The European Commission has assessed how the countries of the Western Balkans and those of the Eastern Partnership: Georgia, Ukraine, but also Moldova met the requirements for visa liberalization.
The report concluded that the countries concerned continue to meet visa liberalization requirements and that visa-free travel continues to bring economic, social, and cultural benefits to the European Union (EU) Member States and partner countries. However, there are areas that require further action, according to a press release issued by the European Commission.
Thus, the Commission notes that corruption remains a problem in all countries covered by this report.
“Moldova and Ukraine have suffered particularly from bank fraud, making little progress in prosecuting those involved and in recovering fraudulent assets. In Moldova, important actions have been taken, but these efforts must be strengthened and supported,” the communiqué states.
In Ukraine, it is important to maintain and strengthen the independence of anti-corruption institutions. The EU support will continue to be conditional and will depend on real progress on the reform agenda, in particular, in the fields of anti-corruption and justice.
“The visa liberalization process is a powerful tool for promoting transformative reforms, including in the area of justice and security. This process facilitates people-to-people contacts and strengthens the links between the EU and the citizens of the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries. Over the years, we have seen significant progress by visa-free partners that strengthen our relationships. Continued efforts are needed to maintain these achievements, “said Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs.
All visa-free countries assessed in this report will need to make further efforts to ensure full alignment with EU visa policy.
The Commission will continue to monitor the fulfillment of visa liberalization requirements through meetings of senior officials, as well as through the regular meetings and dialogues of the Justice, Freedom and Security Subcommittee between the EU and visa-free countries.
For Moldova’s citizens, the visa-free regime entered into force in April 2014, and for Ukraine in June 2017.