The EU keeps an eye on the liberalization of visa regime with Moldova and Ukraine

The Commission reports on progress of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in terms of their action plan for liberalizing the visa regime.

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Internal Affairs, said she knows the importance attached by the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine the possibility to travel without a visa. The authorities and citizens of both countries have worked hard to implement their action plan to liberalize the visa regime, Cecilia Malmström and hopes that both the Republic of Moldova that Ukraine will continue their efforts on basis of good results. The visa dialogue is an important instrument of reform in areas such as fundamental rights, human trafficking, migration management and organized crime. It urges national authorities to continue their hard work.

Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, said it is essential to encourage mobility and contacts between peoples to promote mutual understanding, shared values ​​and link stronger among the citizens of our country. The new approach of the European Neighbourhood Policy is all about providing more opportunities for mobility and strengthening our partnership with civil society. In addition, the Commissioner particularly welcomes the progress made ​​by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in the implementation of their action plan on the liberalization of visas and have no doubt that further progress will be made in this area.

The report for the Republic of Moldova shows that progress has been made in adopting legislation and consolidating the legal framework in important areas such as document security, border management, migration management, asylum, trafficking in human beings, money laundering, and anti-drugs policy. Nevertheless, work still remains to be finalised in other areas, such as data protection, combating organised crime, fight against corruption, and anti-discrimination.

The report for Ukraine highlights progress in adopting legislation in areas such as border management, migration management, fight against corruption, anti-drugs policy, data protection, and money laundering. In other areas such as document security, asylum, combating organised crime, trafficking in human beings and anti-discrimination, there is still work to be done.

Next steps

The First progress reports for the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on their respective Action Plans on Visa Liberalisation present the state of play of the adoption of the legislative framework (first phase benchmarks), reflecting the situation as of 8 July 2011. Comprehensive second reports will be presented by the end of 2011, after the adoption of the remaining legislation by Ukraine and Moldova and following the assessment missions to be carried out by Commission services, accompanied by Member States’ experts in the autumn.

Background

The EU-Ukraine Visa Dialogue examining the conditions for visa-free travel of citizens of Ukraine to the EU was launched on 29 October 2008. In its Conclusions on the Eastern Partnership of 25 October 2010, the Council invited the Commission to prepare a draft Action Plan setting out all the technical conditions to be met by Ukraine before the possible establishment of a visa-free travel regime. The Action Plan was welcomed by the leaders of the EU and Ukraine at the EU-Ukraine Summit on 22 November 2010.

The EU-Republic of Moldova Visa Dialogue examining the conditions for visa-free travel of citizens of the Republic of Moldova to the EU was launched on 15 June 2010. In the abovementioned Conclusions on the Eastern Partnership, the Council also invited the Commission to prepare a draft Action Plan setting out all technical conditions to be met by the Republic of Moldova before the possible establishment of a visa-free travel regime. The Action Plan was presented by Commissioner Malmström to the Moldovan authorities on 24 January 2011.

The Action Plans have a similar structure. They contain two types of benchmarks: preliminary benchmarks concerning the policy framework (legislation and planning), which should pave the way for meeting more specific benchmarks (effective and sustainable implementation of relevant measures) under each of the four blocks: document security, including biometrics; irregular migration, including readmission; public order and security; and external relations and fundamental rights.

The Commission has been requested to report back regularly to the European Parliament and to the Council on the implementation of these Action Plans.

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