Romanian Government



Friday, 11 February

Joint meeting of the Government of Romania and the Government of the Republic of Moldova


 

Speeches by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Gavrilița at the beginning of the joint meeting of the Governments of Romania and the Republic of Moldova

 

Natalia Gavrilița:

Dear Prime Minister,

Dear members of the two Governments,

I had the honour and the pleasure to give a warm welcome to my colleague and I dare to say my friend, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, alongside the members of the Romanian Government, and all members of the numerous delegation that arrived from Bucharest. Welcome to Chisinau! A joint government meeting is a very rare event on the diplomatic agenda of the Republic of Moldova, and I am glad that ten years after the first meeting of the two Cabinets in Iasi, we meet today, and not just for a symbolic meeting, but with an extremely ambitious agenda to the benefit of the citizens of the two sides of Prut.

On the occasion of my visit to Bucharest, two months ago, I stated that I want to help turn the basis of our relationship, the community of language, history, culture, into a community of large concrete projects, and today, at the end of the visit, several bilateral documents will be signed, covering a large array of fields with direct impact on the citizens’ life. Of course, Romania has been a constant supporter of our citizens, regardless of the political inconsistency that unfortunately characterized public life in the Republic of Moldova in recent years. Now, we have a historical opportunity, both in Bucharest and Chisinau, there are governments with the prospect of long–term stability which we can turn to good account by placing on our agenda, including long–term projects regarding energy security. Last year, on the sidelines of the visit of President Maia Sandu to Bucharest, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed the roadmap on priority areas of cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and Romania and for many, it was hard to believe that in just two months, we will come up in front of people with the good news that many of the pledges made back then, will be materialized. We pledged to build new bridges, physical and virtual, linking the two sides of Prut and we have kept our word. This dynamics in our relations is indeed remarkable and reflects the concern of both governments about connecting our bilateral agenda to the interests of our citizens. Possibly the best news we can give today is to announce that at the end of the joint meeting, we will sign the intergovernmental agreement on the implementation of an assistance program based on a non-refundable financial aid of 100 million euros granted by Romania.

It is a very generous instrument that will benefit communities across the Republic of Moldova. We want to increase the quality of life, especially in rural areas, and these funds can also be used for local infrastructure, whether it is roads, schools or water supply networks. These investments will be a real driver for the economic development of the communities, they will generate jobs and, thus, we hope that people will start to believe again in the perspective of building a future here, at home.

On behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, thank you very much for this assistance! And because we were reminded earlier about the foundation of our relationship, the community of language, culture, history, it is worth mentioning that part of the 100 million euros will be used to rehabilitate cultural institutions or media projects, thus strengthening convergence between cultural and media spaces on the two sides of the Prut.

Time does not allow me now to go into too much detail about the other agreements that will be signed today, but I would still like to mention the premiere in terms of reducing roaming charges. This is the first time that the Republic of Moldova has signed such an agreement with a member state of the European Union, and the benefits of this agreement will be felt in the pocket of every citizen who crosses the Prut, to visit relatives, for shopping or tourism purposes.

 I would also like to mention that we will sign the agreement on the construction of a road bridge in Ungheni which will be a first step towards what we would like to be once a cross-border metropolitan area Iași-Ungheni. At the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to convey to the Romanian business sector that we are waiting with open arms for investors from across the Prut. The government I am leading has made a clear and unequivocal commitment to provide a predictable and attractive framework for those who want to do business in the Republic of Moldova, in line with European best practices, and the reforms we have undertaken. especially in the field of justice, are intended to give investors the certainty that their business can develop properly, without impediments or arbitrary interventions by obscure interest groups. Those times are over forever.

Through the documents to be signed today, we fill with very concrete content the framework offered by our Strategic Partnership for European Integration because, as I said before, our path to Europe passes through Romania. Apart from agreements, we have a very comprehensive agenda today. Of course, we will also address issues related to the tense international situation in the region, as well as other issues. Unfortunately, on both sides, as in many countries, we are experiencing the effects of multiple crises: rising energy tariffs, the social and economic effects of the pandemic, or high commodity prices.

Beyond the crisis, however, we will talk today about the European agenda of the Republic of Moldova, about the further implementation of the Moldova-European Union Association Agreement, about the approval of a new agenda of association of the Republic of Moldova with the European Union for the next seven years, about the macro-financial assistance from the European Union for the next two years totalling EUR 150 million.

Another topic we intend to address will be related to how to connect the Republic of Moldova to the Three Seas Initiative, a platform designed to contribute to increasing interconnectivity in the region in the fields of energy, transport, digitalization, based on the principles of economic development, growing cohesion at European level and strengthening transatlantic ties.

As you can see, we have a very intense schedule and agenda, and before inviting the Prime Minister to take the floor, I would like to express once again my sincere thanks to Romania for the support granted to the Republic of Moldova over the years. In particular, we thank our friends in Bucharest for their support during the energy crisis. In my turn, I am very happy that the commissioning of the Iasi-Chisinau Gas Pipeline took place during my term as Prime Minister. And because the energy sector is such an essential element in our relations, I would like to give you the floor before handing over the certificate regarding the full execution of the contractual obligations assumed by Euro Transgaz, through the sale-purchase contract, at the investment contest for the sole patrimonial complex Vestmoldtransgaz, which is in fact the final point in the construction of Iasi-Chisinau gas pipeline, and it represents once again a proof of the fact that our partnership is measured by facts. Thank you!

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă:

Prime Minister,

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad of meeting you again. We are equally pleased that we have managed to honour together with a pledge we have made a not long time ago, as regards holding this joint Cabinet meeting in the shortest time possible. It is the first joint Cabinet meeting, in Chisinau. It is a meeting with a symbolic load, and I hold the belief that it will translate into realities, deeds, as you stated, following the signing of agreements, protocols and memoranda at the level of line Ministers.

We are glad to see now, in Chisinau, the greatest openness ever in the relationship with Romania! These favourable premises allow us to build an intense and ambitious bilateral agenda. In 2020, in a year of crisis, Romania granted official assistance for development, to the benefit of the Republic of Moldova, in a record amount of 46.8 million euros, especially in the field of education for scholarships.

 

Dear Prime Minister,

Dear colleagues,

In less than three months, we are already signing a part of the documents about the objectives of the Roadmap regarding Romania – Republic of Moldova priority cooperation areas.

  • The agreements on the nonreimbursable financial assistance worth 100 million euros, building and consolidation of some border road bridges and  reducing roaming tariffs;
  • Protocols of cooperation in the field of education, labour inspection and military education;
  • Action plans in the field of justice and internal affairs;
  • Memorandums of understanding in the field of research, development and innovation, energy security as well as in the field of digital transformation.

As far as the Foreign Affairs Ministry is concerned, there have been met objectives regarding the Development Assistance, aimed at modernizing consular services, equipping the judicial system with IT equipment, organizing a training course for diplomats and magistrates based in the Republic of Moldova. Clear progress has been achieved in the sectors such as environment, water and forests, regional cooperation, public works and the administration, agriculture, finance, European funds, health and culture.

At the same time, I want to outline the special significance of the „Joint Declaration of the Romanian Government and Government of the Republic of Moldova regarding strengthening cooperation in the economic and investment areas”, a political document that conveys a signal of strong support towards improving the business sector in the Republic of Moldova, as an essential premise for expanding bilateral economic and investment cooperation.

At the same time, we count on your support, of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, for specific issues of interest to us, in which we would like to see progress. I would mention, for example, our request, also made during the previous governments, to identify solutions to some of the problems that the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia is facing. I think that it is opportune to analyze the situation of the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and the openness of a real dialogue between the Moldovan authorities and the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia, which - I am convinced - will have positive reverberations in our societies.

Regarding the implementation of the "Agreement between Romania and the Republic of Moldova on regulating the construction of aqueducts", we welcome the signing of the contract for the works on the Măcărești (RO) - Măcărești (RMD) underpass, on January 24, 2022. At the same time, we count on your support to clarify all aspects to consolidate and develop this project which is symbolic for everything that means our cooperation.

Also, for the modernization of the energy market of the Republic of Moldova, but also a transparent competition, in compliance with European values, the Romanian Commodities Exchange has already established BRM East Energy, ready to offer a trading platform for energy products, especially electricity and natural gas, in conditions of competitiveness, transparency and non-discrimination. I think that it is a good signal both for the Republic of Moldova and Romania, for the investors in this field, that would allow the operation of this platform, offering the requested permits, being a very necessary complementary instrument.

Regarding the European agenda of the Republic of Moldova, Madam Prime Minister, I assure you that Romania will continue to be your strong and vocal supporter. You can count on the full openness and cooperation of the Romanian institutions, both in Bucharest and in Brussels. Romania's opinion on the Republic of Moldova related issues is listened to, in European capitals and Brussels. Our support is also sought and requested in all European initiatives for the Republic of Moldova.

We are currently going through a complicated regional time, with a significant deterioration of the security environment. We are witnessing a massive buildup of Russian military forces and equipment, which is the largest deployment since the end of the Cold War. These are developments in an already complicated security background in the region, marked including by the persistence of protracted conflicts - including in the Transnistrian region.

They have a profoundly destabilizing effect, amplifying regional instability and creating security risks for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of affected states. Today's joint Government meeting, as well as the package of documents that we will sign, reconfirms, in this context, our full support for strengthening the Republic of Moldova’s stability and security.

The complicated security context also calls for coherent and comprehensive measures to strengthen the state's resilience to possible threats, which are not only explicitly military. We are talking about the risk of hybrid actions, cyber threats, vulnerabilities that can be exploited, such as the supply of energy and gas. I call on all fellow Ministers to take into account the need to treat and respond appropriately to these threats while carrying out bilateral cooperation in their area of ​​responsibility.

I end my speech by assuring you, Prime Minister and the entire Government you are leading, of the full involvement, dedication and openness of the Romanian Government for consolidated cooperation, oriented towards concrete results, for the benefit of the stability of the Republic of Moldova, its European course and the well-being of its citizens. Thank you!

 

Joint press statements by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and his Moldovan counterpart Natalia Gavrilița, at the end of the joint meeting of the Governments of Romania and the Republic of Moldova

 

[Check against delivery]

Natalia Gavrilița: Good afternoon. I have the honour and pleasure to organize today, in Chisinau, the joint meeting of the Governments of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. I welcome the presence of a high number of mass media representatives from Romania, which shows the growing interest of the public opinion on the other side of Prut in the developments in the Republic of Moldova. I want to thank you and encourage you to come back as often as possible to Chisinau!

As one can see from the results, it was a working meeting, not just a festive one. Both teams came determined and ready to fully capitalize on the bilateral agenda opportunities for actions with a direct impact on the living standards of the citizens on both banks of Prut. In this respect, the decision to build a new bridge across the Prut has a special significance. It is about the bridge uniting two localities with the same name, Ungheni. It is a bridge that will bring welfare to people on both sides of Prut, and it is not just about fuel, and time saved for trip, but including the feeling of closeness which will generate new employment opportunities, new flows of tourists and consumers and new businesses established both in Ungheni and in Iasi. Following the construction of this bridge, Iasi draws nearer to Chisinau, and Chisinau is directly connected to the network of European highways. I was very glad to directly communicate with representatives of the new Government in Bucharest. We are lucky that there is a common approach of all political forces in Romania regarding the Republic of Moldova. Hopefully, through such partnerships, we can persuade all political actors in Moldova that citizens have only benefits from this cooperation. Beyond the positive emotions and the extraordinary openness on the part of Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and the members of his Cabinet, we also had understanding as regards the projects discussed, and the great productivity in terms of future projects and the ideas of deepening our cooperation for the benefit of people on both sides of Prut. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the approval of major projects, one of them being the fund of 100 million euros made available under the form of donation for development projects in the Republic of Moldova. This money will bring development in the regions of Moldova, will create jobs, will turn to infrastructure making communities’ life better, through access to quality water, sewage treatment plants, quality public services, cultural and tourism development projects. Also, I can't help mentioning the agreement on roaming services. These are going to be significantly cheaper for mobile phone users in the Republic of Moldova and in Romania. It is about drastically reducing the tariffs for incoming calls and internet services and eliminating the roaming tariff for calls made by citizens of both countries, who cross the Prut. I would like to mention in particular the Memorandum of Cooperation on Energy Security. The global energy crisis, which also affected the Republic of Moldova, was a need in which one could see their friends. The support provided by the European Union, the member countries of the European Union and especially Romania was essential for overcoming the most critical moments we went through in October. In the context of major energy projects, which Romania is carrying out, including in terms of natural gas extraction and storage, but also regarding the development of electricity generation capacity, there is a need to accelerate energy interconnection efforts. Today, I awarded my Romanian colleagues the certificate regarding the full execution of the contractual obligations assumed by Euro Transgaz, through the sale-purchase contract, at the investment contest for the sole patrimonial complex Vestmoldtransgaz, which is in fact the final point in the construction of Iasi-Chisinau gas pipeline. Our Government, immediately after the investiture, unblocked the processes related to the interconnection through high voltage power lines and here we had a very good collaboration with colleagues from Romania. As you have seen, several important documents have been signed on digitalization, education, research, cooperation on justice and the fight against corruption. It has been a busy bilateral agenda, which we are happy about, and I am confident, Prime Minister, that in the near future, we will come up with new good news and concrete achievements, as we have discussed. Thank you very much!

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Thank you, Madam Prime Minister, for the warm welcome at the first joint meeting of our Governments held in Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova.

Today's meeting gave us the opportunity for a substantive dialogue on the common priorities of the two Executives. I conveyed to the Government led by Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița a firm and sincere message of support for the European course of the Republic of Moldova, by the Bilateral Strategic Partnership for European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, as well as for the deep reform process carried out by the Chisinau Government.

It should be noted, from the outset, that the "Joint Declaration of the President of Romania, Mr Klaus Iohannis, and the President of the Republic of Moldova, Mrs Maia Sandu" was the signal of a new beginning, providing political guidance for relaunching bilateral cooperation.

We welcomed in today's discussions the excellent dynamics of dialogue and bilateral cooperation that we currently have at all levels.

Romania has stood and stands with the Republic of Moldova, whom it granted, in full crisis, in 2020, official development assistance in a total amount of 46.8 million euros, especially in the field of education through scholarships awarded by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Thanks to our voluntary contribution, the European Endowment for Democracy organization has benefited from funds worth 300,000 euros, for the implementation of projects in support of civil society and the independent press.

At the same time, in 2021, in a critical period of the pandemic, according to the support package announced by President Klaus Iohannis, Romania donated more than half a million doses of vaccine against COVID-19 and over 100,000 rapid antigen tests and new medical aid worth more than  2 million euros.

Farmers in the Republic of Moldova received over 6,000 tons of diesel from Romania.

Romania is the first trading partner of the Republic of Moldova and one of its main investors. Trade volume for 2021 is  2.4 billion USD, a record in bilateral relations. We want to consolidate these positive developments, to fully capitalize on the current huge potential for cooperation, especially through substantial Romanian investments in the Republic of Moldova. For this to happen, determined efforts are needed to improve the business environment and the investment climate in the Republic of Moldova.

We had extensive discussions on this topic, which represents not only an expectation of Romanian companies but especially a necessary effort for the overall development of the Republic of Moldova, for ensuring the prosperity of the Republic of Moldova, for more and better-paid jobs, so that prosperity is felt at the level of every citizen and every locality.

The Government of Romania is following with concern the major challenges the Republic of Moldova is facing in the energy sector. We stand with the Republic of Moldova as regards this sensitive area with significant implications for citizens.

Here, in less than three months, we have already signed some of the documents about the objectives of the Roadmap on Romania – Republic of Moldova’s priority areas of cooperation:

  • Agreements on the non-reimbursable financial assistance of EUR 100 million; building and consolidating border road bridges and reducing roaming charges;
  • Collaboration protocols in the field of education, labour inspection, and military education;
  • Action plans in the field of justice and home affairs;
  • Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of research, development and innovation, energy security and digital transformation.

The agreement on the non-reimbursable financial assistance of 100 million euros for the benefit of the Republic of Moldova will be the main vector through which Romania will practically support, in the next period, financially and technically, the Republic of Moldova's efforts for sustainable development, advancement on the path of reforms and drawing near EU, as well as increasing resilience in key sectors for society.

This agreement will be, practically, the instrument through which we intend to support the firm, solid connection of the Republic of Moldova to the European space, through Romania - through roads and bridges, electricity and gas networks, and local development projects.

Agreements aimed at building a bridge over the Prut River between Ungheni and Ungheni, respectively consolidating the border road bridge between Galați and Giurgiulești, have a strong practical and symbolical significance on the connection between Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

We need a cooperation framework to reduce the roaming charges. Even if today’s Agreement does not mean the immediate reduction in roaming charges, the document offers us instruments to attain this objective. We are starting today this process with the essential involvement of telephone operators of the two banks of Prut. Hopefully, we attain as soon as possible the results awaited by our citizens. Our success will offer models to follow in the relationship with the Republic of Moldova, and with other EU states.

In implementing the Roadmap, in addition to the documents already presented that establish ample actions of cooperation and support, clear progress has been achieved in sectors such as environment, water and forests, regional cooperation, public works and administration, agriculture, finance, European funds, healthcare and culture.

There is also ambitious cooperation in the fields of defence, family, youth, equal opportunities and sports.

The Joint Declaration on strengthening cooperation in the economic and investment areas, signed today, conveys a friendly signal to the business sector, including for investors in Romania. Our political commitment at the governmental level will contribute to expanding bilateral economic and investment connections, as well as to the mutual promotion of products and services.

It depends solely on us to continue the pace of this cooperation oriented towards results for the benefit of our citizens. Today’s discussions need our concrete actions and I think this is the direction we are heading to. I want this accelerated pace of working together to become a constant in implementing a common agenda for the well-being of our citizens. Thank you.