Alocuţiunea dlui Iurie Leancă la Reuniunea Miniştrilor Afacerilor Externe ai statelor-membre ale Iniţiativei Central-Europene.
Bucharest, November 13, 2009

Address by Iurie LEANCA, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova

Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Bucharest, November 13, 2009

Dear Minister, Esteemed Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply honored to be here today, together with my colleagues from the Central European Initiative area, and to address this distinguished audience. I would like also to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to the host of today’s meeting and to the whole team of the Romanian Presidency of the CEI for its dynamic and prodigious work during this year, as well as for the warm hospitality and excellent organization of this event.

Dear colleagues, We have gathered here today for a jubilee meeting of the Central European Initiative, a special occasion that offers us the opportunity to make a retrospective of our past activities. The Initiative was established 20 years ago, in the year when the Berlin Wall had fallen down and the movement of national revival was growing across the region, including my country.

Eight years later, the Republic of Moldova became a full fledged CEI member. This step was of special significance for us, having in mind that the Central European Initiative was one of the first European structures of regional cooperation that we have joined, being viewed as an entrance room to the European Union. I would like to mention that this perception was well motivated, because during the following years most of the CEI members had become members of the European Union. Today, nine members of the CEI are part of the EU, six countries are candidates for joining the EU, and other three, among them the Republic of Moldova, cooperate with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. The Republic of Moldova was aware and fully embraced the idea of the special role played by regional cooperation in the development of the countries, viewed as an effective mechanism to achieve the European Integration goal and to fulfill the objectives established within the CEI priority areas of cooperation.

Nevertheless, the reality turned to be much more complex and multifaceted than the initial perception. Regardless of my country’s efforts to play an active role within the CEI activities, and the fact that just a year ago we have hold the Presidency of this Initiative, the economic and political situation in my country has considerably deteriorated during the past eight years. The previous government has adopted a declarative approach, in fact just imitating the encouragement of active relations with the EU and intense regional cooperation, including in the CEI region. Moreover, that administration has brought the country close to a financial and economic breakdown, establishing an authoritarian regime that was flagrantly violating the human rights, also deteriorating to a great extend the relations with the neighboring countries, members of the CEI.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During this year, the Moldovan society was subjected to a test of democracy, going through parliamentary elections of April 5th and the dramatic events that followed on April 7th. After the repeated elections of July 29, 2009, a new democratic parliamentary majority called Alliance for European Integration created a new Government. In the programme of the new Moldovan Government, the European Integration is considered to be the main priority for the external and domestic policies of the Republic of Moldova. Today, the RM-EU dialogue is focused on the beginning of the negotiations on the new RM-EU agreement, the establishment of a comprehensive free trade area and the initiation of the visa liberalization dialogue. Regional cooperation is also listed in the Government’s new Program as a priority for the current administration, and will have as an objective the promotion of the European agenda of the Republic of Moldova.

As concerning our bilateral relations with the neighboring countries, we have already begun to fulfill the commitments stipulated in the Program of Actions. During the first days in office of the new administration, the entry visas for the Romanian citizens, euro citizens, were abolished, and just one day later, here in Bucharest, the Small Border Traffic Agreement and some other documents will be signed. On the other hand, we have recently welcomed in Chisinau a Ukrainian delegation, and have discussed the ways to revive the bilateral political dialogue and to find solutions to the problems that appeared because of the lack of such a dialogue in the past. These actions will not only improve the bilateral relations with our two neighbors, but I am sure will also strengthen our multilateral cooperation within the CEI. I can assure you that we will undertake all the necessary efforts in this sense, and we will be grateful to the CEI member states for any assistance offered in order to support us in this endeavor. Particularly, it is relevant when it comes to the financial assistance to my country, the launching in the near future of the negotiations on the establishment of the free trade area in the framework of the new Agreement, the initiation of the visa liberalization dialogue and facilitation of the Transnistrian conflict settlement process.

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of my country, I want to express my sincere hope that the Central European Initiative will continue to act as an efficient tool in the political and economic relations among the member states, as well as will serve as a bridge that links the EU and the countries that aspire to be part of the great European family. We pledge for the continuous support of the CEI countries that are not members of the European Union in achieving their European aspirations.

The Republic of Moldova strongly supports the idea of further strengthening of the relations between the European Union and Central European Initiative. This will substantially and effectively contribute to the development of the relations between the CEI member countries, as well as will mobilize the countries outside the EU in implementing the necessary internal reforms in compliance with the European principles and standards.

Therefore, I would like to refer to some areas of cooperation that I believe are of great interest for the whole region, such us energy, transport and infrastructure, the environment, health and tourism. An efficient cooperation in these specific areas will lay down the grounds for a strong regional economy. On the other hand, it will be a necessary contribution, yet not entirely sufficient one in order to deal with the effects of the economic crises that have affected all of us. I am convinced that this issue has to be tackled particularly within the CEI.

The Republic of Moldova supports the proposals included in the Final Document. This paper is a well defined and comprehensive report of the activities and important achievements, adding together the joint efforts carried out during the years of activity. Due to the shared cooperation, the existing cohesion and common desires, the proposed goals and achieved objectives, today we can be proud of our accomplishments. The cooperation between the CEI and the EU is constantly growing; we have also a more enhanced collaboration with other regional and international organizations, thus increasing the effectiveness of the Central European Initiative itself.

Dear colleagues,

I would like to reiterate the appreciation of the Republic of Moldova for the Romanian Chairmanship in Office of the CEI, which has been characterized by successful activities and dynamic work on all levels of political and sectorial cooperation. Necessary efforts were taken in order to implement the goals and basic principles of the CEI while the continuity of the processes and activities that have been started in the past years was preserved.

At the same time, we are confident that the Montenegro Presidency will maintain the same dynamics of activities and I would like to wish success to our colleagues in carrying out this important mandate and to assure them of our full support.

Finally, allow me to express my highest appreciations to the Ambassador AGO, Secretary General of CEI for the strong leadership and commitment that he has shown during his mandate, and to wish much success to the new Secretary General of the Executive Secretariat, Ambassador PFANZELTER.

Thank you for the attention.