BRUSSELS -- As of April 28, Moldovans with a biometric passport can travel to the Schengen zone without visas, becoming the first of the six Eastern Partnership countries to do so.
Both the European Parliament and EU member states approved the measure in March after nearly four years of negotiations.
The EU commissioner responsible for home affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, said the decision "will further facilitate people-to-people contacts and strengthen business, social, and cultural ties between the European Union and Moldova."
Moldova's pro-European Prime Minister Iurie Leanca has said EU-inspired reforms and visa-free travel for Moldovans are the best hope of resolving the "frozen conflict" of Transdniester, arguing they would make Moldova more attractive to those in the rebel region.
The step comes as the European Union has said in response to the Ukraine crisis it will press ahead with deeper ties with Eastern European nations in defiance of Russia.
With reporting by Reuters