CHISINAU - European integration is priority number one for Moldova's government, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Aureliu Ciocoi said.
"European integration is priority number one for Moldova. The government sees European integration as a chance to modernize the country and increase the standard of living," Ciocoi said at a press conference in Chisinau on Thursday.
"The implementation of the association agreement with the EU is a tool both to achieve high standards of living and the functioning of democratic institutions in the country, simultaneously seeking the resumption of strategic partnership with the Russian Federation and other partners in the former Soviet territory," he said.
Asked by journalists when Moldova's integration into the EU could be completed, Ciocoi said, "It is premature to talk about this."
"The government commission on European integration held its session yesterday. We acknowledged that the reform implementation plan, according to Moldova's commitments under the association agreement, is 71.56% fulfilled. We have some debts, including from the previous plan, for 2014-2016. We should implement reforms to increase our standards of living to match those in the EU countries and speak on equitable terms. If the government applies maximum efforts, this would take 10-15 years. If these efforts are less effective, it could take 20-25 or even 50 years," he said.
Moldova has been lagging behind in pursuing its reform plan because of a lack of political will and political crises, he said.
"Therefore, we have to work in a hurry to settle the debts. Not in order to submit reports to Brussels but to use all chances to modernize the country," Ciocoi said.
As reported earlier, after the new Moldovan government was endorsed in mid-November 2019, President Igor Dodon said, "The new administration will honor all international agreements signed by Moldova earlier, including the association agreement with the EU and the agreements within the framework of the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Union."