The first steps towards the EU
Bilateral relations, Moldova's reform efforts and developments in the region were the focus of Chancellor Angela Merkel's talks in the Republic of Moldova. It was the first time a German Chancellor had visited Moldova since it became independent.
"I would like to really encourage you to carry on along the path you have taken, and move closer to the EU. Germany will support you along the way," said Angela Merkel after her talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Filat. The Eastern Partnership, which also embraces Moldova, was founded as, "we genuinely do see the European perspective".
The Chancellor did however, underscore the fact that the country must move gradually towards the EU, one step at a time. Initially the aim must be to enter into an Association and Free Trade Agreement, and to achieve improvements in the field of visas. One of the most important tasks facing the Moldovan government is to fight corruption, she pointed out.
The Moldovan Prime Minister reaffirmed that, "It is our goal to become a member of the European family". Vladimir Filat assured the Chancellor that his government will be pushing ahead with the reform process, and that the country and the people have unequivocally decided in favour of Europe.
At a summit meeting held in Prague in 2009, the European Union established a partnership with six eastern neighbours. The "Eastern Partnership" brings together the EU, Belarus, the Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The aim is to support reforms in these countries and thus help them move closer to the European Union. The Republic of Moldova can point to the country’s positive development, as a result of which it will continue to enjoy significant EU support in its efforts to modernise the country.
Germany and Moldova have maintained diplomatic relations for twenty years. The Chancellor’s visit to the capital city, Chisinau, was a mark of recognition of the positive way bilateral relations have developed. Her central concern was to further step up contacts at political, economic, cultural and scientific level.
Germany also provides bilateral support for Moldova’s successful reform efforts. Development cooperation focuses on projects in the fields of sustainable economic development, the reform of governance and the administration, vocational training, modernisation of agriculture and support for financial structures.
A "frozen conflict "
During her visit the Chancellor also discussed the conflict over the Trans-Dniester Region. She called for further progress in international negotiations. They aim in part to achieve specific improvements for the inhabitants of the region, including better telephone and transport connections.
At a meeting with the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 the Chancellor called for efforts to be revived to get this "frozen conflict" back on the international agenda. Since the "Meseberg Initiative" was launched, regular meetings have once again been held and talks among the parties involved have made initial progress. First confidence building measures have been undertaken.
Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Moldova is still suffering because of a "frozen conflict" – the unresolved Trans-Dniester question. In 1992 the region de facto seceded from the rest of Moldova amid fierce fighting. The first (unsuccessful) negotiations to resolve the conflict were held in 1993. In November 2011 the " 5+2 talks" were resumed. They are attended by representatives of Moldova and the Trans-Dniester Region, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Russia and the Ukraine as mediators, as well as the EU and the USA which have observer status.
In the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, Angela Merkel also met President Nicolae Timofti and the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament Marian Lupu, as well as the Chairs of the political parties represented in the country’s parliament. The Chancellor’s itinerary also included giving an address to members of parliament and invited guests in the "Palace of the Republic".
Aug 22, 2012