TALLINN - Foreign Minister Paet participated in a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers’ Friends of Moldova group in Chisinau. At the meeting, one of the main topics discussed was the future of Moldova’s developments related to the European Union.
Paet stated that Estonia considers the European Union taking an active stance regarding Moldova to be very important. “We must move forward with deepening the dialogue with Moldova in order to help the nation grow closer to the European Union and make the implementation of political and economic reforms there more effective,” said Paet. “Moldova’s active participation in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership is also essential,” Paet noted, adding that interested parties from Moldova are welcome to attend the training seminar and conference taking place in the Eastern Partnership Training Center in Tallinn at the end of November.
The foreign minister said that Estonia will continue to support Moldova’s European Union endeavors in any way it can. Moldova remains one of Estonia’s priority development co-operation partners, which Estonia has supported since 2000. “We are prepared to share our reform experiences with Moldova. For example, we will continue to organize training for Moldovan state officials to strengthen and firmly establish rule of law. The Foreign Ministry also supports the master’s and doctoral studies of Moldovan university students in Estonian universities and in research and development institutions,” Paet stated.
In addition to supporting Moldova’s reform endeavors, Paet stated that Estonia must also move forward quickly with negotiations for a new European Union-Moldova Association Agreement. “We also feel it is important for the European Union to implement visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens and to conclude a free trade agreement,” he added.
While discussing democratic developments in Moldova with the other European Union foreign ministers, Paet noted that the European Union hopes the parliamentary elections in Moldova in November will lead to a solution for the country’s domestic political stalemate. “We are not naive enough to think that dramatic developments will take place in Moldova overnight, but the changes in Moldova have been noticeable, and we can support the Moldovans as they implement democratic processes in their country,” Paet said, noting that hopes to overcome the stalemate are modest at the moment and require more support.
“In order to develop Moldova’s statehood and democracy, the European Union is offering support within the framework of the Eastern Partnership,” said Paet. “Moldova is one of Estonia’s four priority development cooperation partners, so Estonia has offered concrete cooperation programs for supporting Moldova’s state systems and for developing governing standards,” Paet added.
Moldova is in the middle of Association Agreement negotiations with the European Union, and in June a visa dialogue between the EU and Moldova began as well. Paet stated that developments in the Association Agreement have been rapid. “We can hope that the quick tempo will be kept up in the discussion of visa issues as well,” he said, suggesting that Moldova’s leadership also feels the need for European Union integration. “Integrating with the European Union will also hopefully bring needed economic development to Moldova, which is certainly an important factor in resolving the Transnistria conflict,” Paet asserted.
Paet and his European Union colleagues met in Chisinau with Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat and Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca. Parliamentary elections will take place in Moldova on November 28.