Sat. Mar 25th, 2023
Brussels, 7 February 2023

Today, at the EU-Moldova Association Council in Brussels, the European Union and the Republic of Moldova have agreed to further strengthen cooperation in a number of key areas in line with Moldova’s commitments under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement.

Moving forward with Association Agreement implementation on the EU path

Today’s 7th 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 context of Moldova’s candidate country status and in the framework of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

The Association Council was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Gavriliţa. The High Representative Josep Borrell led the EU 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. This was confirmed in the Joint Statement published after the meeting.

Participants discussed the implementation of reforms by Moldova under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement over the past year, as outlined in the Association Implementation Report on Moldova. In 2022, despite the deep impact of the consequences of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Moldova made progress in several key areas such as justice and fight against corruption. In this context, the EU has considerably stepped up its support for Moldova’s overall resilience.

The Association Implementation Report tracks in a dynamic way the progress on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Moldova on an annual basis, in the context of political and economic realities. The 2022 report is the last of this kind, as Moldova will feature in the Enlargement package from autumn 2023 onwards. It needs to be distinguished from the Analytical Report published by the European Commission last week. The Analytical Report completes the European Commission’s Opinion on Moldova’s application for membership of the EU and assesses the country’s overall capacity to uphold the obligations of membership across the full body of EU law.

Funding support under EU4Health programme

Today, the Commission and the Government of the Republic of Moldova have signed an agreement associating Moldova to the EU4Health programme. This agreement will give Moldova access to EU funding in the area of health. This will help the Moldovan health system better respond to immediate needs and contribute to long-term post-COVID-19 recovery.  The agreement was signed by Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting European Way of Life, and Natalia Gavriliţa, Prime Minister of Moldova.

The Moldovan health authorities will be able to participate in joint actions that are dedicated to health authorities in specific areas, such as mental health, the European Health Data Space, global health, non-communicable diseases, and the EU network of Comprehensive Cancer Centres. Furthermore, public or private health sector actors will be able to apply for funding to support actions such as fighting cross-border health threats, prevention of chronic respiratory diseases, improving mental health for vulnerable groups including displaced people and improving health systems and healthcare services.

Moldova can benefit from funding on equal footing with entities from EU Member States, as well as other associated countries, namely Norway, Iceland and Ukraine. The agreement will apply retroactively, as of 1 January 2023.

New agreements on closer cooperation in customs and taxation

The Commission today signed two agreements between the EU and Moldova which cements Moldova’s participation in the EU’s Customs and Fiscalis programmes. This means that Moldova will be able to take part in the activities of both programmes alongside EU Member States and other participating countries. The agreements were signed by Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, and Natalia Gravrilita, Prime Minister of Moldova.

Moldova’s participation in Customs and Fiscalis programmes is an important step in further strengthening operational cooperation in the areas of customs and taxation and is emblematic of the mutual commitment towards closer ties. It will allow Moldovan customs and tax authorities to participate in various collaborative activities and to benefit from a wide-ranging training portfolio. All these new cooperation avenues are of particular importance considering Moldova’s status of candidate country to the EU.

Today’s signatures follow last year’s agreement between the EU and Republic of Moldova to mutually recognise each other’s Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) programmes, bringing together traders who meet certain criteria and who can therefore benefit from simplified customs arrangements.

For More Information

Association Implementation report

EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova

Customs programme

Fiscalis programme

Source – EU Commission

EU-Moldova Association Council: Press remarks by EU HRVP Borrell at the joint press conference with PM Natalia Gavrilița


Brussels, 7 February 2023

Check against delivery!

Madam Prime Minister [of Moldova], dear Natalia [Gavrilița], it is a great pleasure to welcome you here in Brussels again.

This is our first Association Council since Moldova became a European Union candidate country. And we have embarked on a new strategic phase in our relations.

But it is also the first meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We sincerely appreciate your incredible solidarity with Ukraine and with the Ukrainian people.

Moldova is playing a crucial role in the European Union Solidarity Lanes, which allows Ukraine’s agricultural exports and economy to reach global markets.

Without you, this would have been much more difficult or almost impossible. So, thank you for your engagement.

We know that, at the same time, Moldova has itself been deeply affected, deeply hit by the consequences of this unjustified war, which is sending shockwaves around the world and, in particular, to the countries which are closer to the conflict.

That is why, we, at the European Union, continue [to stand] in full solidarity with you.

Throughout the last year, we have considerably stepped up our humanitarian aid and our border management support.

We beefed up your energy security. We have increased our macro-financial assistance. We have introduced support measures in trade and transport [sectors], and enhanced cooperation in security and defence.

Today, we discussed the main elements in our relations over the last year, as well as progress in the implementation of the European Union-Moldova Association Agreement.

As it could not be otherwise, a key topic in our discussions was Moldova’s energy situation.

We are happy to see that, thanks to our joint efforts, Moldova is today more resilient and better prepared to face the challenges on the energy markets.

We are slowly going back to – let’s say – a normal situation. But I know that we went [through] very difficult moments.

We are expanding our sectoral cooperation.

We welcome the accession of Moldova to the European Union Customs and Fiscal [Fiscalis] programmes, as well as to the EU4Health programme, in the margins of this Association Council.

We are committed to explore possibilities for reducing roaming charges between the European Union and Moldova.

We will support Moldova’s efforts towards the modernisation of its payment system to fulfil the conditions for integration into the Single Euro Payments Area.

On our trade relations, today, we have agreed to develop a Priority Action Plan for Moldova.

This will help advance key areas of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and help speed up Moldova’s access to the European Union Single Market.

Let me remind [you] that, since the last Association Council, we have delivered or pledged over €1 billion in assistance, and that the Economic and Investment Plan still has a significant potential, which needs to be fully tapped to support your reforms agenda. Certainly, we encourage Moldova to make the best use of it.

One important part of our discussions, of our meeting, was how to deepen cooperation on foreign policy, on security and defence – which are at the core of the work of the High Representative.

That is why I was so pleased to accompany you on these increased security challenges: on the repeated violations of Moldova’s air space, on the military debris falling on its territory, on hybrid and cyber threats, and on rampant disinformation. Today, I have been talking a lot about disinformation; your case is a very good case about it.

Last year, we launched a High-level Dialogue on political and security matters, where we cooperate on cyber security, addressing hybrid threats and disinformation.

We are working together to increase the resilience of Moldova’s defence sector, with €47 million of support under the European Peace Facility in the past 18 months.

And lastly, on the issue of [the] Transnistrian conflict, we reaffirmed our commitment to facilitate a comprehensive, peaceful and sustainable settlement process on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Moldova, within its internationally recognised borders, with a special status for Transnistria.

Now, we encourage continued dialogue between the sides to enhance confidence-building and avoid destabilisation.

As you see, it has been a rich agenda with a lot of issues and deliverables.

Dear Prime Minister,

Amidst all the challenges that you are facing, that your country is facing, we commend your continued commitment to advance in important justice reforms, in fighting corruption and bringing its [your] electoral legislation in line with international recommendations.

Dear Prime Minister, all these efforts are particularly important in the context of Moldova’s status as EU candidate country.

We know that the European Union integration process is intensive, demanding and time-consuming, that each country is assessed on its own merit and will progress with its own speed.

But I can safely say – after having this meeting with you – that the future of Moldova and its citizens is clearly within the European Union.


On the eve of the Association Council meeting, the European Commission made public the country Progress Reports for Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. But these documents attest the situation until June 2022. How do you appreciate the political situation and the reforms progress in Moldova after June 2022?

Thank you for the question. Let me clarify that the aim of these analytical reports is not to give an update on the fulfilment of the priorities or the steps [made] by the three countries who are on the European path.

They focus on their alignment with the European Union acquis. And from 2023, the [European] Commission’s annual Enlargement package will include the three countries and will report on their progress regarding the steps and priorities you find in the Opinions. So, this is important to clarify which is the purpose and the scope of this Analytical report.

Nevertheless, it is important to focus on what this report says, and it says that Moldova has done important work regarding science and research, regarding external relations and on energy – as a result of Moldova’s response to the energy crisis, which has been very efficient and positive.

The Analytical Report also points out to the further efforts required in financial control, financial services, environment and climate change. And also, the need to increase the administrative capacity to implement the EU acquis.

But I insist that the focus of this analytical report is on their alignment with the European Union acquis.

Last week, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “The West is looking at Moldova to play the role of the next Ukraine, and the country’s President, Maia Sandu, is itching to join NATO and ready to annex Moldova to Romania.” Are there fears in the EU? Is the EU fearing such a scenario and how will the EU act to prevent that?

Well, that is a pity that Mr. Lavrov, [who] was once a respected diplomat, is going on this path that discredits him intellectually. There is nothing serious in these considerations.

Link to the video:

Source – EEAS

Joint press statement following the seventh Association Council meeting between the EU and the Republic of Moldova


Brussels, 7 February 2023

On 7 February, the European Union and the Republic of Moldova (hereinafter “Moldova”) held the seventh meeting of the Association Council under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement.

The Association Council reiterated the commitment of the parties to further deepening their relationship, based on common values and close and privileged links. The EU-Moldova Association Agreement has been and continues to be of essential importance in facilitating and promoting Moldova’s further integration with the EU. The Association Council highlighted the historic importance of the decision of the European Council of 23 June 2022 to recognise Moldova’s European perspective and to grant it EU candidate country status. The future of Moldova and its citizens lies within the European Union. The EU welcomed Moldova’s considerable efforts to continue with its reform agenda and fulfil the nine steps identified in the Commission’s Opinion in order to advance towards future EU membership. Moldova underlined its determination to meet the necessary requirements in order to start accession negotiations as soon as possible.

The Association Council highlighted the publication on 2 February of the European Commission’s Analytical Report on Moldova’s alignment with the EU acquis. The report recognises the important efforts taken by Moldova including under the Association Agreement. The report also offers valuable guidance on the work ahead under the different acquis chapters.  The Association Council also highlighted the last Association Implementation Report published on 7 February 2023, reviewing Moldova’s implementation of reforms under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement over the past year. The report outlines that last year, progress was made in several key areas and that EU-Moldova relations visibly intensified.

The EU recalled that the Commission was invited to report on the fulfilment of the nine steps specified in the Commission’s Opinion as part of its regular enlargement package in 2023. Without prejudice to this comprehensive regular reporting, the Association Council took note of the Commission’s intention to provide an update in spring 2023.

The Association Council welcomed the adoption of the revised EU-Moldova Association Agenda for the period 2021-2027. The document establishes a set of jointly agreed priorities towards further implementation of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

The EU and Moldova reiterated their commitment to strengthening political association and deepening economic integration, by working in close partnership on the basis of mutual commitment to reforms and to the common values of democracy, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law as enshrined in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement.

The EU recalled its comprehensive support package by mobilising over €1.09 billion in loans and grants since October 2021 to strengthen Moldova’s resilience, including humanitarian aid, assistance provided under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), budget support, macro-financial assistance and continuation of bilateral and regional programme support. In this context, the EU also acknowledged the importance of the Moldova Support Platform, initiated by Germany, France and Romania and supported by G7 and EU partners.

The EU reiterated its commitment to support Moldova’s macroeconomic and financial stabilisation efforts in step with Moldova’s key reforms through the ongoing €150 million macro-financial assistance programme. The EU reassured of its readiness to further support Moldova in line with its financing needs, including through a proposal to increase the ongoing macro-financial assistance by up to €145 million.

The EU commended the strong commitment of the Moldovan government to continue delivering on its ambitious reform programme, despite the inherited systemic challenges and overlapping crises triggered by Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.

In particular, the EU welcomed the adoption of the comprehensive justice sector strategy and the decisive steps in its implementation, including the launching of a pre-vetting procedure for new members of top-level judiciary and prosecution bodies. Moldova expressed its commitment to further advance in the implementation of this strategy and its action plan.

The EU called on Moldova to ensure that the reform of the Supreme Court of Justice and further vetting of top positions in the judiciary and prosecution are carried out in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and further underlined the importance of the quality and sustainability of reforms rather than their pace. Moldova committed to continue reforms in line with European standards and in consultation with international partners such as the EU and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

The EU welcomed steps taken by Moldova in the fight against corruption, and reiterated its expectation that Moldova steps up efforts in this area, at all levels by taking decisive steps towards proactive and efficient investigations, and a credible track-record of prosecutions and convictions as a matter of highest priority. Parties welcomed the signing of the Working Arrangement on cooperation between European Public Prosecutor’s Office and General Prosecutor’s Office of Moldova, which will facilitate the exchange of strategic information between the two institutions.

The EU welcomed the commitment of Moldova to step up efforts of de-oligarchisation by eliminating the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life. In this regard, the EU underlined the importance of deep structural and regulatory reforms on justice, political party financing, electoral laws, media ownership, taxation, competition policy and others and to implement fully the Venice Commission/ODIHR recommendations in this area.

The Association Council stressed that transparent, inclusive and credible elections at central and local level remain key to strengthening democracy and the rule of law. The EU welcomed the review of the Electoral Code in an inclusive and participatory process, and its adoption addressing the shortcomings identified by Venice Commission/ODIHR recommendations.

Moldova expressed its commitment to undertake further steps in the reform of the media environment, in order to enhance transparency of media ownership and media financing, contributing to limiting the influence of oligarchs over public life. The EU welcomed the efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Audiovisual Council to play its role in ensuring citizens’ access to impartial information.

The Association Council stressed the importance of continued work on strategic communication and in building capacity to counter disinformation. The EU expressed readiness to step up its support in this regard. The EU called on Moldova to strengthen the protection of human rights and access to justice, particularly of persons belonging to vulnerable groups. Moldova committed to sustain its efforts to further enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment, and fight gender-based violence and discrimination against women.

The Association Council welcomed the continued effective fulfilment by Moldova of the visa liberalisation benchmarks, underlining the substantial number of Moldovan citizens that have benefited from the visa-free regime. The EU referred to the Fifth Visa Suspension Mechanism report, recalling the progress made in addressing the previous recommendations as well as the need for further efforts on visa policy, combating money laundering and organised crime.

The EU encouraged Moldova’s efforts against organised and serious international crime, and acknowledged the good cooperation on combatting trafficking in human beings, especially in the context of increased risks stemming from Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine. The Association Council welcomed the work undertaken in the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova.

Concerning the fight against money laundering the EU welcomed the adoption of a new national criminal asset recovery strategy but also stressed the need to strengthen efforts in this field.

The EU welcomed Moldova’s vocal position against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and commended its solidarity with Ukrainian refugees. The EU appreciated  Moldova’s recent decision to grant temporary protection for people fleeing war in Ukraine in line with the EU relevant legislation. The EU also expressed appreciation for Moldova’s contribution to the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes facilitating grain and fuel transit from Ukraine, as well as the transport of other goods between Moldova and Ukraine, and the EU.

The EU reiterated its commitment to supporting structural reforms, including through financial and technical assistance, and recalled that EU assistance remains strictly conditional upon the implementation of agreed reforms in line with European standards. In this vein, the EU stressed that strict conditionality will continue to be applied in the EU’s financial assistance that will continue to focus on bringing tangible and visible benefits for citizens and on supporting actors of change.

The Association Council recalled the importance of implementing the Flagship initiatives for Moldova under the Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership that, in parallel and in full alignment with the Economic Recovery Plan, will translate policy priorities into tangible investment projects in Moldova with high impact and visibility.

The EU reiterated its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova. It affirmed its full commitment to facilitating a comprehensive, peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognised borders, with a special status for the Transnistrian region. The EU encouraged continued dialogue between the Sides in view of further confidence-building and avoiding destabilisation.

The Association Council acknowledged the substantially increased cooperation in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy and confirmed its commitment to continue the EU-Moldova high level political and security dialogue with a view to achieving gradual convergence. Parties confirmed their willingness to step up cooperation in countering hybrid threats, and to continue supporting efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. The EU and Moldova are committed to further enhance cooperation under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) to strengthen Moldova’s overall resilience.

The EU recalled assistance measures for 2021-2022 under the European Peace Facility worth €47 million to support the modernisation of the Moldovan Armed Forces with non-lethal equipment and confirmed the EU’s readiness to maintain a substantial level of support in 2023. The EU welcomed Moldova’s continued participation in the EU Training Mission in Mali and its interest to expand its contribution to other EU CSDP missions.

The EU condemned Russia’s continued use of energy as a weapon to destabilise Moldova, and expressed appreciation for the constructive way in which the government has handled this crisis. Moldova thanked the EU for its solidarity and continued support to Moldova since the beginning of the energy crisis in October 2021.

The Association Council welcomed the continuation of the EU-Moldova high-level dialogue on energy and the Energy Rescue Scheme developed by the Energy Community Secretariat as a deliverable of the Moldova Support Platform.

Moldova appreciated the opportunity to participate in the EU Energy Platform and expressed its strong interest in making full use of the joint gas purchasing mechanism designed by the EU to ensure security of supply and access to affordable energy.

The EU commended Moldova’s efforts to increase its energy security by ensuring alternative supplies and reducing consumption in the short term and by developing domestic electricity and heat production capacity, including through the capitalisation upon and renewables production potential in the medium term. The EU recalled the importance of strengthening competition and transparency in the energy sector and the completion of the energy sector reform with full respect of the Energy Community acquis. Moldova thanked the EU for its valuable support in development of the Energy Efficiency Fund in residential buildings and asked for further cooperation aimed at increasing energy efficiency of the country.

The Association Council welcomed Moldova’s association to the EU LIFE programme in 2022. While understanding the challenges of this winter season, the EU encouraged Moldova to align its environmental and climate policy with the objectives of the European Green Deal to enable Moldova’s green transition while increasing Moldova’s energy security and linking Moldova’s economy more closely with the EU’s sustainable value chains. Moldova reiterated its interest to establish an EU-Moldova high-level dialogue on the Green Deal.

The Association Council underlined the importance of further deepening sectoral cooperation and Moldova’s integration in the EU Single Market on the basis of enhanced implementation of the EU-Moldova DCFTA. To this end, parties expressed readiness to work on preparing a Priority Action Plan, in order to use the full potential of the AA/DCFTA and to focus efforts on the implementation of its key areas.

Moldova appreciated the EU’s support in mitigating the negative impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, by temporarily liberalising tariff rate quotas for seven agricultural products under the DCFTA and by extending the EU-Moldova Agreement on the Liberalisation of Road Freight Transport until 30 June 2024, allowing Moldova to make full use of alternative export routes in order to support its economy. The EU and Moldova agreed to further discuss Moldova’s request for liberalisation of tariff rate quotas. The EU welcomed Moldova’s association in the work of the Transport Community Treaty.

The EU underlined its commitment to explore possibilities for reducing roaming charges between the EU and Moldova.

The EU welcomed Moldova’s accession to the EU Customs and Fiscalis programmes and expressed support to Moldova’s efforts towards the modernisation of its payment system to bring it closer to EU standards and to the fulfilment of all the conditions for integration into the Single Euro Payments Area.

The Association Council welcomed the signature of the EU4Health programme 2021-2027 in the margins of the Association Council, allowing Moldova to access EU financial support in the health area, in particular in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to reinforce crisis preparedness. Moldova expressed interest to join the EU mechanism for Joint Procurement of Medical Countermeasures.

Moldova underlined its commitment to advance on reforming the domestic labour and social markets, and on further bringing the labour inspections system in line with ILO standards. The EU took note of Moldova’s intention to commit to the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and to join the Employment and Social Innovation strand of the European Social Fund Plus.

The Association Council confirmed the commitment to further strengthening the Eastern Partnership taking into account to the new status of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine and to the new regional context. The Association Council underlined that the Eastern Partnership needs to remain flexible and tailored to the needs of partner countries, ensuring complementarity with the enlargement process. Moldova highlighted the importance of transfer of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine under the pre-accession financial instruments of the EU not later than the start of the next EU multiannual financial cycle.

The Association Council acknowledged the continued challenging geopolitical environment and looked forward to the next Summit of the European Political Community to be held in Moldova in June 2023.

The Association Council was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Ms Natalia Gavriliţa. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell led the European Union delegation. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mr Olivér Várhelyi also participated in the meeting.

Visit the meeting page

Source – EU Council

Main results: EU-Republic of Moldova Association Council, 7 February 2023


Brussels, 7 February 2023

The EU-Republic of Moldova Association Council took place for the seventh time, the first since Moldova was granted the EU candidate country status. The meeting in Brussels was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Ms Natalia Gavriliţa. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell, led the EU delegation. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mr Olivér Várhelyi, also participated.

This is our first Association Council since Moldova became an EU candidate country. We have embarked on a new strategic phase in EU-Moldova relations. But it is also the first one since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We sincerely appreciate your incredible solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Representatives of the EU and the Republic of Moldova discussed EU-Moldova relations against the background of Moldova’s EU candidate country status, with a focus on political dialogue and reforms; economic and sectoral cooperation, in particular in the energy sector; trade and trade related matters; as well as cooperation and convergence in the field of foreign and security policy.

The Association Council also exchanged views on global and regional challenges, including the negative impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the Transnistrian conflict settlement. It was also the occasion to reiterate the EU’s steadfast support for Moldova’s resilience.

At the end of the meeting, the EU and Moldova issued a joint press statement summarising the discussion.

Source – EU Council




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