Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Moldova – a country where our dreams, hopes, and expectations for a future in the European Union are as big as the steps we’re taking to get there.
I stand before you today, not just as President of the Republic of Moldova but as a representative of citizens who have long strived for better lives – better lives that can be realised only through a stronger democracy and a stronger economy.
Moldova faces a choice. It is not only about the standard of life, it is also about the sort of society that we want to live in. For us, it is about cementing the democratic progress that we have made since independence.
The stakes are very high for Moldova – and high for the whole of Europe.
The choice is obvious. You just have to look at what is happening in the region around us to see that there is only one decision about our way forward as a country.
Next door in Ukraine, our neighbour is fighting a war against Russian invaders. Physical battles to defend their territory against an unprovoked assault. A war which is causing terrible loss of life.
Here in Moldova, we are fighting a hybrid war.
Russia and its proxies are trying to undermine us – trying to derail our democracy. They have even tried to remove our government through a coup. Every day, the battles are continuing. We may be winning but there is no room for complacency.
There are many weapons in Russia’s hybrid toolbox.
At one stage, it used energy blackmail, knowing we were vulnerable as our gas only came from a single source. We have diversified our gas supply routes since then and are acquiring what we need from European markets. It is a significant step towards improving energy security.
We are also developing new electricity interconnections with Romania and have ambitious goals for investment in renewables – aligning our economic needs with our climate goals. Today we are much more resilient than we were a year and a half ago.
We are building our resilience in many other ways. Russia has been flooding us with disinformation, but we are countering that too.
In recent days, the state institutions had to block websites, most of them managed directly by Russia, and suspend the broadcast licences of six disinformation channels. No democracy likes taking such measures, but neither can we allow Russia to threaten our security.
Alongside disinformation, we have also seen tens of millions of euros in illegal party financing, corruption of voters and of candidates and other abuses ahead of tomorrow’s local elections – all sponsored by Russia and its proxies.
Our democratic will is strong but we also remain vulnerable to manipulation from those who don’t share our values and aim to exploit democratic principles to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.
Election interference is not just our problem. The techniques that they test out in Moldova will be used again and again elsewhere in Europe if we don’t work together to stop them.
It is why I talk about choices. For Moldova, it is a choice between protecting our democratic gains – anchored firmly in the EU – or being re-occupied.
The choice is obvious. We choose peace over war, democracy over authoritariansim and freedom over repression. We choose prosperity for our people.
This is why we are preparing for EU membership.
We have carried on reforming the justice system and making efforts to defeat corruption. The actions we have taken have enabled us to reduce the malign and dangerous interference of oligarchs who at one time captured our state.
On corruption perception, measured by Transparency International, we improved by 24 places in the past two years, our best score in a decade. Last week’s Rule of Law Index, published by the World Justice Project shows Moldova among the bright spots, while the rule of law is declining globally.
We are improving our administrative capacity to make even more reforms, more quickly.
But we aren’t the only ones that have to make a choice. EU countries also have to choose – and, again, in my mind, the choice is obvious.
Choice is the cornerstone of freedom. Moldovans make choices, Europeans make choices, Russia is not choosing, Russia is dictating. And we choose to be free.
Russia will remain a source of instability. The enlargement of the EU is vital to ensure our neighbourhood continues to make democratic progress and countries like Moldova remain free to follow their own journey.
Another wave of EU enlargement is an investment in our collective cooperation and security – a demonstration of the union’s unwavering commitment to peace – the very foundation on which the EU was built.
So, as I said at the beginning of this speech, there is much at stake – for Moldova, for the whole of Europe.
We aspire to membership because we already share common principles and values. We believe in democracy, solidarity, human rights and the rule of law. We are ready to do the hard work required to align our institutions, laws and practices with European standards. We are ready to make further reforms – ready to continue fighting corruption.
And it’s not all about what Moldova can gain. It’s also about what we are prepared to give. In the current security crisis, Moldova is growing its role as a contributor to regional security.
We are proud of our agriculture, we are growing our industry, and nurturing human capital. About 60% of our exports go to the EU market. Our citizens are talented and hardworking. Many of them are already in the EU. We have much to offer the EU just as we know that the EU has much to offer us.
The road to accession is not an easy one. We understand that there are many challenges ahead. We are, though, willing to confront those challenges head on. We will work tirelessly towards EU membership.
That is our choice…and one made with both the head and heart.
And you, all of you, can help us with that choice. Please talk to your capitals and help us to make our case for membership – explain to your governments why the stakes are so high for us and the whole of Europe.
We urge all EU governments to support the opening of accession talks with Moldova soonest.
Stand with Moldova.
Stand with us as we fight for democracy and freedom.
Our choice is clear.
Azi, în Parlament, se află în jur de 80 de reprezentanți ai parlamentelor statelor europene și ambasadori. Ei sunt aici pentru că noi, moldovenii, am făcut o alegere - am ales calea europeană. Și, în curând, statele UE vor avea și ele de făcut o alegere - acceptarea noastră ca potențiali membri ai familiei europene.
Acum ni se pare firesc, ni se pare firesc că discutăm despre negocieri, despre procesul de aderare la UE, despre îndeplinirea recomandărilor Comisiei Europene în Parlamentul Republicii Moldova, însă cu doar 4 ani în urmă, exact în această sală, regimul autoritar stingea lumina și inducea teroare pentru a ne împiedica să ne alegem viitorul.
Cu 9 luni în urmă Federația Rusă încerca sa organizeze dezordini în masă și răsturnarea guvernării alese în mod democratic.
Acum, Kremlinul finanțează cu sute de milioane de lei grupări criminale care să cumpere alegătorul și partide deghizate în proeuropene care să vândă apoi interesul țării. În pofida tuturor acestor atacuri constante, noi, însă, am continuat să alegem libertatea, independența, pacea și dreptul de a ne decide soarta.
Noi nu avem altă alegere - nu vom alege niciodată războiul, nu vrem să alegem sărăcia, nu putem să alegem pentru copiii și țara noastră un viitor al terorii. Alegerea noastră nu e doar despre nivelul de trai european pe care vrem să-l avem în toată Moldova, e și despre ce fel de societate vrem să construim.
Noi NU vrem o societate în care copiii sunt puși la închisoare pentru că gândesc liber sau trimiși să moară într-un război de agresiune. Unde banii statului care trebuie să meargă la pensionari și familii se duc pentru bombe și tancuri care atacă o altă țară.
Alegerea europeană este pentru noi, pentru Moldova, unica soluție de a salva generațiile următoare de pericolele unei asemenea societăți. Noi alegem ca toți copiii care vor crește în Moldova să fie liberi să vorbească, să fie liberi să gândească, să fie liberi să trăiască bine acasă.
Alegerea este temelia libertății. Noi, moldovenii, alegem, europenii aleg, Rusia nu alege, Rusia dictează. Iar noi alegem să fim liberi.
Și chemăm toate guvernele UE să sprijine alegerea noastră și deschiderea negocierilor de aderare cu Moldova. Să sprijine lupta noastră pentru a fi cu adevărat independenți și aspirația noastră de a deveni parte a familiei europene.
Sprijiniți alegerea noastră - ea este clară și fermă.
Mulțumesc. Thank you.