Maia Sandu: Moldova in the Register of Damage Caused by Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

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At the plenary session of the fourth Council of Europe Summit, Moldovan President Maia Sandu spoke about democracy and resilience. “Countries with political enjoy changes. Democracies mature. Societies become more resilient,” she said. President Maia Sandu noted that Moldova is an example in this regard, having advanced in all international rankings measuring the level of democracy in the last two years. “Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Democracy is in decline in every region of the world, but not in my country, the Republic of Moldova. Over the past two years, we have worked hard to reduce the influence of oligarchs in politics, the economy and the media. We have begun to clean up a corrupt justice system. There is no doubt that we still have a lot of work to do, but improving in international rankings is a testament to our efforts and political determination to strengthen our democracy. In the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Moldova has climbed 61 places in just two years: from 89 to 28 out of 180 countries. On the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, we have moved up 14 places since 2020. In terms of perception of corruption, as measured by Transparency International, we have improved our ranking by 24 places in the last two years. In terms of gender equality, we are now in 16th place, and in terms of democracy indices in general, we have improved our position including last year. On the Council of Europe’s ‘Moneyval’, we have been promoted to ‘mostly compliant’ from our previous status of ‘partially compliant’. And I would like to thank the Council of Europe, a long-standing partner, which is working with us to strengthen Moldova’s democracy. My message to you today is that where there is political will, change happens. Democracies mature. Societies become more resilient. But in the face of today’s challenges, for democracy to survive and flourish in my country, this is not enough. It is not enough for change to take place in a sustainable way. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shaken the entire European continent. Although nothing compares to the destruction suffered by Ukraine, we too are feeling the shockwaves of the war that is happening right on our border. We are the victims of Russian-backed hybrid methods designed to destabilize our democracy. The aggression unleashed by Russia against Ukraine has affected our national security and created an uncertain environment for us. Our citizens and entrepreneurs continue to struggle with the economic repercussions of rising energy prices and disrupted trade routes. For democracy to have a chance, our economy must grow. Russia’s disinformation and propaganda must be disarmed for our democracy to have a chance. We have stood up to Russia’s destabilizing efforts and we will continue to do so. Ladies and gentlemen, Our democracy is underpinned by a strong political will, but it cannot stand alone in the face of the scale of the challenges we face today. Russia will continue to be a source of instability for the region for years to come. The best way to strengthen our democracy and freedom is to join the European Union. In Moldova there is a political opportunity for the democratic world. There is a chance to demonstrate that democracy can deliver despite unprecedented challenges. The champions of reform need strong support to keep the window of opportunity wide open. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and partners who stand in solidarity with my country. And, first of all, in solidarity with Ukraine. It is time to say loud and clear that no one is above the law. Moldova is on the Register of Damage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Let us continue to help Ukraine, let us continue to help Moldova, so that together we can continue to defend our democracies and the European values that we have chosen as our present and our future. Thank you.”