EU Council meeting — Conclusions on the Republic of Moldova

The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:
1. The Coun­cil acknowl­edges the Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va and wel­comes its efforts towards polit­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion and eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion with the Euro­pean Union. It under­lines the very pos­i­tive dynam­ics in EU-Repub­lic of Moldo­va rela­tions dur­ing the last year as well as the active con­tri­bu­tion of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va to it.

2. The Coun­cil wel­comes inter­est and active par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va in the East­ern Part­ner­ship. It express­es sat­is­fac­tion that nego­ti­a­tions on the future EU-Repub­lic of Moldo­va Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment are mak­ing very good progress. The Coun­cil also wel­comes the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Rome statute of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court by the Repub­lic of Moldova.

3. The Coun­cil wel­comes the achieve­ments of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va as reflect­ed in the Commission’s Progress Report of May 2010, which high­light­ed the country’s efforts to effec­tive­ly imple­ment struc­tur­al reforms, based on a gov­ern­ment pro­gramme ful­ly aligned with the objec­tives of the EU-Repub­lic of Moldo­va Action Plan. The Coun­cil looks for­ward to the Repub­lic of Moldo­va con­tin­u­ing to address impor­tant chal­lenges such as strength­en­ing democ­ra­cy and the rule of law, improv­ing the invest­ment cli­mate, pur­su­ing EU approx­i­ma­tion in all areas of the EU-Repub­lic of Moldo­va Action Plan, fight­ing cor­rup­tion and organ­ised crime, and tack­ling the prob­lem of pover­ty. The Coun­cil stress­es the EU’s readi­ness to con­tin­ue to deep­en its rela­tion­ship with the Repub­lic of Moldo­va and to pro­vide appro­pri­ate tech­ni­cal and finan­cial assis­tance to sup­port reform efforts. 

4. The Coun­cil re-affirms the EU’s readi­ness to con­tin­ue to sup­port the Repub­lic of Moldo­va, includ­ing with macro-finan­cial assis­tance and high-lev­el advice to the gov­ern­ment. Sub­stan­tial macro-finan­cial assis­tance — €90 mil­lion in the form of grants — will start being deliv­ered to the state bud­get of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va in the com­ing weeks.

5. The Coun­cil notes also that the Com­mis­sion will deliv­er soon to the gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va its key rec­om­men­da­tions in view of prepar­ing the coun­try for a deep and com­pre­hen­sive free trade area. This will pro­vide com­pa­nies of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va sub­stan­tial­ly improved access to the EU mar­ket, fol­low­ing the exist­ing Autonomous Trade Pref­er­ences grant­ed by the EU. This will also help to cre­ate an attrac­tive invest­ment cli­mate for EU com­pa­nies in the Repub­lic of Moldo­va. The Coun­cil invites the Com­mis­sion to pre­pare direc­tives for a deep and com­pre­hen­sive free trade area to be nego­ti­at­ed as an inte­gral part of the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. Such nego­ti­a­tions will start as soon as the nec­es­sary con­di­tions are met.

6. The Coun­cil reit­er­ates the impor­tance of peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts and wel­comes the open­ing in June 2010 of the visa dia­logue exam­in­ing the con­di­tions for visa-free trav­el of cit­i­zens of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va to the EU as a long-term goal. On the basis of the explorato­ry phase of the dia­logue, the Coun­cil under­lines the achieve­ments made so far, the exist­ing chal­lenges and the impor­tance of fur­ther reform efforts by the Repub­lic of Moldo­va, and invites the Com­mis­sion to pre­pare a draft action plan, in line with the approach set out in para­graphs eight and nine of the Coun­cil Con­clu­sions on the East­ern Part­ner­ship of 25 Octo­ber 2010, set­ting out all the con­di­tions to be met by the Repub­lic of Moldo­va before the pos­si­ble estab­lish­ment of a visa-free trav­el regime, with a view to the visa dia­logue enter­ing a ful­ly oper­a­tional phase as soon as appro­pri­ate. Through the Coun­cil, EU Mem­ber States will be ful­ly asso­ci­at­ed in the dif­fer­ent steps of the process, includ­ing by being con­sult­ed on the draft action plan and both sets of bench­marks. The effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the read­mis­sion agree­ment will remain impor­tant in this context.

7. The Coun­cil notes that the Repub­lic of Moldo­va has tak­en impor­tant steps dur­ing the past year in con­sol­i­dat­ing democ­ra­cy. In this regard, the con­duct of the con­sti­tu­tion­al ref­er­en­dum of 5 Sep­tem­ber in line with demo­c­ra­t­ic stan­dards was an encour­ag­ing sign. It is impor­tant that the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions announced for 28 Novem­ber take the coun­try fur­ther for­ward on this path and ful­ly meet inter­na­tion­al stan­dards for free and fair elections.

8. The Coun­cil also wel­comes the pol­i­cy of con­struc­tive engage­ment of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va in the Transnis­tria set­tle­ment efforts, includ­ing through the sup­port of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va to con­fi­dence-build­ing mea­sures. The Coun­cil under­lines the con­tin­ued efforts of the EU to con­tribute to a sus­tain­able set­tle­ment of the Transnis­tria con­flict, based on the prin­ci­ples of sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va. It re-affirms the EU’s call for a resump­tion of offi­cial set­tle­ment talks in the 5+2 for­mat as ear­ly as possible. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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