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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Nicolae Timofti, President of Moldova
Brussels, 27 April 2012
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome President Nicolae Timofti of Moldova to the European Commission today.
I congratulated President Timofti for his recent election and commended his strong commitment to Moldova's 'European Course.' The fact that the President is visiting Brussels on his first trip abroad since he was elected is a clear demonstration of his commitment and the commitment of Moldova for a closer relationship with the European Union.
We just had a frank and very productive meeting in a very constructive atmosphere. Moldova is an active member of our Eastern Partnership and the European Union is fully engaged in supporting Moldova's reform process. President Timofti's election was an important and decisive step in consolidating political stability in the country which will certainly allow the country to concentrate on the needed political and economic reforms. This is essential to foster progress and stability in Moldova and to bring our ties closer.
Indeed, we are working closely together. We are negotiating an Association Agreement and we have recently opened talks on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which is a key element of that Association Agreement. This was a very important step forward in EU-Moldova trade relations.
The EU is already Moldova's first trading partner and the DCFTA process offers Moldova a great opportunity to reform its trade and investment policies and to further its economic modernization and the wellbeing of Moldovan citizens.
But as we have also discussed with the President,, our agreements are not all about economy and trade. They are also about the European values that we share. Democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law are at the core of our Association Agreements that we are negotiating and they are the solid foundations of our present and future relations.
In addition to trade, we had the opportunity to discuss the latest developments regarding our visa dialogue. Moldova is approaching the finalisation of the first phase of its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan with the EU, and I encourage the Moldovan authorities to address the remaining issues to allow us to move on to the second phase of the action plan. We discussed this in concrete terms.
I also expressed satisfaction at the recent initialling of the upgraded visa facilitation agreement on 22 March. We look forward to a swift signature and ratification of this agreement, which will further ease the visa application process for the citizens of Moldova.
Finally, we also touched upon regional issues, particularly the '5+2' negotiations regarding Transnistria. In this respect, I paid tribute to Moldova's constructive approach in these negotiations and reaffirmed our commitment to the process.
We, at the European Union, understand well the many challenges that Moldova faces. But we are ready to stand side by side with the Moldovan authorities and the Moldovan people in their journey to progress and prosperity. Indeed, we support Moldova in practical ways through our assistance, which has been substantially stepped up so as to exceed €100 million next year.
So, my message today to the President was very clear: Moldova is among friends here and we support the country's reformist agenda. From the part of the European Commission you can count on a steadfast partner. I believe this is in the interest of Moldova's future and our relations with your country. I am sure that our ties will grow stronger in the months and years to come. I really appreciated our meeting and I wish you, Mr President, and I wish the Moldovan people all the best for your future.
I thank you for your attention.