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EUROPEAN MOLDOVA // PM says the entire EU learned about Moldova now not only as about a country where money was laundered and was checked by oligarchs, but also as about one with worthy, industrious people, with European values

21:33 | 09.05.2024 Category: Interview, Event

*Moldova submitted the application on accession to the European Union on 3 March 2022  

* Moldova got the status of country candidate for accession to the European Union on 23 June 2022

*The European Council on 14 December 2023 ruled to open the negotiations on accession to the European Union with Moldova

*Moldova is in full process of assessment of the degree of compliance of the national legislation with the European Union’s one, a first stage for the state’s accession to EU

*The authorities aim for Moldova to join the EU by 2030

Interview given with MOLDPRES State News Agency by Prime Minister Dorin Recean  

MOLDPRES: Mr. Prime Minister Dorin Recean, we make this interview on 9 May, an important day in the calendar of the European area. Which is your message for the citizens of Moldova on this day? 

Dorin Recean: The Europe Day is a holiday of unity and of peace. This is a unique project, created after the lessons learned following the tragedy of the World War II, in order to guarantee the peace on the European continent. A moment in which the European leaders understood that they would be able to edify welfare and security only together, only through cooperation. Moldova chose the peace; namely therefore, we chose the accession to the European Union.     

We have the obligation to edify Moldova at home and we have a real chance to become members of the European family. The European Moldova means that our parents and children should live in peace, means high living standards, roads, hospitals, schools, means everything which we see and admire in the European cities. We should work together on the European way, which brings benefits to each Moldovan.    

MOLDPRES: The European Union has celebrated, during the 74 years since its foundation, as you said, the unity and peace in Europe. Moldova also felt the unity, being even non-member of EU, including recently, when the European states helped the Moldovan citizens to pay their higher invoices, which exploded because of the energy crisis triggered by the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine. Why the European Union helps Moldova?

Dorin Recean: The European Union was set up namely according to the principle of solidarity between countries; their economic development and the guarantee of peace was possible only in this way – on confidence and unity.

The European Union continuously helps Moldova – over 65 per cent of the Moldovan products go to the European market; more than a half of the compensations in invoice was covered with European money; 75 million euros was allocated in 2023 alone for the modernization of 10 hospitals from Moldova, one billion euros is allocated for the construction of roads; we now have possibility to speak by phone in the European countries for tariffs like at home; huge assistance for the agricultural development and development of businesses; 36.5 million euros for 18  settlements where schools were renovated and the network of water and sewerage was created. These are just mere examples which show the huge help and the clear benefits of our rapprochement with the European Union.   

We have an ever stronger relation with Romania, which has been with us always  and in the most difficult times. Six functional bridges connect us with Romania, one recently constructed pontoon bridge Leova-Bumbata and another two recently repaired ones. Moldova exports products worth over 1.4 billion dollars to Romania, over 35 per cent of all exports. Romania is our principal investor and commercial partner. We build connections with Romania in the energy and gas sector.       

The Russian aggression in Ukraine quite clearly showed who our friends are and who are not. We have an unprecedented openness in the West. President Maia Sandu opened the doors of the most important chancelleries of the world. We have the obligation to fully benefit from this openness for the good of our people.  The entire European Union knows about Moldova not only as about a country where money was laundered and which was checked by oligarchs, but also about a country with worthy and industrious people, with European values, who chose the way to the family of the free countries.   

MOLDPRES: It is true that Moldova presently enjoys an unprecedented openness in the West; but what we do in Moldova, in order to speed up our European integration? 

Dorin Recean: In our rapprochement with EU, the government edifies the European Moldova at home – we talk about important actions, expected by the people for tens of years. During several years alone, we constructed or renovated 700 km of national, regional and roads and 57 bridges, 800 km of aqueduct networks and 12 water-purifying stations; we repaired or built again about 330 schools, kindergartens, community centres, sports fields or playgrounds; we constructed almost 700 km of street illumination network; we invested over 2 billion lei in the modernization of hospitals; we invest about 500 million lei in universities and colleges; the minimum pension increased by more than 120 per cent in the last two years and the average pension – by 50 per cent; we introduced, for the first time ever, the monthly allocation of 1,000 lei for each child up to 2 years of age.  

Certainly, more is needed, namely because we understand how important is for us to improve the living standards and the quality of services for the Moldovans from all districts; we edify the European Moldova quickly and with the involvement of all institutions.   

MOLDPRES: The peace in Europe is presently put to test and one of the dangers defined by the national security Strategy represents the Russian Federation. Mr. Dorin Recean, what actions the authorities are undertaking, in order to ensure Moldova’s security, taking into account that Russia militarily attacked Ukraine at a wide scale, a state stronger than ours, the bombardments continue every day and it got to occupy an important part of its territory? 

Dorin Recean: Our institutions protected the order in Moldova – we have patriots in all institutions, who are able to serve their country and we will continue to do our utmost, so that there is peace at home. It is important that our citizens know that Russia cannot reach Moldova militarily, as long as the heroism and courage of the Ukrainians face the brutal invasion. Nevertheless, the provocations will continue and all our society, along with the state institutions, has the obligation to preserve our democracy, national cohesion and the right to decide our fate.      

We included also the Transnistrian region in this effort to keep peace at Dniester. For years, the security and defence sector has been ignored. Now, we invest more in the army, although in continuation, we are on the last place out of all countries of Europe in terms of the budget allocated. 

You have mentioned about the Security Strategy, which is a fundamental document and in which, for the first time ever, we call the things by their names, in such a document – Russia and corruption are the main threats to the national security. The hostile actions of Russia, the politicians loyal to the Kremlin, the oligarchs and representatives of the criminal world constantly weakened Moldova. Thus, we were kept captive, far from the free and developed world.    

I want to make it clear – Moldova wants to have good relations with all countries. Yet, Moldova cannot agree with those who want evil to us, who do not respect our choice and the people. The decisions which we take in the country’s development are for Moldova, in the interest of the Moldovans. Being EU member is in Moldova’s interest, living in peace and improving our living standards is in the interest of each citizen of Moldova.      

MOLDPRES: The war in Ukraine influenced also the Chisinau-Tiraspol relation. For the first time, the constitutional relations, helped by the Ukrainians, control the entire border and some people speak about the appearance of premises for Moldova’s reintegration. Which is the authorities’ plan as regards the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict?

Dorin Recean: The most important thing – we have managed to keep peace on both banks of Dniester. The Transnistrian region is a part of Moldova and we will support the people living on the left bank of Dniester. They benefit from all facilities provided by our state and enjoy them. I would mention the free movement to the EU states, health insurances; the companies from the region can export their goods to the European Union countries. The companies from Tiraspol and from the left bank of Dniester sell 80 per cent of the exports in EU and Romania is the principal commercial partner of the region. These are real benefits enjoyed by our citizens on the left bank.      

It is quite clear that the 5+2 format of negotiations is no longer possible in the new realities and since the beginning of the Russian aggression from Ukraine, we switched to the format of discussions directly with Tiraspol and for which Deputy PM for Reintegration Oleg Serebrian is in charge. One of the most pressing problems on the way of solving this conflict is the presence of the Russian troops in the region. We speak out for their immediate withdrawal and we will continue demanding that Moscow observes the commitments taken. The only way of settling the Transnistrian conflict is the peaceful means – only this is in the interest of the Moldovans on both banks of Dniester.     

MOLDPRES: Not only the Moldovan authorities, but also the West speaks about the hybrid war waged by Russia against Moldova. What is the role of the Gagauz leaders in the destabilization of the situation in Moldova and how prepared the governance is to counteract the eventual threats?    

Dorin Recean: Unfortunately, there are voices in Moldova willing to cancel the reality, as if there is no Russian aggression in Ukraine, as if the atrocities we everybody saw in Irpin, Bucha would not have existed, as if the bombardments taking place nearby us, in Odessa, would not exist. These voices serve the Russian Federation, by no means the interest of Moldova. And it is important that we make a specification – these voices are not political parties, but part of an organized crime ring, which relies on Russia to destabilize Moldova and stop us on our way.  

These voices do not represent the Gagauz or Moldovans; they represent only Russia. We speak with people, with entrepreneurs, with mayors, with representatives of the public administrations from the districts of Comrat, Ceadar-Lunga and Vulcanesti, in order to carry out together concrete projects for the benefit of the residents from the region. The state’s institutions will sanction the attempts of destabilization and the infringement of the law and we expect also the prosecutors and judges to make sure that nobody is above the law and all those who act against Moldova are stopped and punished.    

MOLDPRES: Moldova in June 2022 got the status of country candidate for accession to EU and the process of assessment of the compatibility of the national legislation with the EU one is supposed to end in late May, this year. Which are the most problematic fields and where we have to work most of all, in order to raise to the European Union’s standards?    

Dorin Recean: The reforms which we carry out, the laws which we work out, everything which deals with the EU’s acquis is not for Brussels, but for us. These changes will bring improvements in the living standards, in the public services, in the medical and educational systems, in all sectors. The experience of other countries shows that the biggest leap of development was made namely on this period of negotiations, during which we will have more opportunities.  

It is not a secret that the most important and difficult reform which we carry out is the one of the justice. How quickly we will get closer to EU, as well as how able we will be to guarantee the supremacy of law and the combating of corruption at all levels depend on the cleaning of the justice, on the existence of a rule of law state.

We face resistance, but we will not give up and will go up to the end. All people whom I meet when I go to districts demand justice and I personally will ask, in continuation, the honest magistrates to make a step forward and have the courage to get rid of corruption from the justice system. The government cannot do justice instead of them – this is the responsibility of the prosecutors and judges.  

MOLDPRES: Mr. Prime Minister, Moldova’s citizens are invited to participate, in next autumn, in a republican referendum, during which they will have to answer the question: ‘’Are you for Moldova’s accession to the European Union?’’ Why is it important that the citizens participate in this plebiscite and please, explain us what will be the consequences of a positive answer to this question?  

Dorin Recean: I call on all citizens to take part in the referendum. We should not allow the others to decide our future, but to decide our destiny by ourselves. Once the European vector introduced in the Constitution, all political establishment, the parliament, state’s institutions will be obliged to observe it. It is the sovereign decision of the people where do we go and it is our possibility to show to the entire world that we are Europeans.   

I urge everybody, parties, the civil society, the citizens from Moldova and from the Diaspora to promote and back the accession to EU and the participation in the referendum.  This decision is more important than the polemic between the parties; it is about our county. The result of the referendum is for the future of Moldova. We can have different opinions on what we have to in one or another sector. This is a natural thing in a democracy. But the crucial decisions need unity and responsible political leaders.   

I go to villages, cities, to markets, in order to promote the European Moldova and the referendum. I will continue to do this and I urge as many people as possible to join this effort of informing.  

Mr. Prime Minister Dorin Recean, thank you for the interview!

Interview made by Vitalie HADEI








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