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Barroso praises Moldova's commitment to EU integration

Barroso praises Moldova's commitment to EU integration

EU financial support to Moldova has increased fivefold in the last six years, from €25 million in 2006 to €122 million in 2012, with Moldovans receiving the highest level of support in the European Neighbourhood, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told an audience in Chisinau today, commending the country for choosing the path of political association and economic integration with the European Union.
Taking into account all the available EU assistance funds, EU support to Moldova stands at €41 per capita, the highest in the European Neighbourhood, Barroso said.
In recognition of Moldova's important reform progress, the EU has significantly increased its bilateral assistance budget by 30%, bringing it to €122 million. "We had never before, in the history of our relations, gone beyond the symbolic threshold of €100 million per year,"Barroso said.
The Commission President stressed the impact of reforms on people's everyday lives, saying the European agenda was for the direct benefit of the citizens of this country and "not simply boxes to be ticked as part of a bureaucratic exercise".
He praised Moldova's progress towards visa liberalisation: "As a result of your hard work in recent years and months, the European Union was last week able to launch the second – and last – phase of the visa liberalisation action plan. This brings us one step closer to our shared goal of visa-free regime when the necessary conditions are in place. I am certain that this objective can be achieved in a not-too-distant future."
He added this was linked to further progress in the fight against corruption and the reform of the judiciary – "reforms that will directly benefit Moldovans".
Barroso said the benefits to the citizen would multiply as co-operation evolves and deepens into a more structured framework, that of an Association Agreement, comprising a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
"We have made very good progress in Association Agreement talks, and since March including on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area component. We share the goal of completing negotiations in time for the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius at the end of next year."
He added: "When it is implemented, our Association Agreement will induce an even fuller reform agenda for Moldova, and the best prospect for Moldovan citizens to be assured of a future based on European values and standards."
President Barroso concluded: "There is no doubt that Moldova belongs to Europe and that it already now shares a common culture, language and history with the European Union. I have said it and I can repeat it: we see Moldovans as Europeans, you belong to our family of nations."
"If you keep the speed and if you intensify the depth of the reforms I am convinced that your European choice will come to fruition. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavour!" (EU Neighbourhood Info)



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