On 28 April, the Republic of Moldova marks ten years since the liberalisation of the visa regime with the European Union. During these 10 years, 2,156,882 citizens of the Republic of Moldova have travelled without a visa, using biometric passports, to the Schengen area, making 31,248,082 trips, i.e. an average of more than 15 trips per person over 10 years. At the same time, Moldovans financially avoided expenses of at least 270 million euro, which they would have had to pay for visa procedures

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

According to the organisers, visa-free travel has opened up new opportunities for Moldovan citizens, giving them greater possibilities to explore Europe’s cultural diversity, visit their relatives and friends settled in EU Member States, as well as develop their knowledge and skills through participation in mobility and education programmes.

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

Vadim Pistrinciuc, Executive Director of IPIS: We are glad that we don’t see lines at the single visa centre, at the embassies in Chisinau, that we don’t have any more news about people lied to by swindlers promising illegal entry into the Schengen area.
But the European Union should not only be about free travel, the stage is coming when the European Union will be more present in Moldova. The integration process will bring investments, transformations, infrastructure and opportunities for businessmen, for specialists, for local communities to access funds, to grow, to expand in Moldova. The integration process makes the whole European Union market open for producers, craftsmen, artists, creative sector, tourism, sportsmen, transporters, service providers. It is the largest and most desirable market in the world.

As a reminder, on 28 April 2014 the visa regime for citizens of the Republic of Moldova was liberalized by amending EU Regulation No 539/2001, thus abolishing the short-stay visa requirement for Moldovan citizens, holders of biometric passports, travelling to the Schengen area.

A full video of the press conference is available here: https://www.facebook.com/ipismoldova/videos/336218959108604