Granting of visa-free regime by EU means recognition of Moldova’s efforts, opinion

The European Union is the most exigent partner of Moldova and it pondered over a lot before granting a visa-free regime. Now that this regime was offered, it represents recognition of the country’s efforts to come closer to the EU, executive director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT Igor Botan said in the public debate “How much additional freedom can free movement in Europe bring to Moldovans and what can they do with it?”, organized by IPN Agency.

“The EU is the most exigent partner. For example, the U.S. offers the persons with a good behavior visa for a period of ten years. It’s harder with the EU and thus Moldova’s success in obtaining a visa-free regime is thus bigger. It is high-level recognition that this country is a country,” said the permanent expert of IPN’s project.

Igor Botan added that the European integration process in Moldova is a stimulus for modernization and development so as to overcome the situation in which the state has been since declaring its independence. Moldova became a state with functional institutions, with elite that, even if it is criticized, are completing the process it initiated four years ago.

The ADEPT director said he has the feeling that the joy at the obtained success is overshadowed by certain things. “Of the 200 million people living in Russia and in the six EaP member states, only the Moldovans were privileged to travel visa-free to the EU. We are 4 million people, together with the Transnistrians. This privilege is an accomplishment, not a present,” stated Igor Botan.

He also said that Moldova will soon start to benefit from a number of freedoms, namely the free movement of people and then the free movement of goods when the Association Agreement with the EU comes into force. The authorities are yet to make effort to obtain free movement for the labor force as the European states not only once showed that they are ready to accept Moldovan skilled workers.

The public debate “How much additional freedom can free movement in Europe bring to Moldovans and what can they do with it?” is the 28th of the series “Development of political culture by public debates”. IPN has staged these debates for the third year with the support of Hanns Seidel Foundation and in cooperation with Radio Moldova.

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