Citizens of Moldova, free to travel to EU

MoldovaEUvisasCitizens of Republic of Moldova no longer need a visa to travel to European Union countries, from today, April 28. For the small former USSR republic, it is another step towards EU, an evolution that looks crucial since Rep. of Moldova is seen as a possible next target for Putin’s Russia. Still, news reports show people are divided between moderate enthusiasm and indifference.

In response to the Ukraine crisis, the European Union has said it will accelerate the partnerships and from Monday, all citizens of Moldova with a biometric passport can travel visa-free to Europe’s Schengen zone, the European Commission said on Sunday in a statement, Reuters reported.

EU officials, including Romanian Government, say it is a historical decision. Romanian and Moldavian prim-ministers will meet at a border point, on Tuesday, to mark the event.

But a recent poll shows 50% of the Moldavians say “lifting visas is not an important evolution”, according to AFP. Some said they didn’t have money to travel while others said they were already able to enter EU because they received the Romanian citizenship.

“I am not interested, I don’t have money to go to Europe”, Natalia Tregubova, 56, unemployed, said. “There are no jobs in Europe. We make money in Russia. We are afraid Russia would retaliate against Moldavian workers because of the country’s close relations with EU”, a 63 years worker told AFP. “Most of my friends see no future here and they onl wait ti finish their studies, in order to leave the country for EU”, Anisoara Moraru, a student, said.

Only 15% of the nationals of Rep. of Moldova have a biometric passport. Lifting visas doesn’t mean citizens of Republic of Moldova have the rights to work in EU. But according to statistics, a lot of them are already in EU. Official figures show 700 000 people are working abroad, more than half in EU, and the rest mostly in Russia. Migration to EU is helped by the fact that more than 250 000 moldavians have the Romanian citizenship, EU member.

Republic of Moldova is considered one of the poorest or even the poorest country in Europe, with more than half of the families having a monthly income of only 200 Euros.

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