"It gives me great pleasure to welcome to Chisinau German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, on a visit to Moldova.
The ministers’ visit is special because Moldova was chosen as destination for the first joint visit conducted by the heads of the French and German diplomacy in a period crucial to the future of Moldova.
The symbolism of the visit is also emphasised by the role played by the Franco-German partners in the construction and development of the European Union, as well as the fact that it takes place close to the date of 28 April, when the Moldovan citizens will be able to travel visa-free to the EU.
The presence of ministers Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Chisinau represents a reconfirmation of the EU’ support for Moldova’s European agenda and the transformations our government has undertaken.
This is a message of encouragement, as well as an incentive to continue to modernise the country by achieving our goal of European integration.
We agreed to boost the bilateral cooperation we have with both countries, taking the implementation of the provisions of the Association and Free Trade Agreements as a reference point.
The visa liberalisation for Moldovan citizens travelling to Europe, signing the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement and the correct implementation of the provisions will change people’s lives for the better; it will bring more security and stability for Moldova as well as for the region as a whole.
Of course we discussed the situation in the region, reiterating Moldova’s full support for the efforts of the international community, of Berlin, Paris and Brussels, efforts which are oriented towards the preservation and consolidation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but we also discussed solving the crisis solely by means of peaceful dialogue.
And now I am convinced that you are waiting for the speeches of the foreign ministers, so I give you the floor Mr Laurent Fabius"
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius:
"My joint visit with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is a sign of friendship and support to the Moldovan citizens and government. Together with my colleague, Mr. Steinmeier, we had a constructive dialogue with Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, the leaders of the parties forming the ruling coalition, as well as the leaders of the Party of Communists.
Moldova initialled the Association Agreement with the European Union and will sign it by late June. This agreement provides for the creation of the Free Trade Area between Moldova and the European Union. The progress made to this effect has been noticed. Through this joint visit, the most important economies of the European Union, which are the fourth and fifth economic powers in the EU, wanted to express support for this agreement and for Moldova's efforts in implementing reforms.
We believe that there are major opportunities to be offered to Moldova this year, within the Eastern Partnership. I believe that due to the elimination of the short-stay visa, an event that will take place next week, the Moldovan citizens will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to travel freely to the EU.
After signing and implementing the agreement, Moldova will benefit from technical and financial support from the European Union to implement the necessary reforms. The purpose of the association is to support Moldova's modernisation efforts. The Free Trade Agreement will give Moldova better access to the European market and will contribute to enhancing the economic attractiveness and number of local jobs.
I want to conclude with a remark - we know well that the relations with Russia are at a difficult time following the annexation of the Crimea, an action which we condemn. It is in everyone's interest that the crisis be overcome through dialogue. I do not want us to raise new barriers on the continent. On the contrary, we want Moldova’s rapprochement with the European Union. And at the same time, we want these relations to be excellent with Russia as well. France fully supports the territorial integrity of Moldova and opts for the Transnistrian conflict to be settled through negotiations. Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, thank you for this meeting! "
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier:
"Mr. Prime Minister,
Thank you very much for your hospitality and thank you very much for the opportunity to meet in Berlin a few days ago and now continue that discussion. My colleague Laurent Fabius and I are happy to be here and this is a special event, we consider that we came at a right, important time, when the entire region is swept by insecurity due to the conflict in Ukraine. Before tackling the issue of Ukraine, I want to tell you that today, as well as during the talks we had a few days ago in Berlin, I reached the conclusion that Moldova and its accomplishments in the context of the Association Agreement is worthy of recognition. I am sure that Moldovans will feel the same in a few days, once this decision on the visa liberalisation will come into force and the citizens will be able to travel to the EU without visas, without bureaucratic obstacles.
These are important results and the efforts have not gone unnoticed. We especially enjoy encouraging relations between young people and let us not stop at the visa liberalisation, but together with the German-French Youth Organisation to contribute to Moldova’s development, knowing from this organisation’s experience how important cooperation between young people was for these countries’ development. Therefore we would be very happy if we could transpose some of our experience in this field in Moldova.
Of course we encourage all the work you have done in the field of reforms and encourage you to continue to do so, especially in fighting corruption. I touched upon this topic in our discussion today and in doing so can count on the support of the EU countries. What Mr. Fabius said on the positive progress of the Association Agreement, we will try to remove the last obstacles in our path in order to sign the agreement peacefully, but we cannot avoid talking about Ukraine because we are following the developments in Ukraine with great apprehension. Mr. Fabius and I have a second message today - Moldova can trust its partnership with Europe and several other messages need to be noted- our Eastern partnership is not directed against anyone, not against Ukraine, nor Moldova or Georgia. This partnership represents cooperation, not confrontation. And this cooperation is in the best interests of all the participants, of all those interested and in our interest.
Of course the door to the EU is not closed, but the Eastern Partnership is not a policy against Russia , which is what we told the Russian partners. The Ukrainian conflict can be resolved only through diplomacy and dialogue, we are now following with great interest the fulfilment of the commitments stipulated in the Geneva Agreement and we contacted OSCE representatives. We must see how we can implement the commitments, how can we re-launch and support Ukraine to this effect, but one thing is certain - we see that each passing day more and more public buildings are being occupied and this makes settling the conflict more difficult.
Therefore, we call on Moscow to undertake every possible action for blood to no longer be shed and for these pointless fights to end. Germany and France have ruled against the division of the territory of Ukraine and, to this effect, I want to assure you that France and Germany will try everything in their power to prevent territorial separation.
Thank you for your attention."