Romanian and Moldovan heads of state, Traian Basescu and Nicolae Timofti, had talks
in Iasi. The EU countries must be more pragmatic; measures are needed to prevent
events as the ones in Ukraine, presidents say.
The only solution to guarantee the security of the Republic of Moldova is to speed up the process of its joining the European Union. This is what the President of Romania Traian Basescu underlined on Wednesday, in Iasi (eastern Romania), at the end of a meeting he had with his counterpart from the Republic of Moldova Nicolae Timofti.
“In the context of the tension in the region, the EU countries must be more pragmatic. The conclusion we have promoted is that, leaving concern aside, we must also take measures that should prevent such events as the ones that occurred in Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The solution to guarantee the security of the Republic of Moldova is to speed up the process of EU accession,” said Basescu.
The President of Romania promised his Moldovan counterpart he would, as soon as possible, plead for “the Republic of Moldova to be given a clear timeframe and outlook” regarding its accession to the European Union. According to Basescu, the Republic of Moldova was invited to sign the Association and Free Trade agreements, yet it has received no time indicators as to when it could become part of the EU. “I will, as soon as possible, plead for the Republic of Moldova to be given these time indicators,” President Basescu stated, noting that this was also Ukraine’s weakness – having been offered Association and Free Trade agreements, it was given no real outlook on acceding to the EU.
Traian Basescu emphasized the unfortunate circumstances under which the meeting with the Moldovan President took place, given the Russian Federation’s annexation of a sovereign and independent state, Ukraine, in its “typical manner consecrated by history.” “Such an event can only cause concern for countries in the region, regardless whether they are EU or NATO Member States.
Regional security is just as important for a state like Romania as it is for the Republic of Moldova,” Basescu underlined.
“Our expectations from the European Council go beyond setting the level of sanctions to be brought against the Russian Federation for illegitimately annexing Crimea, and Romania will categorically raise the subject of Moldova, based on the premises that European perspective is necessary. (…) And last but not least, based on the premises that the EU must not be taken by surprise in the future – in 2008, Georgia took us by surprise, and in 2014, Crimea. The EU must understand it should have interpreted the signals coming from the region correctly. The correct expertise is here, not on the other side of the Atlantic. The analysis and expertise are here, in the Black Sea area,” the head of state explained.
In turn, Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti reiterated that he has agreed with Traian Basescu “to stimulate the European accession process the Republic of Moldova is currently undergoing.” “My country asks the EU to be offered a clear perspective on its accession. I have asked Mr. President Basescu to support this natural desire of Moldova at EU level,” Timofti stated.
He went on to say he presented his point of view on the Transnistrian conflict to the Romanian President and both parties agreed their common interest is “to maintain a peaceful climate and ensure constructive measures are taken.”
“I don’t expect the decision regarding Transnistria that will be made at tomorrow’s meeting in Moscow to be in Moldova’s favour, but I hope it will not be worse than Russia’s actions toward Crimea. I am confident the Russian Federation will change its position, considering the EU and U.S.’s criticism and the Republic of Moldova and Romania’s views on the matter,” Timofti remarked.
Bilateral projects on the agenda
At the meeting in Iasi, the two presidents also talked about the progress of a series of bilateral projects, such as the gas pipeline from Iasi to Ungheni.
“The Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline project is progressing toward finalizing the first stage. It may be functional in June. Technological tests are being conducted on the Romanian section of the pipeline. (…) We are aware it isn’t enough to finish the gas pipeline; the second phase will cost around EUR 200 million and there are electricity lines that are also costly. Those are only being discussed, as they are in the feasibility study phase,” Basescu stated. However, the Romanian head of state expressed dissatisfaction that such projects as the gas pipeline or school rehabilitation with funds provided by the Romanian government are slowed down by the bureaucracy of Romanian and Moldavian ministries.
“I’ve noticed that responsibility for the EUR 20 million project to rehabilitate schools, financed by the Romanian government, is being passed around from one government to the other. We will ask our governments to devise a joint structure for the management of this project. (…) Projects are being stalled by ministries and they are not moving forward as fast as the political factor would like them to,” Basescu said, adding the EU has also shown interest in co-financing these projects.