Moldova continues to meet the visa liberalization requirements and made progress in addressing last yar s recomendations of the European Commission. At the same time, visa-free movement continues to bring positive economic, social and cultural benefits to EU Membr States and partner contries, says 4th report on the monitoring of the EU visa-free regime with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, IPN reports, quoting a press release of the European Commission.
Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the visa-free travel between the EU and the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries is a significant achievement. While restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on mobility, visa-free countries in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership must continue and step up their efforts in managing migration and asylum and in fighting corruption and organized crime.
The report says the COVID-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions had a major impact on migration and mobility to the EU. The vast majority of those who did travel to the EU did so with legitimate grounds. While all countries assessed continued to take measures to address irregular migration, further efforts are needed to address ongoing concerns. Despite an overall decrease in the number of irregular border crossings, improvements in the areas of border and migration management are still needed. The reception capacity in some Western Balkan countries continues to raise concerns, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
All countries assessed continued to take measures to prevent and fight organized crime. However, further efforts are needed to address internal security concerns. The countries should take action to effectively fight against organized crime, financial fraud and money laundering, especially through better coordination between law enforcement agencies.
High-level corruption remains an area of concern. In some cases, efforts against corruption are still hampered by the limited capacity and legal status of anti-corruption agencies as well as and the small number of convictions in those corruption cases which go to trial, especially in Moldova and Ukraine.
Visa-free countries granting citizenship in exchange for investment should effectively phase out such schemes, so as to prevent nationals of other visa-required countries from circumventing the EU short-stay visa procedure and the in-depth assessment of migration and security risks it entails.
The Commission will continue monitoring the fulfillments of the visa liberalization requirements through senior officials meetings as well as through the regular Justice, Freedom and Security subcommittee meetings and bilateral and regional dialogues between the EU and visa-free countries.
The EU currently has a visa-free regime in place with 61 countries. The visa-free regime for Moldova took effect in April 2014.