EU/Moldova: signature of the agreement on visa and readmission (extracts)
The visa facilitation and readmission agreements with Moldova were signed in a ceremony that took place in Brussels with the participation, from the EU side, of Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security, and Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs and President in office of the Council, and, from Moldova, of Andrei Stratan, Moldavian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration. These agreements aim at making it easier for Moldavian citizens, in particular those who travel most, to acquire short-stay visas for the EU, whilst simultaneously combating illegal immigration. The Visa Facilitation agreement makes it possible to maintain the visa handling fee at 35 Euros instead of 60 for all Moldavian citizens and provide a total exemption from the visa fee for certain categories of applicants. Furthermore, for certain categories of persons, e.g. businessmen, students and journalists, the necessary supporting documents for a visa application are simplified. For certain categories of frequent travellers it is possible to issue multi-entry visas with long periods of validity. Finally, holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from the visa obligation. The readmission agreement sets out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of both Moldova and EU Member States as to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on the territories covered by the agreement. In this respect, the agreement covers not only the illegally staying nationals of both parties but also third country nationals and stateless persons being in an irregular situation provided they have a clear link with the requested Party (e.g. visa or resident permit). Full respect of Human Rights as provided by the European Convention of Human Rights is guaranteed during the application of the Readmission agreement.
EU citizens are already exempt from the visa obligation by Moldova. Pending the opinion of the European Parliament, the conclusion of the visa facilitation and readmission agreements should be achieved by November 2007. The entry into force of the agreements, at the latest on 1 January 2008, would avoid any discontinuance in the application of the 35 Euros handling fee for all Moldavian citizens. SHOTLIST