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EU Gives Moldovans 'Action Plan' For Visa-Free Travel

Cecilia Malmstroem, the EU's commissioner for internal affairs
Cecilia Malmstroem, the EU's commissioner for internal affairs
CHISINAU -- Moldova received an "action plan" from the European Union today that is to lead toward visa-free travel for Moldovans within the 27-member bloc, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

European Union Internal Affairs Commisioner Cecilia Malmstroem officially handed over the plan, which is a list of measures Moldovans need to take before they can travel to the EU without a visa. Two requirements for Chisinau are for it to strengthen border controls and to issue passports that are more difficult to forge.

In an interview with RFE/RL today, Moldovan Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca said his country will fulfill the conditions for visa-free travel by the end of 2012.

But Malmstroem did not mention a timetable for dropping visa requirements at her meeting in Chisinau today, saying it is too early to make predictions.

She praised Moldova's efforts to bring its legislation in line with EU standards within the so-called Eastern Partnership program, which also includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine.

Moldova's pro-Western government, which came to power in 2009, has promised to bring the country closer to the EU after a decade of pro-Russian foreign policies by governments led by members of the Communist Party.