The EU is offering Moldovans with biometric passports visa-free travel in the Schengen area.
The European Commission said it was to reward Moldova’s “efforts to implement key reforms.”
The announcement comes hours before the start of the summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius where EU leaders had been expecting to sign a trade agreement with Ukraine before the government did a U-turn.
The commission encouraged other Eastern partners who wanted visa-free travel to follow Moldova’s example.
The proposal will still have to be discussed by the European Parliament and Council.