The revision of the visa-free regime for Moldova became a component part of the last resolution adopted by the European Parliament, even if the visa liberalization is covered by the Association Agreement only tangentially (Art. 15, p. 2), expert in political sciences Dionis Cenușa wrote in an analysis article for IPN Agency.
He reminded that the agreement took effect later than the Moldovans started to travel visa-free in the EU.
The politologist noted the liberalization of visas is administered by a specific framework separately from politics where Moldova is assessed together with five Western Balkan countries and another two countries of the Eastern Partnership – Ukraine and Georgia.
The European Commission in December 2017 first ascertained that Moldova continues to implement the criteria for benefitting from a visa-free regime. However, illegal migration, anti-corruption policies and fighting of money laundering were signaled as problems where the Moldovan authorities should demonstrate progress. This thing generates at least two questions.
First of all, the European Parliament includes conditionality elements related to the liberalization of visas in a resolution on the implementation of the Association Agreement. This can be explained by the intention to incite public debates in Moldova by raising a subject that is sensitive for the citizens who do not yet possess Romanian passports.
The issue of the visa-free travel could have been specified in the European Parliament’s resolution of July 5, 2018 concerning the political crisis in Moldova determined by the invalidation of the elections in Chisinau. But this aspect was overlooked in June-July and appeared in the November 14 resolution.
Secondly, it is not clear why the concerns related to the functioning of the visa-free regime are addressed separately. As the European Commission indicated both the inefficiency of the fight against grand corruption and money laundering and the phenomenon of illegal migration among the problems.
It’s true that according to the new visa waver suspension mechanism introduced in 2018, the European Commission can adopt such a decision if the sector provisions from the dialogue on visas with the EU are no longer respected, stated Dionis Cenușa.
However, the eventual reintroduction of visas for Moldova to a great extent depends on the state of the technical parameters that follow a negative trend and that’s why should be addressed in the same way as the non-functional anti-corruption policies.
Even if the reintroduction of visas is initiated, this will happen gradually and implies the taking of a decision by most of the EU states. Moreover, the compulsoriness of visas will be imposed on specific categories of citizens, not on the entire population that benefits from the visa-free travel in the EU, concluded the politologist.