The situation in the Middle East – where Israel is defending its people against brutal terror and we, together with our partners, are doing everything we can to ensure that Hamas’ strategy of terror does not succeed and that a conflagration does not take hold in the Middle East – brings home to us once more what has been achieved through our European Union: the great fortune to be able to live in peace and freedom every day in our Europe.
As much as the crisis diplomacy at this time is placing great demands on us, our support for Ukraine and our partners in Eastern Europe such as Moldova is absolutely steadfast. When Russia attacked Ukraine in spring 2022, the Republic of Moldova’s situation was dramatic: Russia’s war was on its doorstep, there were Russian soldiers in Transnistria, who could have easily taken over the country, energy costs were rocketing and Moldova had more per-capita Ukrainian refugees than any other country. Together with Romania and France, we stood and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Moldova, for instance by means of energy assistance, which helped to spare people there a cold winter and to gradually wean Moldova off its dependence on Russian energy. Just as back then, Moldova can rely on us today. For Moldova’s EU candidate status is a geopolitical consequence of Russia’s aggression.
During the last 18 months, Moldova has made huge efforts and drawn up an ambitious reform agenda for its path towards the EU. Given the economic situation and the prospects for Moldova’s young population, the challenges remain huge. Moldova has stood up to Russia’s destabilisation efforts, which are aimed at sowing unrest by spreading fake news on social media and paying demonstrators. During our meeting in Chisinau, therefore, we will discuss how we can step up our support for Moldova and how we can dovetail the structural assistance we are providing with political support for Moldova’s road to EU membership.