CHISINAU -- Romania today started issuing special travel documents to Moldovans living along its eastern border that allow them to spend up to 90 days in the EU country without applying for a visa, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
The first "small-traffic permit," as the document is officially called, was presented today to a Moldovan woman by Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc, who is in Chisinau on a one-day visit.
The Romanian Embassy started accepting applications from Moldovans for the special permits on March 1, and it says it has received more than 2,500 thus far.
It is believed that at least 1.2 million Moldovans -- almost one-third of the total population -- are eligible to receive Romanian border permits under an EU-sponsored scheme that is currently applied in other places along the EU's eastern frontiers, for example at the border between Poland and Ukraine.
Romania introduced visas for Moldovans in 2007 after it joined the EU.
Bucharest has promised to make it easier for Moldovans to enter Romania by simplifying visa procedures and speeding up the process of granting Romanian citizenship to hundreds of thousand of Moldovans of Romanian descent.