The Government in Bucharest has announced it would provide a financial package worth 20 million euros to neighboring Moldova, aimed at supporting the development of schools in this country. In another development, the European Commission has announced it
Romania fully supports Moldova’s efforts to join the European Union, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has told his Moldovan counterpart Iurie Leanca. Leanca was invited to attend the last session of the Government in Bucharest. Apart from political support, Romania will also provide Moldova with a financial assistance package worth 20 million euros, which will be used to develop infrastructure in education.
The installment is part of a larger non-refundable loan worth 100 million euros. Prime Minister Ponta also said that starting February Moldovan citizens who hold a visa for a Schengen member state will be able to enter Romania without needing to apply for an additional visa. 2013 was a productive year for Romanian-Moldovan relations, Prime Minister Iurie Leanca said.
In his opinion, the support of Romanian authorities has helped Moldova make headway in pursuing its pro-European agenda, as well as in modernizing Moldovan society and institutions.
Prime Minister Leanca also expressed hope that Moldova would succeed, with Romania’s support, to move closer to the EU: “The fact that we managed to initial an agreement with the EU in Vilnius is an important step. I am confident that next year we will sign the Association and Free Trade Agreements, so as to build trade and economic partnerships, as well as to establish a legal framework for our economic, and hopefully political integration in the EU. With Romania’s help, this will be a natural process”.
While the Prime Ministers of Romania and Moldova confirmed healthy relations between the two countries, the European Commission also announced an assistance package worth 15 million euros, which will help Moldova implement the strategy for reforming the judiciary by 2016. This too is an installment part of a large aid scheme worth 60 million euros.
It is an unprecedented measure aimed at supporting a non-EU member state, Moldovan Justice Minister Oleg Efrim told the press conference held jointly with the head of the EU delegation to Chisinau, Pirkka Tapiola. The European Union will cover more than half of the costs of implementing the strategy. The reform of the judiciary is a key prerequisite to Moldova’s accessing EU funds.
The financial aid provided by Brussels comes as a natural response to Moldova’s recent initialing of the Association and Free Trade Agreements with the European Union, Pirkka Tapiola has said. The EU wants Moldova to make important progress in its reform of the judiciary and fight against corruption before it disburses the additional installments in the financial assistance package.