Modova’s PM looks to the future

Moldova became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, but Russian forces remain on Moldovan territory supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed the area the republic of “Transnistria.”

Vlad Filat, who leads Moldova’s pro-Western government, recently visited Luxembourg where euronews asked him about planned early elections, about solutions for Transnistria and integration with Europe, which he says is “an absolute priority” for his government.

euronews: “Prime Minister, from here in Luxembourg, how do you see your country, the Republic of Moldova?”

Filat: “It looks different from here, from Luxembourg. But of course it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to make vigorous progress. I say that it looks different because from here one sees the problems my country and it’s citizens have, one sees it all in detail, if you like. At the same time being here in Luxembourg I see that the Republic of Moldova has a very clear, European perspective. That’s due to the constant endorsement we receive from our European partners.”
euronews: “Was the Republic of Moldova affected by the financial crisis? Is it still feeling the effects?”

Filat: “It has been affected directly by the financial crisis. But I have to say that our country has been affected more by the lack of measures which are normally put in place during a crisis. That failure is due to the former government.”

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euronews: “One of the issues you discussed when you were in Brussels was Transnistria. What is the possibility in resolving this problem?”

Filat: “The Republic of Moldova, together with its partners, is participating in a process of negotiations, a process which is not at all simple. But the aim is a definitive and steady regulation of this conflict. In fact not only my country is affected by this conflict, the whole region is, and, frankly, the European community is too. I’m pleased with the progress in the negotiation process, with the progress made in order to find a solution. I’d like to remind you that the European authorities have involved themselves as never before. One of the examples is the memorandum signed by the German Chancellor and the Russian President.”
euronews: “What does that memorandum mean?”

Filat: “It means greater involvement in this process by the European authorities in order to find a solution for the Transnistrian conflict while protecting the sovereignty and the independence of Moldova. It means the raising of this problem at the appropriate level, at the level of the major protagonists. It’s the level not only of the countries from the region, but also of the European Community.”
euronews: “Could the conflict be solved by the withdrawal of the Russian troops?”

Filat: “It would be too simple to look at this process just like that. Of course the withdrawal of the weapons and the Russian troops from Transnistria is something the Russian Federation must commit to, but it’s just one of the measures that needs to be taken.” 
euronews: “What is Russia’s position in this conflict, a conflict that has lasted more than two decades?”

Filat: “If we look at the latest decisions and actions taken by the Russian Federation, we have to agree that Moscow wants to be one of those trying to solve the Transnistrian conflict.”
euronews: “How would you describe relations between Moldova and Russia?”

Filat: “From the very beginning, since we started our mandate, we began to built up pragmatic relations, based on mutual interests, on behalf of the Republic of Moldova. We continue to move in this direction. The meetings I had up till now with the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the meetings which my government colleagues have taken part in proved this approach as being useful.”
euronews: “In late 2009 you became prime minister but at that time the parliament failed to elect a new president. There’s now going to a referendum in September to address that, what about that situation?”

Filat: “It’s no secret there is a constitutional crisis in our country. This crisis keeps the Republic of Moldova in a state of political uncertainty that is embarrassing. We have tried to identify solutions in order to overcome this crisis by means of internal consultations and with the help of our European partners. Finally we have found a solution which is – from my point of view – functional. There is no other solution for our situation. Consequently we are planning a referendum for September in order to amend the constitution and in order to give our citizens the right to choose their president in direct elections. In the middle of November there will be a early parliamentary vote together with presidential elections.”
euronews: “Are you going to run for president?”

Filat: “That is a decision that will be taken at the appropriate time. Anyway, it’s up to my party (the Liberal Democratic Party) to decide, according to whatever the situation is then.”

euronews: “What is the most important agreement you have signed or will sign with the European Union?”

Filat: “If I had to choose one of the decisions taken up till now, it would be, of course today’s, that is the decision to start preparations for the liberalisation of the visa-regime. Our whole society deserves that successful outcome.”

euronews: “Is there an appointed time, a period in which the Republic of Moldova hopes to become a European Union member-state?”

Filat: “There is a term and this target date is quite near, but I prefer not to talk about that right now. But I’d like to emphasise what I have often said: This timing is strongly and directly related to how we act in the Republic of Moldova.”

euronews: “How are your relations with Romania, your neighbouring country?”

Filat: “It’s more than our neighbour. Romania is more than a neighbouring state. We do have normal relations, good relations. The good results for the citizens on both banks of the river Prut which separates the two countries, are evident. We have shown that by taking a pragmatic approach, by a modern European approach, we are able to obtain much better results than by the “explosion” of sentiments and emotions, which is often just a leftover from the past.”