Moldova’s new government to cancel visa requirement for Romanians

CHISINAU, Moldova

Moldova’s new ruling coalition will make cancellation of visa requirements for Romanian citizens a top order of business, a senior official said Monday. The four-party majority controlling Moldova’s parliament considers visa-free travel for Romanian nationals a “top priority,” said Markian Lupu, chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM).

National elections July 29 gave the DPM and three larger pro- Europe parties a 53-seat majority in Moldova’s 101-member legislature. 

Moldova’s former ruling coalition, the Communist Party, controversially made visas mandatory for Romanians visiting Moldova in the wake of April anti-government riots in the capital Chisinau.

Romanian agents working with anti-Communist activists instigated the street violence and fires burning the Parliament and Presidential Residence buildings, Communist officials alleged at the time.

“There were never any grounds to this claim (of Romanian agents sparking street riots in Moldova), no basis at all” Serafim Urekian, leader of Our Moldova, a second member party in the new majority.

“Cancellation of the visa requirement for Romanian citizens will be an excellent signal from Moldova to the European Union,” Lupu added, according to an Interfax news agency report.

Moldova until the beginning of the World War II was a province of Romania.

Some Romanian nationalists have called for Moldova to return to Romanian control. Though Romania’s government rejected the idea, Moldova’s former Communist government repeatedly cited a possible Romanian threat to Moldovan independence as grounds for closer relations with Russia.

Leaders of Moldova’s new ruling coalition, registered formally in parliament on Saturday as the “Alliance for European Integration,” in recent campaigning repeatedly argued Communist policies of keeping Moldova distant from Europe needed reversing.

Romania, because of its proximity to and common language with Moldova, is seen by many most Moldovans as the only nation aside from Russia likely to invest substantially in the former Soviet republic, rated Europe’s poorest nation.

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