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Moldova-EU visa liberalization dialogue

On 28 April 2014, the liberalization process reached its final point by amending the EU Regulation no. 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 on the abolition of the visa requirement for Moldovan citizens holding a biometric passport and travelling in the Schengen area.

This was possible by ensuring the implementation of the conditionalities under the Action Plan on visa liberalization of 24 January, 2011, within the framework of the EU-Moldova Visa liberalization Dialogue (launched on 15 June, 2010). In order to implement the conditionalities of the respective Plan, the Working Group on the Coordination of the Liberalization Process of the Visa Regime with the European Union was created, and approved the National Program for the Implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization (March 2011) and the Additional Measures of the National Program Implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (February 2012).

Action Plan on Visa Liberalization (March 2011) and the Additional Measures of the National Program Implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (February 2012).

The RM-EU Visa Liberalization Dialogue was structured according to the four blocks and in two stages: the first - aimed at strengthening the legal framework and the second - implementing the activities formulated in the Plan. In the first phase, RM presented 3 Progress Reports (May 2011, November 2011 and May 25, 2012). On the other side, the EU assessed the level of implementation by the RM of the Action Plan, presenting in this regard 3 Progress Reports (September 2011, February 2012 and October 2012), as well as the Impact Study on the Migration and Security Level, published in August 2012.

Thus, on 19 November 2012, the EU Council Conclusions on the fulfillment of all the benchmarks under the first phase under Visa Dialogue and the need for an effective implementation of all the benchmarks under the second phase were adopted. In the second phase, the Republic of Moldova presented 2 Progress Reports (December 2012 and September 2013), and the EU evaluated the RM through the evaluation missions (March-February 2013) and the 2 Progress Reports (June 2013 and November 2013). Against this background, on 27 November 2013, the European Commission proposed the liberalization of the visa regime for Moldovan citizens by amending Regulation 539/2001 on the abolition of the visa requirement for short-period travels for Moldovan citizens holding a biometric passport in the Schengen zone. This proposal confirmed that the Republic of Moldova fulfilled all the conditions of the Action Plan and was endorsed by the EU Council on 20 December and the European Parliament on 27 February, 2014.

Following the inter-institutional consultations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council (including the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU) under the ordinary procedures laid down by the Treaty of Lisbon on 3 April 2014, the decision on the liberalization of the visa regime for Moldovan citizens was signed by the presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Thus, the decision on the abolition of visas for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 8 April, 2014 and entered into force on 28 April, 2014.

The liberalization of visas for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova is stipulated in EU Regulation no. No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempted from that requirement.

The Republic of Moldova shared the experience gained in the liberalization of the visa regime with Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan, etc.

In the context of the Visa Suspension Mechanism revised and enforced by the European Commission in 2017, the suspension may be triggered by a notification from a Member State or the European Commission. In the case of notification by a simple majority of Member States, the Commission will have to adopt an implementing decision that temporarily suspends the visa waiver for certain categories of third-country nationals concerned for a period of 9 months. During this period, the Commission shall establish a consolidated dialogue with the third country concerned to remedy the circumstances.

With a view to strengthening and securing the EU's borders, on 16 November 2016 the European Commission's proposal for the European Information and Authorization for Travels (ETIAS) was launched. The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), with the input of other committees of the European Parliament, drafted the draft EU legislative body's position on the proposal, which was accepted on 25 October 2017. Following several discussions and coordination at EU level, the Regulation on establishing ETIAS was published on 19 September 2018 and entered into force on 9 October 2018. It will be operational in 2020/2021. The ETIAS Central Unit will be set up within the FRONTEX Agency.

To better understand the vision of the EU institutions on ETIAS, we suggest you to visit the ETIAS official website and the info-graphics prepared by the European Commission and the European Parliament.

 

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