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More than 2 million citizens of the Republic of Moldova traveled without visas to the European Union

On April 28, the Republic of Moldova marks ten years since the liberalization of the visa regime with the European Union.

On April 28, the Republic of Moldova marks ten years since the liberalization of the visa regime with the European Union. During these 10 years, 2 156 882 citizens of the Republic of Moldova traveled without a visa, using the biometric passport in the Schengen area, which is a total of around 31 248 082 trips, that is, on average more than 15 trips per person for 10 years. At the same time, the Moldovans financially avoided expenses of at least 270 million euros, which they should have paid for the visa procedures.

These are some of the conclusions of the press conference dedicated to the 10-year anniversary since obtaining the EU-free regime, which was organized on Friday, April 26, 2024, by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS ) in collaboration with the European Information Center “Europe Café”.

According to the organizers, visa-free travel has opened up new opportunities for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, giving them greater possibilities to explore the cultural diversity of Europe, to visit their relatives and friends established in EU member states, as well as to develop their knowledge and skills by participating in mobility and education programs.

“Ten years of free travel regime with the European Union, for millions of Moldovans, meant the end of endless queues for visas, the disappearance of criminalized networks of illegal passenger transport, the end of the dangerous roads through mountains and forests that, unfortunately, many Moldovans had to endure to reach European countries trying to get there illegally. This benefit of leaving at any time to see parents or children, see friends, loved ones, go to a football match or go on a trip, without having to spend time, money, wait for the answer 15 days and to wonder whether will receive a visa or not, all these benefits cannot be measured in money or time”, said Iulian Groza, IPRE Executive Director.

Vadim Pistrinciuc, Executive Director of IPIS, added: “We are glad that we don’t see queues at the single visa center, at embassies in Chisinau, that we no longer have news about people lied to by scammers who promised illegal entry into the Schengen area. At the same time, the European Union should not only be about free travel, but the stage is also coming when the European Union will be more present in Moldova. The integration process will bring to Moldova investments, transformations, infrastructure and possibilities for businessmen, for specialists, for local communities to access funds, to grow, to expand. The integration process makes the entire European Union market open to producers, craftsmen, artists, the creative sector, tourism, athletes, transporters, service providers. It’s the biggest and most desirable market in the world.”

This is to remind that on April 28, 2014, the visa regime for citizens of the Republic of Moldova was liberalized by amending EU Regulation no. 539/2001, thus abolishing the obligation to hold a short-term visa for Moldovan citizens, holders of biometric passports, traveling in the Schengen Area.