European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy
Moldova Donors Forum
Consultative Group meeting on Moldova
Brussels, 24 March 2010
Mr Prime Minister, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am glad to join you for the final session of this day of intensive work.
This meeting has enabled us to have a better understanding of the challenges, of the constraints, and of the strategy the Government intends to put in place in order to tackle them.
We got a number of messages from our Moldovan interlocutors:
First message is “we have a clear target” : European integration, an export oriented economy, reform of the public administration; these are clear key objectives
The second message is that despite the impact of the global economic crisis, Moldova has managed to establish a strong track record for implementing reforms
The third message is that Moldova will succeed faster with the support of external assistance, both from development partners and from the private sector.
These messages match our expectations: Moldova is providing evidence that it wants to be a reliable partner which has put in place a coherent and sound strategy, with a clear cut political economic and social approach.
I understand that there is a broad consensus in sharing Moldova's analysis and proposals. We also understand that not all the facets of this complex strategy are fully developed at this stage, but this in no way hampers our positive assessment and leaves room for further discussions and inputs.
Another impression I draw from today’s exercise is that the presence of so many high level participants in this room is an achievement in itself. The conclusion is clear: there is trust in Moldova and in the future of the country. The recent agreement with the IMF is designed to ensure macro financial stability in the years to come and is a fundamental contribution to restore investors’ confidence.
“Rethink Moldova” is a comprehensive and credible roadmap for reforms and modernization. This should generate optimism and stimulate a further deepening of the reforms. However, the key test will always be the effective implementation of reforms bringing Moldova closer to the EU.
Let me conclude by addressing an issue which has been referred to on several occasions in the course of the day: the European path of Moldova.
Through the Eastern Partnership, the EU is providing tangible ways in which its partners countries can draw closer to the EU. I know that Moldova is firmly committed to take advantage of them and to make the necessary efforts for this demanding exercise.
Political Association and Economic Integration with the EU will help bring Moldova significantly closer to the EU. Negotiations of the Association agreement are well underway and should be concluded within a reasonable time frame. But we should strive for more. When your country is ready, we can start negotiations on creating a deep and comprehensive free trade area as part of this association.
I am aware that freer travel to Europe is very important to Moldovan citizens. We have made good progress in this area too: the Joint Visa Application Center, the visa facilitation and readmission agreements, the mobility partnership are now operating at full speed. The EU has already agreed to further simplify travel conditions. Moreover, I hope that we will soon be able to enter into an EU-Moldova dialogue on visa liberalisation.
Moldova is making encouraging progress in the area of human rights and democratic values. These values lie at the heart of our relationship. Speaking on the basis of personal experience, I know that a society which cherishes these values is one which can also best ensure that its people are fully able to exploit their true potential whether in the political, social or cultural spheres or through business and investment. This is why, as a close and consistent friend to Moldova, I will continue to press for progress in this area, in particular through our newly established EU-Moldova dialogue on human rights.
Mr Prime Minister
We are fully aware of the difficulty of the task you are confronted with. This is why the EU, together with a number of other partners, is putting in place a real and substantial assistance package. We want to continue to work with you hand in hand in this challenging task in the best interest of Moldova, and of Europe as a whole.
Allow me to conclude by congratulating you and your team for the excellent way you prepared yourselves for this event and let me wish you all the success with the implementation of the "rethink Moldova" programme.