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Chisinau, 3 October 2019
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, visited Chișinău, the Republic of Moldova today. She met with President Igor Dodon, Prime Minister Maia Sandu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Nicu Popescu, and other Ministers from PM Sandu’s government.
Her visit presented an opportunity to take stock of the implementation of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, and to discuss the ambitious reform plan announced by the Moldovan government. It followed just three days after the fifth annual meeting of the EU-Moldova Association Council on 30 September in Brussels.
Both in Chișinău as well as in Brussels, the High Representative underlined the EU’s support for Moldova’s reform path, confirming readiness to do even more in response to tangible progress and continued delivery on reform commitments. So far the EU already resumed budget support payments, signed several financing agreements, mobilised high-level expertise to the government, and plans to release the first tranche of Macro-Financial Assistance over the coming weeks.
The discussions focused on reforms in the most crucial areas, in particular on the need for a comprehensive reform of the judiciary and the prosecution service. As regards energy reform, the EU looks forward to Moldova's completion of unbundling by the end of this year.
In light of the upcoming local and parliamentary by-elections on 20 October, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini reiterated the need for transparent, inclusive and credible electoral processes. She recalled also the importance of addressing all of the pending recommendations of the Council of Europe Venice Commission and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR).
At the end of the visit, President Dodon awarded High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini the order of honour of the Republic of Moldova.
Since the formation of the new government in the Republic of Moldova in June 2019, and a renewed commitment to reforms as laid down in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, dialogue between the two sides has been enhanced.
The European Union underlines the need for the Moldovan government to deliver ambitious reforms and to address existing weaknesses in the justice sector, in the overall governance system, in the protection of democratic freedoms and in the functioning of the economy.
The High Representative/Vice-President also presented forthcoming EU support based on current government priorities, as agreed during the Association Council on 30 September. In 2018 payments under macrofinancial assistance (MFA) and budget support had been put on hold due to the deterioration of democratic standards and the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova and the EU decided at the end of 2018 to reduce bilateral assistance to the Republic of Moldova. On the basis of recent positive developments, the EU has resumed payments under budget support assistance to the Republic of Moldova by disbursing €14.54 million in July 2019. Since mid-June the EU has also mobilised technical advice providing support to implementing key reforms. In July, three financing agreements were signed with Prime Minister Sandu for implementing projects of €40.25 million for economic development, supporting citizens' participation in decision-making, fighting corruption, promoting gender equality and youth. The EU stands ready to disburse the first instalment of the macro-financial assistance in October 2019, recalling that the release of the remaining instalments under the MFA programme will be decided after an assessment of the fulfilment of the corresponding policy measures included in the Memorandum of Understanding and the respect of political preconditions.