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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