Romanian and Moldovan ministers have signed several bilateral agreements at the end of the joint government meeting that took place on Saturday in Iasi, including the action plan for the implementation of the strategic partnership for Moldova’s EU accession. The joint statement on the creation of this strategic partnership had been previously signed in Bucharest by Romanian President Traian Basescu and Moldova’s interim President Mihai Ghimpu. Apart from this document, the members of the two governments also signed an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in case of disasters, an agreement on the judicial regime of Romanian war cemeteries located in the Republic of Moldova, as well as protocols in the education and social security domains. The action plan ensures palpable support for the Republic of Moldova in attaining its goals in its relation with the European Union, namely negotiating and implementing the EU – Moldova Association Agreement, negotiating the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, as well as liberalizing the visa requirements. “The methods of implementing bilateral twinning projects in the framework of EU programmes too, as well as internships for Moldovan experts within relevant Romanian ministries, will be explored,” the government stated through a communiqué. According to the aforementioned source, the two sides will cooperate in order to perfect the mechanism for tapping into European funds destined for cross-border cooperation projects and for projects that are part of Euroregions in which Romanian and Moldovan administrative units are participating. At the same time, justice system and internal affairs cooperation will intensify, with a special focus on implementing reforms in order to obtain for Moldovan citizens the right of free movement across the European Union. At the same time, PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu announced that Romania will offer to the Republic of Moldova an aid package of EUR 15 M for environment protection and climate change projects, the funds coming from the non-reimbursable EUR 100 M earmarked two years ago. Ungureanu pointed out at the end of the joint meeting that Romania will become the Republic of Moldova’s main economic partner after certain privatisation procedures are finalized. “Romania is Republic of Moldova’s second largest economic partner. For now. It will be the first after privatisation,” Ungureanu stated without giving any other details. Ungureanu also met several representatives of Moldovan students, the latter telling him that they want to have part-time jobs in Romania. Moldovan Premier Vlad Filat pointed out that there are some “deficiencies” in implementing this agreement but they will be eliminated. “I have to admit that there are administration problems in Chisinau too, that is why we agreed to remove these deficiencies in implementing this important agreement for the Republic of Moldova,” Filat stated, being quoted by Mediafax. Vladimir Voronin, leader of Moldovan communists, criticized the two governments’ joint meeting, labeling Moldovan Premier Vlad Filat’s visit to Iasi as an act of betrayal and “humility in front of Romanians,” Mediafax informs.
Gas networks and transport infrastructures to be linked
The members of the two governments agreed that the project on linking the two countries’ natural gas networks should be finalized this year. Last summer the officials stated that the Ungheni – Iasi natural gas pipeline, a EUR 19 M investment, is backed by both the EU and the Russian Federation, the EU green-lighting a grant of EUR 7 M. The pipeline will allow Romania to import and export natural gas. Likewise, the two governments have decided to link the two countries’ transport infrastructures as fast as possible in order to lower the cost and duration of travel. Thus, Romania and the Republic and Moldova will promote a route of the future Black Sea Ring Highway and will seek the means to link the future Targu Mures – Iasi – Ungheni highway with the Republic of Moldova’s road infrastructure through a bridge that would span the River Prut at Ungheni.
On illegal citizenships
The two Prime Ministers also discussed the corruption row surrounding the Romanian citizenship that was illegally offered to some Moldovan citizens. PM Ungureanu stated that the state cannot control the greed of some civil servants and this factor is inimical to government action. In his turn, Premier Filat stated that this issue is on the agenda of Romanian and Moldovan institutions and that any violation of the law has to be sanctioned promptly and harshly, as stipulated by law, irrespective of the issue at hand.
A more intense dialogue with Russia
In what concerns the relations with Russia, PM Ungureanu pointed out that Romania plans to have a more intense dialogue with Russia in order to clarify and solve some problems that are still left hanging, with the intention of having a partnership with the Russian state, a partnership that would be first of all economic in nature. “We believe that a pragmatic dialogue based on agreements and very clear explanations is useful for both capitals. I believe there is the need for a dialogue that would clarify and solve existing tensions,” Ungureanu pointed out. The importance of a partnership with the Russian Federation was also evoked by the Moldovan Premier. ‘The Republic of Moldova needs a correct partnership with the Russian Federation. We will continue to have good relations with the Russian Federation, because the Russian Federation is an important economic partner for our country and is taking part in the process of settling the Transdniestr conflict,” Filat stated.