Breakfast Debate with Tudor Ulianovschi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova

On 6 September 2018 the Institut für Europäische Politik welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Tudor Ulianovschi, for a breakfast debate. After opening remarks by Dr. Funda Tekin, Director at IEP, the Minister gave a speech on the topic “Taking Stock of the EU-Moldova Relations – What’s on the Agenda?” His speech was followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

During his speech, Minister Ulianovschi gave an assessment of the state of implementation of the EU Association Agreement in Moldova. While he highlighted progress in some sectors, such as the harmonisation of industrial standards, the implementation of Basel III regulations and the improvement of the business climate, the implementation in other fields requires more time due to a lack of institutional capacities and the complexity of certain issues. Nevertheless, the Minister stated that Moldova has reached a point of no return on its European path.

Highlighting the importance of foreign aid, the Foreign Minister regrets the EU’s decision to withhold its macro-financial assistance as a consequence of the invalidation of the Chisinau mayor elections, a move strongly criticised by international partners, including Germany. He affirmed that the Republic of Moldova will fulfill all conditions put forward by the EU, as this was for the benefit of the country and its people.

At the end of his speech, Ulianovschi thanked the EU and Germany for their cooperation with his country and stressed the importance of the European integration process for Moldova.

The following discussion with the audience touched upon several crucial issues, including Transnistria, relations with Russia, the upcoming parliamentary elections as well as the recently adopted fiscal reform. Asked about the issue of Transnistria, Ulianovschi affirmed that his government is seeking a non-military solution for this political conflict and demanded that Russia withdrew its military forces from the territory. At the same time he stated that the Republic of Moldova was interested in normal and pragmatic relations with Russia, but not at the expense of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Moldova.

Responding to criticism on the new mixed electoral system, replacing proportional representation in the upcoming elections, Ulianovschi referred to the newly introduced seats for the Moldovan diaspora as well as Transnistria, Gagauzia and Taraclia, which according to him will strengthen the representation of the diaspora and ethnic minorities.

Regarding the fiscal reform, including tax cuts and a controversial capital amnesty, the Foreign Minister justified the adoption of the new law by mentioning the expected positive results for the business sector and by stressing that the amnesty does not apply to persons holding public office.

We would like to thank Minister Tudor Ulianovschi and all participants for an interesting and lively IEP breakfast debate.