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Romania To Ease Entry For Some 1 Million Moldovans

The Leuseni checkpoint on the Moldova-Romania border

The Leuseni checkpoint on the Moldova-Romania border

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat says that up to 1.2 million Moldovans -- or more than one-quarter of the population -- will be able to travel easily to EU-member Romania due to an agreement he signed in Bucharest last week, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

The agreement will allow Moldovans living within 50 kilometers of the Romanian border to get multientry permits to enter Romania that are valid for two to five years.

Moldovans need visas to enter Romania and other EU countries.

Filat, who met with top Romanian officials during his visit to Bucharest, added that Romania has also pledged to open two or three new consulates in Moldova in addition to the existing one in Chisinau.

It is unclear when the new travel agreement comes into force and whether the holders of the new permits will be allowed to travel anywhere in Romania or just within a strip along their common border.

Such agreements are in force at other external EU borders, for instance in western Ukraine.

Moldova and Romania, which have a common language and history, are rapidly improving ties after years of tension under the previous communist government in Chisinau.