Created on Romanian territories previously annexed by the Soviet Union under a 1940 ultimatum, and independent from Moscow since 1991, the Republic of Moldova has always held a privileged place in Romania’s diplomatic agenda
Romania was the first country in the world to recognise the independence of the Republic of Moldova, and it has constantly supported the sovereignty, territorial integrity and European aspirations of that country. On Thursday, PM Viorica Dancila reiterated that European accession was the only solution for the Republic and for the prosperity of its citizens. As the holder of the EU Council presidency in the first half of next year, Viorica Dancila also said, Romania will be in a position to assist Chisinau in implementing the reforms outlined in the EU Association Agreement.
Together with her counterpart Pavel Filip, Dancila chaired a new joint meeting of the cabinets of Romania and Moldova in Bucharest. On this occasion, the parties signed cooperation agreements in fields such as tourism, environmental protection and telecoms, and discussed means to encourage Romanian investments in the neighbouring state.
Viorica Dancila: “We believe a much closer cooperation, with Romanian ministers taking part in events or talks in Chisinau, would give fresh impetus and would bring our countries much closer together.”
In turn, PM Filip pleaded for a bilateral agreement to reduce mobile roaming tariffs. He also announced a decision of symbolic importance: on December 1, Romania’s National Day, the citizens of Moldova will not be charged for mobile phone calls with Romania. In Chisinau, both the Liberal Party, in opposition, and a number of right-of-centre non-parliamentary political parties and civil organisations explicitly insist on the need for the two states to re-unite. However, the Prime Minister, a member of the leftist Democratic Party, which is reluctant to this idea, sees the union rhetoric as a fad, and pleads for pragmatism instead. He favours the creation of a common energy, transport, defence and security, and cultural space:
Pavel Filip: “This is how we see the union, with concrete infrastructure inter-connection projects between our countries. It is that easy. We have the same blood, now we have a chance to reinstate or to build together networks running just like a circulatory system.”
In both states, analysts note that the joint government meeting comes at a highly delicate time for the Moldovan authorities. This very week, the European Union announced the suspension of macro-financial aid amounting to 100 million euro, on account of significant breaches of democratic principles in that country.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled in Moldova on February 24, and polls indicate the Socialist Party headed by the pro-Russian president Igor Dodon as the most likely to win.