BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament has formally adopted a decision to allow Moldovan citizens with biometric passports to travel visa-free in the Schengen zone as of April 28.
The decision was signed in Brussels on April 3 by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.
Kourkoulas told the European Parliament that Moldova's President Nicolae Timofti will attend a ceremony in Athens on April 28 to mark the event.
The April 3 signing ceremony was also attended by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstroem, who said the move was "a great achievement and the beginning of a new chapter" in Moldova's relations with the European Union.
The Schengen zone is made up of 22 of the EU's 28 member states -- Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Britain are not included -- as well as non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The initiative to ease the visa restrictions for Moldovans was first announced at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November, when Moldova initialed a key Association Agreement with the 28-member bloc.
Moldova is expected to sign the Association Agreement later this year.
With reporting by unimedia.md and hotnews.ro