilitation Agreement has also been signed at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit on November 29, and the decisions on the conclusion of the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements have been adopted, paving the way for their entering into force from January 1, 2014. The Lithuanian Presidency has also reached an agreement on the negotiating mandate for the European Commission to start the Visa Facilitation talks with Morocco, the first such agreement in the EU’s Southern neighbourhood.

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