Joint press release after second meeting of EU-Moldova Association Council

Chisinau, 15 March /MOLDPRES/- Moldova and the European Union had the second meeting of the Association Council on 14 March, according to the Association Agreement. Moldova and EU reconfirmed a joint decision to implement the commitments to consolidate the political association and economic integration between Moldova and EU.

Recognizing provisional application of the Association Agreement since 1 September 2014, the Association Council pointed out full entrance into force of the agreement in the nearest future, taking into account that Moldova and all EU member states had ratified it. The Association Agreement is the legal basis by which Moldova continues reform agenda and economic modernization for next years. Moldova unveiled the second report on implementation of the EU-Moldova Association Agenda.

The Association Council recognizes the importance of solving the current difficulties from Moldova through a constructive dialogue between all political forces from the country, taking into account Moldovans’ expectations. The EU encouraged Moldova to continue the efforts of adopting laws and reconfirmed Moldova’s support in meeting the goals. The sides underlined the importance of dialogue and cooperation with civil society, especially, as regards the implementation of the Association Agreement and the need for the civil society from Moldova to participate in elaborating public policies and decision making. Moreover, the Association Council stressed the importance of ensuring and boosting approach meant to fully involve the entire society.

To restore confidence in Moldova, concrete results are necessary in implementing reforms. The Association Council recognizes the efforts taken by Moldova in preparation of a clear plan of priority reforms in key sectors, included in the roadmap sent to the EU and made public by the Moldovan government. The roadmap sets deadlines for concrete actions to be carried out before July in such fields as: cooperation with civil society during this month, approval and implementation of the laws on justice and prosecution, as well as boosting implementation of deep and comprehensive free trade zone in March-April, adoption of strategy on public administration reform before April, improvement of business and investment climate, addressing deficiencies in financial-banking system and re-launching cooperation with IMF, adoption of laws on integrity.

The reforms should include detailed investigations on bank frauds, justice reform, as well as depoliticizing state institutions, fight against corruption and money laundering, stabilizing financial sector and improving business and investment climate, including in energy sector. The roadmap will be a useful instrument to promote and monitor implementation of reforms, for the benefit of Moldovan society in general.

The Association Council discussed the ways of surpassing political deadlock from Moldova, including through a constitutional reform and by implementing OSCE/ODIHR recommendations on electoral framework.

The EU reiterated its appeal to improve the national legislation for limiting concentration of ownership   in media institutions and guaranteeing pluralism as soon as possible. The EU also expressed concern about insufficient independence of judicial system and agencies of law enforcement, and asked Moldova to carry out reforms meant to efficiently ensure independence, efficiency, transparency and responsibility of judicial system and anti-corruption institutions. EU welcomed adoption of a law on reforming prosecution, being considered as a step ahead, and firmly encouraged its enforcement in good faith.    

Moldova re-affirmed that the justice reform remained to be one of the key-priorities of the country and presented a detailed description of measures, due to be taken in the coming months, as regards addressing current deficiencies and promoting deep and systemic reform in the sector.

The Association Council remarked the significant assistance provided to Moldova. The EU asked Moldova to use it in the most appropriate way in order to carry out the ambitious reforms for which it was committed to the agreement and Association Agenda, and reiterated willingness to continue support Moldova, including by technical assistance and implementation of projects, via assessment missions and high level advisors. The Association Council pointed out that a clear commitment to set a comprehensive programme on stabilization and structural reforms meant to respond to macroeconomic concerns would favor reaching a common ground on a new cooperation agreement with IMF.

The Association Council confirmed that the EU-Moldova cooperation in energy sector was a priority, thus recalling continuation of works for Ungheni-Chisinau pipeline, as well as adopting measures of related policies in order to diversify supply sources to increase energy security at national and regional level.

The Association Council welcomed Moldova’s accession to the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organisation and Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin. Moldova and EU also pointed out the appropriate level of cooperation in environment sector, as well as Moldova’s commitment to adjust the national legislation to the European one in this field. The Association Council also discussed the cooperation in economic, agriculture and transport sectors.

The Association Council asked boosting efforts meant to reach a comprehensive and peaceful solution to the Transnistrian conflict, on the basis of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, with a special status for Transnistria. It encouraged the involved sides to renew the constructive commitment as regards negotiations on the conflict settlement, as well as the resumption of talks in the five plus two format and boosting the dialogue.

The EU underlined that the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, provided modernization and development opportunities, and that the EU was willing to back its full implementation for the benefit of the entire population from Moldova and its international partners.

(Editor M. Jantovan)

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