German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared on Friday in Bucharest that the Republic of Moldova “is not alone”, and announced an additional grant of up to 77 million euros for this country.
Alongside her Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu and French Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Annalena Baerbock participates in the second ministerial conference of the International Moldova Support Platform, a Germany-France-Romania initiative.
The German Foreign Minister brought to mind that the Platform was launched three months ago in Berlin, and mentioned the current official status of the Republic of Moldova – a EU candidate state.
“I was glad that we were able to initiate this platform together with our friends from Romania and France, which shows that Europe is strong, particularly in times of crisis,” the German Foreign Minister said before the beginning of the conference.
In his turn, Romania’s top diplomat Bogdan Aurescu told the participants that they cannot afford the “luxury” of wasting precious time and stressed the importance of providing direct grants.
“The world has dramatically changed since the outbreak of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We don’t know yet how long Ukraine and the Ukrainian people will still have to suffer for defending their independence and their sovereign and legitimate right to freely choose their future. We see with each new day the horrible effects of the war, especially on the civilian population. I firmly condemn yesterday’s brutal attack in Vinnytsia – an unacceptable, revolting act that stands in blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” the Romanian Foreign Minister said.
He went on to point out that with each passing day, “war sends shockwaves far beyond Ukraine’s borders.”
“And these are particularly severe for the Republic of Moldova – a vulnerable and exposed country, located in the immediate vicinity of the epicenter of the war,” he said.
Aurescu explained that even before the war, the Republic of Moldova was already struggling with a serious energy crisis. “With the outbreak of war, a new and complex mix of challenges of a different magnitude has set in, such as the dramatic increase in energy prices, high inflation, disruption of supply chains, loss of trade opportunities and the massive humanitarian emergency triggered by the massive refugee inflow,” he said, mentioning that “the budget of the Republic of Moldova is under enormous pressure.”
The German Foreign Minister also spoke about the situation in the Republic of Moldova prior to the military conflict. “Moldova was in a very critical situation. When I visited your country, we were discussing what it would mean if you had no energy supplies any more, what it would mean if Russia did not use tanks, but hybrid war to collapse your country,” she said in her address to Moldova’s representatives present at the conference.
In her turn, Secretary of State Chrysoula Zacharopoulouthe announced that the next conference of the platform will be organized in Paris, until the end of the year.
“We are here because we need international support for this country,” said the French official.
Before the beginning of the debates, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, had an online intervention.
“It is important to know that we are not alone, that we can count on you. Moldova is a small country, and the magnitude of the events exceeds its ability to cope,” Maia Sandu stressed.
Moldovan Labor Minister Marcel Spatari spoke about the situation in his country: “The war in Ukraine has triggered a very large flow of refugees, over half a million people crossed the border into the Republic of Moldova, there are now over 70,000 Ukrainians on the territory of the Republic of Moldova and they need our support to integrate into society.”
He mentioned the current energy crisis which “makes families look with distrust to the future”. “The winter is going to be quite difficult and the Government of the Republic of Moldova will have to support the families, helping them to cope with the increase in energy prices,” the Moldovan official said.