Events this week
On the initiative of Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have signed a letter in support of the Republic of Moldova’s European path. The document is addressed to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, to Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom and European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht. This letter represents a materialization of support messages conveyed during the fifth meeting of the Group for the European Action of the Republic of Moldova. In the letter, the eight signatory member states welcome the EU decision to start negotiations with the Republic of Moldova on establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and express their support for actually launching the talks as soon as possible, as well as for advancing the dialogue on liberalizing the EU – R. of Moldova visa regime, in agreement with the Joint Declaration of the 2nd Summit of the Eastern Partnership (Warsaw 29-30 September 2011).
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Natalia Gherman, participated today, on December 6 in the fourth and final meeting of the tripartite program - RM / Council of Europe / European Union - on support of democracy in our country. This program aims to apply European standards in a number of activities, consisting of seven basic components: Legislative assessment of the legal framework (as well as draft laws and decisions); Ensuring accountability for human rights violation; Safeguarding pre-trial guarantees; Support to the Ombudsman institution; Support to the development of pluralist media; Support to the administrative and policy procedures of the Parliament of Moldova; and Support to the establishment of facts and reconciliation efforts. In her speech, Natalia Gherman expressed gratitude to European partners for this support and initiative to help Moldova in the modernization and implementation of democratic reforms. "Although we are at the end of the implementation of this Program, the primary objective of the Republic of Moldova in relation to the Council of Europe, and namely the end of monitoring of the Republic of Moldova, and the transition to post-monitoring stage remains even more crucial," the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs stated. The Joint Program of the Council of Europe and the European Union on support of democracy in the Republic of Moldova was conducted within 2010-2011.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Iurie Leanca signed the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in European integration with his Cypriot counterpart, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. Under the document, Cyprus provides multilateral support to Moldova as regards its efforts in the process of European integration. The event took place during the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, within October 3-5, 2011. Given the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012, the Minister Leanca requested from Cypriot authorities to further support our country in our efforts on European integration. Iurie Leanca and Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis have also agreed to organize inter-ministerial political consultations. During the visit, the head of the Moldovan diplomacy met with the President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias. The sides discussed various issues and informed each other about the process of Transnistrian dispute settlement and, respectively, about the reunification of Cyprus. Moldovan-Cypriot cooperation prospects were identified during meetings of the Minister Iurie Leanca with the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou, and with the Minister of Finances, Kikis Kazamias. In this respect, promotion of Cypriot investments in Moldova was encouraged, including by organizing a Forum of businesspeople.
The declaration says that Moldova has significantly advanced in the negotiations on the liberalization of the visa regime. The EU considers that our country and Ukraine can serve as examples for other states in this respect. According to the document, Moldova may also initiate negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU within 3 months. The EU welcomed Moldova’s efforts, as well as the efforts made by other Eastern Partnership countries on the European integration path and reiterated its willingness to further provide macro-financial assistance to our country. Moldova is also encouraged to continue its reform path in order to get closer to the EU.
The minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Iurie Leanca, met today September 2, 2011, with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, during an official visit to the Republic of Moldova in the period September 1-3, at the invitation of the head of the Moldovan diplomacy. It is the first visit of this kind paid to our country by an Israeli Foreign Minister within the last two decades. The two Deputy Prime Ministers have discussed various issues related to bilateral relations and reviewed the prospects for diversifying the cooperation between the two countries. Participating in the joint press conference, the Minister Leanca highly appreciated Israel’s willingness to support Moldova in promoting democratic values, economic development and the alignment to European standards. “We appreciate the desire of Israel and of Mr. Lieberman personally to assist the implementation of a number of trilateral projects in Moldova, with the participation of Israel and Romania, among which the establishment and equipment of an agricultural products certification laboratory according to the European standards, donation of medicines, most against oncology diseases, in the amount of 350 thousand US dollars which will soon reach Moldova, as well as funds for training Moldovan experts in Israel in the fields of primary importance for the Republic of Moldova.” Iurie Leanca also stressed the importance of waiving fees on Israeli visas for Moldovan citizens, emphasizing that “this achievement is just an intermediate step, while the final goal is the creation of a visa-free regime between the Republic of Moldova and Israel”. The head of the Israeli diplomacy, who was born in the Republic of Moldova, reiterated that the relations between the two states are in a new dimension, much more dynamic and mutually advantageous. From the very beginning Avigdor Lieberman specified that he returns to Moldova with a special emotions and that he always feels at home here, and this fact motivates him to support our country in its aspirations. “Our cooperation is diverse and includes a wide range of areas. We discuss the political dimension, investment projects and we cooperate at the international level within various organizations. This positive trend recorded last year has led to important project being initiated. I am talking about consular facilities, the trilateral project in agriculture, etc.” The Ministers have also addressed recent evolutions in the region and the ones of the Peace Process in the Middle East. They have also discussed the opportunity of granting labor quotas to Moldovan citizens. This subject will be addressed in detail at the meeting of the Moldovan-Israeli inter-governmental commission. The last meeting of this commission was held in 2007, and the next one might be held in late 2011 or early 2012. During his visit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman also had a meeting with the acting President, Marian Lupu and the Prime Minister, Vlad Filat.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Iurie Leanca, was invited by his counterpart Teodor Baconschi to participate as a Special Guest in the Annual Meeting of the Romanian Ambassadors on September 1, 2011. In his speech, the Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister summarized the two decades of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, emphasizing the significance of bilateral relations in promoting our country’s European course. Iurie Leanca received assurances that Romania is going to further provide the Republic of Moldova full support in getting closer to the European family. The Moldovan minister had a meeting with the head of the Romanian diplomacy Teodor Baconschi, where the two officials reviewed the issues from the bilateral agenda, the progress in the implementation of energy interconnection projects, the organization of the joint meeting of the two Governments this autumn. Also, the Deputy Prime Minister, Iurie Leanca, accepted the invitation of his Romanian counterpart to participate in the Ministerial Meeting on the Danube Strategy which will be held in November in Bucharest. The visit of the Deputy Prime Minister Iurie Leanca fits naturally into the context of the ongoing dialogue and advanced bilateral relations between Chisinau and Bucharest in various fields.
Dear Ministers, Colleagues,
Dear Secretary General,
First of all, I would like to express my appreciation for your participation to this Meeting of the SEECP Ministers of Foreign Affairs, on the margins of the 12th SEECP Summit of the Heads of State and Government, which I have the great honour to chair.
During the last year, the Republic of Moldova had exercised the mandate of the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office, one of a high opportunity, responsibility and diplomatic challenge for my country.
This mandate was a very demanding one, considering the priorities and objectives related to the developments in the region, the Chairmanship Agenda, the requirements on implementation of the previous Summits political decisions, the launching of the RCC activities and establishment of the RCC Secretariat, as well as the need to preserve and consolidate the RCC as a viable instrument for regional cooperation development.
This year was very difficult in terms of the challenges posed by the global financial crisis and energy crisis, which significantly marked the continuous development process of the South East European region, state by state, but also as a whole.
Acknowledging the tremendous role and added value of the regional cooperation process in South East Europe, which contributes to the development of our countries and provides suitable conditions for edifying a region of stability, security and prosperity, time requires now an ever closer cooperation and dedicated efforts for facing new realities and existing challenges. A crucial need for proving unity, added urgency, self-responsibility and solidarity among our countries in South East Europe is required.
Furthermore, considering the possible adverse effects of the financial crisis on the valuable emerging economies of the region, viable solutions for overcoming the critical situation and support to the economy of the South East Europe is crucial for the social and political stability of the region. In this regard, the support of the European Union and its relevant institutions, as well as of the international financial institutions, are essential in the anti-crisis processes, which will even more accelerate the internal reforms related to the EU integration process.
The South East Europe is a unique European region, gifted with high potential and natural resources, which provides a solid basis for sustainable development and prosperity of the region. Moreover, during the last years our region has developed and re-profiled its new architecture into a regionally-owned cooperation framework and network, as well as positioned itself on a qualitatively advanced level of visibility both on the European and international dimensions.
With the successful launch of the activities of the Regional Cooperation Council, the South East European cooperation process was marked by a completely new approach in promoting regional cooperation on both political and sectoral levels.
As a new advanced regional cooperation instrument under the SEECP umbrella and a key interlocutor with EU, the RCC undertook and enhanced its role of a mechanism for the countries of the region, facilitating thus the accomplishment process of the ambitious objectives and priorities on the national level, bringing the countries more closer on the EU integration path.
In light of the existing cooperation framework in South East European region, it is extremely important that regional cooperation and implementation of the regional ownership and leadership principles to be strongly supported by the European Union and international institutions, as well as to remain a high priority of the SEECP countries for a continuous development of the region.
The SEECP – RCC cooperation should be developed and strengthened in order to ensure the coordination and streamlining of the activities in the priority domains of common interest. We very much support the RCC involvement into the cooperation development in the sector areas in the framework of the defined five priority areas. More than that, RCC should have a leading role in these processes, by coordinating regional initiatives and being included in all the processes, under the political guidance and umbrella of the SEECP.
In this context, the Republic of Moldova is firmly engaged in contributing to further strengthening of the SEECP as the “united voice” and actor in and for the region and its people as a whole.
The European integration perspective of the South East Europe is one of the most important objectives of our countries and remains the main driving force for the advancement of the internal reforms and achievement of common objectives.
During the last year, important progresses were attained by a number of the SEECP countries in the European and Euro-Atlantic advancement and I am pleased to congratulate them with this occasion.
Republic of Moldova is a European State and for more than 7 years we are working to get closer to the EU by means of reforms and regional integration within South East Europe. Since 2005, Moldova is part of the ENP and we progressed considerably in our relations with the EU. Today we are looking forward to mark a new level of institutional relations with the EU that would bring us even closer through gradual political, economical and sectoral integration.
Our priorities on the political EU-Moldova agenda are clear and this are: (1) to use all available instruments aiming at gradual European integration; (2) thus to conclude a new Association Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU; (3) to diminish existing barriers and to encourage people-to-people contacts between us.
During the SEECP mandate, my country was proud to chair this important South East European political forum, to represent the region in relations with EU and international partners, to contribute to the development of the RCC activities, all of this bringing an added value to the increase of our visibility, national capacities and authority.
Furthermore, in exercising its mandate, the Republic of Moldova was guided by a series of priority objectives dedicated to the strengthening and promoting SEECP on the international level, in its capacity of the “united voice” of the region and as a reliable partner in accomplishing the objectives of the international community, enhancing the SEECP-EU dialogue and consolidation of the European perspectives of the South East European states, as well as intensification of the collaboration with the Regional Cooperation Council and regional processes, initiatives and structures, in order to strengthen the cooperation in the priority domains of the South Eastern Europe.
Bearing in mind the main objective of the SEECP – advancement of the participating states towards the adherence to the EU, during 2008-2009, the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office organized a range of political and sectoral meetings and activities, which were expressed in the adoption by the SEECP Ministers of Interior of the Common Declaration regarding the strengthening of cooperation in combating cyber-crime, signing by the SEECP Ministers of Justice of a Memorandum on legal and judicial guarantees against unlawful processing of personal data, adoption of a Common Declaration by the SEECP Ministers of Health and a Joint Declaration of the Presidents of the SEECP Supreme Audit Institutions, the SEECP Chairmanship Conclusions on the International Conference on “Regional Cooperation – opportunities, challenges and synergy”, Conclusions on the first SEECP Meeting of the Heads of Consular Affairs, provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, as well as the draft document on the “Mechanism of the exchange of information among Competition Authorities of the SEECP”. More concrete details, You may find in the folders which includes the Report of the SEECP Chairmanship-in-office of the Republic of Moldova.
Taking into account the persity of priority domains of cooperation in South East Europe, as well as the necessity to preserve the spirit of the SEECP cooperation framework and atmosphere, we would like to invite the incoming SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office of the Republic of Turkey to ensure the continuity of the initiatives and processes launched within the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office of the Republic of Moldova, contributing thus to the strengthening of cooperation among the SEECP participating states and to the SEECP-EU and SEECP-RCC dialogues and interaction for the benefit of the SEE region and its people.
Bearing in mind the significance of the regional cooperation in South East Europe, as well as the necessity to once reiterate our political will and commitment for edifying a stable, secure and prosperous South East Europe, our meeting offers us an excellent opportunity to express our full dedication to the development of the region by approving today a series of important political documents of the 12th SEECP Summit.
By concluding I would like to mention that by assuming the regional ownership, the SEECP became more mature and serious. We have to exercise our capacities and possibilities for further development and advancement as a reliable partner at all the levels, as well as in cooperation with European and International partners. The region is growing economically and politically. We need unity and close cooperation with European Union. The regional cooperation in SEE should remain an important priority high on the EU and EU Presidencies agenda.
Thank you very much.