More than 40 European NGOs which are part of the Visa-free Europe Coalition are calling in an open letter on the the European Commission to propose progression of the Republic of Moldova to the second phase of the implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization (APVL).
The letter, addressed to Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and to Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Commission's Commissioner for Home Affairs, argues that the move would be a fair recognition of the progress made by Chisinau in fulfilling the conditions previously agreed with the European Union.
The letter also cites a monitoring report by the Romanian Center for European Policies (Bucharest) and the Foreign Policy Association (Chisinau), which showed that, by mid-May 2012, Moldova fulfilled 86% of the conditions required in the first phase.
Moreover, the letter noted, on 25 May 2012 the Moldovan Parliament adopted two key pieces of legislation: the Law on Ensuring Equality and a new strategy to reform the Anti-corruption Center. Further, independent ongoing monitoring by the Stefan Batory Foundation (Warsaw) and the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS “Viitorul”, Chisinau) also demonstrates the fulfillment of the criteria required by the EU.
“Moving to the second phase of the APVL would mean that the EU is keeping its promise to progress with each country on visa dialogue according with its own merits. It would be a fair use of the ‘more for more’ principle, which is so vocally advocated by the EU in its relations with the Eastern Partnership countries”, the letter reads, arguing that postponing the second phase of the APVL risks also delaying the implementation of such such complex and costly measures as combating human trafficking and reforming the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Visa-free Europe (Coalition Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers) was launched in 2010 on the initiative of the Stefan Batory Foundation. Today more than 40 non-governmental organizations from different parts of Europe are its members. The coalition takes joint actions to speed up the process of EU visa liberalization with the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and Russia.