Sandu:Moldova will Never Become a Buffer Zone Between East and West

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Prime Minister Maia Sandu said that she “firmly believes in a European project”, and Moldova will never “become a buffer zone between East and West.” The day before, at the Eastern Partnership forum in Chisinau she noted that Moldova has “ambitious plans for the EaP, as it is ready to continue to move towards the European integration,” reports “In a political sense, we signed the Association Agreement with the EU, which serves as our guide to the reform process. In terms of economic integration, we signed the Agreement on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which provides favorable conditions for the export of various categories of Moldavian goods to European markets. For ten years now, the EU has been a priority for our goods - exports reached almost 70% in 2018. Moldova has also become the first EaP country that achieved a visa-free regime with the European Union, and about 2 million Moldovan citizens have already taken advantage of this,” Sandu said. She emphasized that “all the years the EU has been selflessly cooperating with Moldova and now its task is to respond with the same openness and commitment to the fundamental principles of the Union.” “The EaP format has allowed developing relations not only with EU countries, but also strengthening regional cooperation with partnership members. The main European principles - democracy, rule-of-law state, human rights, have always served as support for positive changes in Moldova and helped our citizens believe in the possibility of changes,” said the Prime Minister. According to her, “the financial instruments and civil platforms offered by the EaP have seriously helped civil society in the darkest hours of the “captured state”. “Over the past ten years, the Moldovan authorities have served as a source of frustration for citizens. But today I firmly declare that our country is confidently moving in the European direction, and we have no other way. The government committed itself to building state institutions for the benefit of citizens, implementing the provisions of the Association Agreement and deepening the country's European integration,” Sandu said. She expressed hope for expanding the agenda of cooperation in the EP format – “comprehensive integration into European markets, access to a single payment space, strengthening cooperation in the field of energy and transport, the fight against corruption, including at the level of the new EU prosecutor Laura Kovesi”. “Our choice is that Moldova does not become a gray zone, a buffer between East and West, vulnerable to any geopolitical shift in the region. We are categorically against any attempt to divide Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. The idea of a united Europe means that the countries that have signed the association agreement have exactly the same chance to determine their destiny as the Baltic States used to do. For Moldova, European integration is of fundamental and national interest,” said Sandu. She noted that “Britain’s leaving the EU, the difference in approaches to the principles of the member countries of the Community, the uncertainty in relations with the Balkan countries show that the EU is at the stage of rethinking. “But the EU remains a strong community. In the period of instability and change, the EU complies with fundamental norms. We start a new page in our relations, a new composition of the European Commission is coming, which, I hope, will maintain the trend of relations in the EP format. And despite the challenges, I still believe in the European project,” concluded the prime minister. Point