On a visit to Chisinau Moldavia on 11 and 12 May, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benedetto Della Vedova met with Moldavia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration Natalia Gherman, Minister for the Interior Oleg Balan, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Andrei Galbur and Deputy Minister for the Interior Veaceslav Ceban.
The meeting’s attendees expressed satisfaction with bilateral relations, which they agreed were excellent both on the political plane as well as in terms of trade and investments (Italy is Moldavia’s second-ranked investor). “We had an in-depth exchange of views on regional themes, particularly on the Ukraine crisis and developments in Transnistria”, Under-Secretary Della Vedova said, also pointing out discussion of the implementation of an Association Agreement on a free-trade area between Moldavia and the European Union. “At nearly one year on from its signing, the Agreement has led”, Della Vedova explained, “to a significant increase in trade with the EU, today equal to 55% of that country’s foreign trade”. “Moldavia is actively engaged in enacting reforms aimed at strengthening and underpinning its EU integration”, the under-secretary said, referring to the reforms in the banking, judiciary and anti-corruption sectors required for obtaining the full benefit of the opportunities offered by the EU’s Eastern Partnership.
Ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit soon to be held in Riga, discussions also touched on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy based on the principles of differentiation, inclusiveness and participation of the six country members of the Eastern Partnership. “I also reiterated the need”, Della Vedova said, “for the EU Neighbourhood Policy to look not only to the east but to the south, toward the Mediterranean, currently the theatre of a full-blown migration and security emergency”. “We agreed that the first year of application of the EU visa liberalisation had been a positive one and, in that context, Minister for the Interior Balan and I today signed a protocol for implementation of the EU-Moldavia Readmission Agreement”, the under-secretary continued.
Finally, the results of numerous sector initiatives for collaboration between Rome and Chisinau were examined. These were carried out within the framework of a joint declaration signed by the two foreign ministers on 15 October last for application of the EU Association Agreement, with specific regard to security, justice, scientific and technological cooperation and migration, in addition to bilateral police collaboration and the reform of the Moldavian forces.
Under-Secretary Della Vedova expressed his appreciation for Moldavia’s participation in EXPO with its own pavilion.