While in R. Moldova on Monday, Prime Minister Victor Ponta assured Chisinau that the Government of Romania fully backs the Republic of Moldova’s European route and the goal of the country’s citizens to travel to the European Union visa free.
“The Government of Romania and Romania as a whole absolutely unreservedly and with all conviction back Moldova’s European route. I know how humiliating and unfair this visa system is and how important it was for the Romanians’ morale and pride to have succeeded to no longer be subject to all those visa-related procedures. I think Moldova deserves such a thing, I think you are European citizens and one has a feeling of injustice when one is kept at the door one way or another and I want you to rest assured of our full support”, Ponta told a joint news conference with Moldovan Premier Iurie Leanca.
Romania is Moldova’s main advocate, Ponta added. “I am convinced Moldova has a European route wherefrom there is no way back and there should not be any. Romania naturally is the main support and main advocate of Moldova so that it should pursue on this European route”, the Romanian premier stressed.
The Romanian PM also promised that “little by little” the government will lower the consular taxes for the citizens of Moldova, thus trying to right an injustice made by the previous Executive in 2010. “In 2010 taxes increased. We will try to right the wrongs, an injustice made in 2010. Little by little we will bring them back…” Ponta stated. At the beginning of this month, President Traian Basescu said that consular taxes for Moldovan citizens must be lowered and that it is “way too much” asking them to prove that they have EUR 500 in order to receive the Romanian visa.
The head of the Bucharest Executive also promised that Romania will reopen its public television studio in Chisinau and will support the founding of a SMURD-type service. Ponta mentioned that he hopes that the problem of the Romanian television broadcasting from Chisinau will be solved within 2-3 weeks, adding that no litigation should exist between two countries that have relations of friendship, such as Romania and Moldova. The Romanian premier also announced that Romania will back Moldova to develop an efficient emergency medical service, similar to SMURD, adding that Raed Arafat, state secretary with the Ministry of Health is in Chisinau for concrete talks over this project.
In a different move, in relation to the number of scholarships granted by the Romanian state to Moldovan students, Ponta said that this should not be increased, as we need “realism” and an efficient use of this educational support instrument, encouraging youths to learn in Romanian universities instead of choosing institutions in other countries. Last month, President Basescu criticised Ponta and his Moldovan counterpart Iurie Leanca for mentioning the reduction of the number of scholarships, as he advocates for the increase of this number.