President Maia Sandu signed an article for eight international publications, in the context of examining the application for EU membership of the Republic of Moldova, which is to be examined on June 23-24.
The article signed by Maia Sandu was published in El Pais, Le Figaro, Die Welt, Le Soir, Gazeta Wyborcza, Publico, La Repubblica and G4Media.
Below, moldovalive.md shows the text of the article signed by the head of state:
In the midst of the greatest security crisis in the region and in Europe, the Republic of Moldova is at a historic moment today. The election to apply for EU membership on March 3 confirms the country’s unequivocal desire to anchor itself firmly in the free world.
The aspiration of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova to join the European Union has become stronger during the thirty years of independence. It was not a smooth path, but today we are at the point of a historic decision: the moment Moldova is granted the status of EU candidate country. We hope that the leaders of the European Union will support our candidacy in the European Council on June 23-24, recognizing this unique geopolitical opportunity. A geopolitical opportunity that fortifies EU security, defends European values and makes the union stronger.
Our path to European integration has not been easy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, just like the Baltic States, the Republic of Moldova had a chance at European integration, but missed it. Instead, we gladly watched Romania’s journey to the EU, our country’s closest partner and ally, which became a member of the European Union, inspiring us to follow in its footsteps. But in the first two decades of independence, Moldova went through painful economic and social transitions. The conflict in the Transnistrian region has further hampered our development efforts.
And yet, despite the disappointments in the political class over the years, our European aspirations have always been above Soviet nostalgia. Democracy has always found a way to win.
In thirty years, all governments in the Republic of Moldova have been changed by peaceful elections. All governments that have tried to establish an autocratic regime or suppress democracy have been removed from power. And most importantly, all governments, good or bad, have sought to build close relations with the EU.
In 2019, Moldovans ousted the bandits from power, and in the 2020 and 2021 elections they offered an overwhelming majority of votes to a new, clean and pro-European political class. This new political class promotes the integrity, transparency and honest financing of political activity. Since last year, the Republic of Moldova, which is led by a president, a parliament and a pro-European and pro-reform government, has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda.
We have started to strengthen the integrity and independence of the justice system through the extraordinary external evaluation procedure of judges and prosecutors. According to the World Press Freedom Index for 2022, Moldova ranks 40th, up 49 positions in a single year, and ranks with established democratic states such as Australia and many EU member states.
The European Union has become our main political, trade and investment partner. Two-thirds of Moldovan exports already reach the European market, thus contributing to Moldova’s integration into the EU. The government promotes policies to improve the business environment and investment climate in Moldova.
The positive trends of change and growth in Moldova seemed unstoppable when the first Russian bombs hit neighboring Ukraine on the morning of February 24th. Moldova feels the devastation of Russia’s war against Ukraine every day. The inflation rate reached 29%. The price of natural gas has more than fivefold in less than a year. Several trade routes in the East have been closed, and the security risk has increased, preventing investment from coming into the country.
However, Moldovans have opened their hearts and homes to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. Almost half a million of them have crossed the borders of the Republic of Moldova since the beginning of the war. About 80 thousand are still in Moldova, which generated an increase in our population by almost 3%. It is a major challenge, but it has not discouraged us from doing all we can to help those fleeing war.
The ruthless and meaningless war against Ukraine reminds us that peace and freedom are no longer a given. And Moldova’s application for membership of the European Union comes from our strong desire to remain part of the free world. We truly believe that we can only remain a strong democracy if we are part of the EU.
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The submission of the file of Moldova’s accession to the EU is a choice based on the aspirations of our people. Every third Moldovan is already an EU citizen. Many work and study in Europe. You know us – we are your banker, your nurse, your child’s college classmate. Moldovans live side by side with other European citizens, contributing to social assistance systems, paying taxes and contributing to the enrichment of the Union’s cultural heritage.
A European Moldova will bring more stability to Eastern Europe, develop trade and expand the region’s prosperity. Candidate status also gives us the opportunity to find a peaceful solution to the Transnistrian conflict, allowing us to reintegrate the region and further strengthen Moldova. But most importantly, a European Moldova will help achieve the basic goal of the European Union – to maintain peace on the continent.
We have a lot to do at home. Many of the reforms demanded by the EU are the very changes that our citizens are demanding from the government. And we will make them. We do not ask for shortcuts and do not expect concessions. In these difficult times, the Republic of Moldova only asks for the chance to develop and give hope to its citizens. Hope that Moldova can be safer, more democratic and more peaceful. Hope that people can continue to return to a free and pro-European Moldova.
It is said that history repeats itself. The Republic of Moldova has always been a European land caught in geopolitical battles. We now count on your support to bring Moldova back into the great European family and to support our European perspective, which will bring peace and stability to the region.