Each time I visit the Republic of Moldova, people ask me the same question: does the Republic of Moldova still have a chance?
I believe it is our duty, as representatives of the European institutions, to grant a European perspective to the Republic of Moldova; and to its citizens a glimpse of hope.
We need to show them that the Republic of Moldova still has a chance. If we will not grant Moldova a European perspective, then surely Vladimir Putin will give them a perspective – and it will not be a good thing. It will not be good for the Republic of Moldova and it will not be good for the European Union.
The reality is that the Republic of Moldova significantly benefits from the association and the close relations with the European Union. The Republic of Moldova is the non-EU country that receives most EU funds per capita. Our duty is to explain to the Moldovan citizens the concrete advantages of a close relationship with the EU. We must not allow them to become victims of the propaganda coming from the East, which states that the relation between the Republic of Moldova and the EU does not bring any tangible benefits to the people.
We have to say it very clearly: in 2014, when the Russian Federation imposed an embargo on Moldovan agricultural products, the EU has reacted swiftly and has increased quotas for imports of fruits and vegetables and has completely lifted quotas for Moldovan wines. These measures ensured the survival of Moldovan farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs.
Moldovan citizens need to know who their friend is and who their enemy is. The European Union wants a strong and independent Republic of Moldova.