Moldovan stamp for the 50th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, source Wikimedia Commons
Put the debate into perspective – Republic of Moldova
This year Moldova has started the negotiation process for a future Association Agreement with the European Union. Although the Agreement will imply a political association and an economic integration of the country, it will not include the clause of “European integration”, that seems to upset Moldovan authorities.
Nevertheless, the Alliance for European Integration, a pro-European ruling coalition, continued its efforts to achieve an Association Agreement and a liberalization of the visa regime. The Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Iurie Leanca, declared that Moldovans will be able to travel across Europe without visa in maximum 3 years.The Dialogue for Visa regime liberalization was officially launched at the 12th meeting of the European Union – Moldova Cooperation Council held in June 2010. It was followed by the European Council conclusions on Moldova adopted during its meeting in Luxemburg in October. The European Council concluded that Moldova will be provided with an action plan for the establishment of a visa-free travel regime, similar to the action plan to be decided for Ukraine.
Fulfilling all the conditions of the action plan will not be an easy task for Moldova, as the EU will try to set clear benchmarks in order to avoid illegal migration. Moldova will have to ensure an adequately secured context for visa-free movement of people that would include border and migration management. There are about 600.000 up to one million Moldovans residing outside the country under different status. People from Moldova migrate towards Russia or Western countries, particularly Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.
Without a roadmap for the moment, Moldova follows the criteria established for the Balkans. It proceeded in solving problems related to border control, fighting corruption and document security. Since 2008, the Ministry of Technologies and Communications issues biometrical passports. Moreover, Moldova is also implementing an integrated border management system, which has to be fulfilled until 2012.
Unfortunately, the internal political situation of Moldova influences negatively the path of reforms in the country. The second early parliamentary elections were held on the 28th of November 2010. There were fears that the outcome of the elections will slow down the pro-European development of Moldova. Although three political parties from the Alliance for European Integration have the majority of seats in the Parliament, the political uncertainty still persists, as they don”t have enough votes to elect the President. Only a large coalition between the Communist party and liberal-democratic parties will save the situation, but this implies concessions from both parts.
However, the new government will have to deal with the roadmap for the visa regime liberalization. It is up to the EU to offer or not a clear time perspective for the achievement of the visa-free regime. But this is obviously determined by the political will of new authorities to ensure a good implementation record of the conditions set out by the EU.
For more information visit:
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova
- Border Guard Service of the Republic of Moldova
- European Union External Action. Moldova
- The comment of Vlad Filat, the Prime-minister of Moldova, on Moldova”s return to Europe