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Friday, August 18, 2017

Moldovan PM Leanca: EU integration to strengthen southeastern Europe

Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca said last Thursday that the country's integration into the European Union would help stabilize southeastern Europe.

In an interview with BBC World News host Stephen Sackur, Leanca said Moldovan citizens are ready to join the EU, according to a press release from the Moldovan government.

"The European integration of Moldova, a small country with a low population, will bring greater stability and security in South-Eastern Europe," Leanca said. "Our citizens already enjoy visa liberalization and are not abusing this benefit as some expected. At the same time, Moldovan migrants are respected in the countries where they work. Thus, the Moldovans have already shown that they are ready for European integration."

Leanca said Moldova would continue to move ahead with reforms in order to speed up its integration with the EU.

"For us, there is no alternative," Leanca said. "Advancing on the European path is the best development option for Moldova. Obtaining the status of candidate country represents irreversibility in building democracy. At the same time, I want to highlight that there is no need to modify Moldova's neutrality status to achieve this."

The prime minister said Moldova was not opposed to developing relations with Russia if there was a dialogue conducted on equal terms.

"In the twenty-first century, Moldova--together with Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia--is equally subjected to international law," Leanca said. "The Russian Federation, the European Union, the United States, and China--they all have a legitimate interest in Moldova. The difference lies in the way that you follow these interests. We want to develop an active dialogue with the Russian Federation to increase trade."