Today, the European Union and the Republic of Moldova have agreed to further strengthen and enhance cooperation in a number of key areas in line with Moldova's commitments under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. Additionally, the EU will help Moldova face its current severe gas supply crisis by providing €60 million through a new budget support programme.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: "The European Union stands side-by-side with Moldova in overcoming the challenges it faces notably in the areas of health, energy and economy. With our exceptional €60 million grant support we will help Moldova through this crisis by mitigating the impact of the rise in gas prices on the most vulnerable people. We also strongly support the ambitious reforms agenda of the Moldovan government, in particular to regain public trust in the judiciary and in the public administration system, and improving the country's business and investment climate."
The strengthened engagement and cooperation were confirmed at several meetings between the EU and Moldova, preceded by a call between President von der Leyen and President Maia Sandu on 26 October.
Today's 6th EU-Moldova Association Council reaffirmed the strong partnership and commitment to enhancing the political association and deepening economic integration of Moldova with the EU in the framework of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This was confirmed in the Joint Statement published after the meeting.
The Association Council was chaired by the High Representative Josep Borrell. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Gavriliţa led the Moldovan delegation. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, also participated.
The EU and Moldova also reconfirmed their strong partnership through a series of concrete actions.
Strengthened cooperation on energy
As announced by the European Commission, the EU will provide €60 million to Moldova to help it face the gas supply crisis by setting up a support scheme for the most vulnerable citizens ahead of winter. The funds are expected to be disbursed at the end of this year.
The new programme is in addition to the EU's Economic Recovery package for Moldova of up to €600 million over the next three years, which include the EU disbursement to Moldova of €36.4 million in budget support assistance and €50 million in the emergency COVID-19 macro-financial assistance. This should contribute to Moldova having no immediate lack of liquidity for the coming months. All EU assistance is subject to strict conditionality, including when it comes to reforms in the energy sector.
In the context of the emergency situation in Moldova's gas sector, a high-level energy dialogue was launched yesterday following the meeting between Commissioner Simson and Prime Minister. This was followed by a meeting today of senior officials from Moldova, the EEAS and Commission services, to discuss the situation and the EU's immediate and medium term support to Moldova.
During the discussions, the EU reiterated its commitment to provide further technical and financial support to Moldova to tackle the crisis and underlined the importance of unbundling of gas and electricity transmission and distribution as a means to strengthen Moldova's resilience. The EU and Moldova stressed the importance of resilience against any potential efforts by third parties to use energy as a geopolitical weapon.
Strengthened cooperation in foreign and security policy
In the margins of the Association Council meeting, the EU and Moldova agreed to launch a High-Level Political and Security Dialogue. The dialogue will aim to discuss global challenges, regional security and cooperation, joint initiatives on countering hybrid threats and enhancing cyber security, protection of critical infrastructure and strengthening of strategic communication, and exchange of views on Transnistrian conflict settlement. It will also promote further increase in Moldova's alignment with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy declarations and decisions in line with the commitment to promote the principles enshrined in the Association Agreement, including the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Association of Moldova to Horizon Europe
In the margins of the Association Council, the association of Moldova to Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 was finalised. Association to the research and innovation framework programme is the closest form of cooperation with countries outside the EU. It makes it easier to work on and fund joint projects as researchers and innovators can participate under the same conditions as participants from EU Member States. This cooperation in science, research and innovation further strengthens the alliance between the EU and Moldova to deliver on common priorities, such as the green and digital transition. Horizon Europe is one of the main tools to implement Europe's strategy for international cooperation: Europe's global approach to cooperation in research and innovation. The programme is open to researchers and innovators from around the world, who can team up with EU partners in preparing proposals.
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