Ciolos: EU in search of new ways of supporting Republic of Moldova in trade dispute with Russia

“The EU is seeking new ways of supporting Republic of Moldova producers who have been affected by Russia’s ceasing of fruit and vegetable imports,” Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture, stated after Wednesday’s meeting with Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Trade, and Stefan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy.
“We are looking for solutions to ease the access of quantities of apples, plums, and grapes to the European market by making use of both the opportunities provided by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and other trade tools at our disposal, which can be set in motion quickly. It is important for the Republic of Moldova to take full advantage of the its European market export contingencies and diversify the sale points for these products,” Ciolos said further.
“In addition, both parties are making every effort to ensure the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova is applied before the set date in order to offer Moldovan producers speedier access to the EU market,” Commissioner Dacian Ciolos explained.
Starting Monday, Russia has banned all canned fruit and vegetables originating from the Republic of Moldova following the embargo on Moldavian fruits due to “dangerous insects.” On June 27, the Republic of Moldova signed the Association Agreement with the European Union and the Free Trade Agreement, both of which Russia criticized, warning that it will take “safety measures” if the agreements affect the Russian economy. The authorities in Chisinau believe the embargo was a geopolitical decision and Prime Minister Iurie Leanca has commissioned the competent authorities to immediately draw up a detailed analysis of the legal framework concerning trading relations with Russia, and to include recommendations. On Tuesday, Leanca announced the Gov’t would intensify talks with neighboring countries on promoting the export of Moldavian products. According to PM Leanca, Belarus will continue to accept products made in the Republic of Moldova and the possibility of expanding exports on the Arab markets and the European Union is being taken into consideration.
“Romania will help the Republic of Moldova to face the economic sanctions it has been subject to by Russia, also by raising the export quotas of Moldavian agro-food products on the European market,” Prime Minister Ponta stated Wednesday, according to Mediafax. “The sanctions and problems are particularly aimed at the other side of the Prut, unfortunately. I have discussed with Prime Minister Leanca and offered our support as far as the economic sanctioning measures imposed on Moldova by the Russian Federation are concerned,” Ponta said during Wednesday’s Gov’t session. He also pointed out that Daniel Constantin, Romanian Minister of Agriculture, has raised the issue of supporting Moldova with the European Commissioner in this field.
In turn, while in Brussels for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean announced Tuesday that this topic was discussed with the European Commissioner on Enlargement, Stefan Fule, and there is “the possibility of a speedier support from the European Union, as well as the possibility of the R. of Moldova submitting the ratification instrument to the Association and Free Trade Agreements sooner, thus allowing for a speedier implementation of the agreement, particularly where the chapters on economy are concerned.”
“It is clearly the EU’s wish to grant support and assistance to Eastern Partnership countries which, as we can see, have been subject to a new series of restrictive measures that are obviously politically, and not economically motivated, in our opinion,” Titus Corlatean concluded.

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