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Procedure : 2014/2817(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0022/2014

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PV 13/11/2014 - 5
CRE 13/11/2014 - 5

Votes :

PV 13/11/2014 - 8.4
CRE 13/11/2014 - 8.4
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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 13 November 2014 - Brussels
Conclusion of an association agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova

European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 13 November 2014 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the other part (09828/2014 – C8-0130/2014 – 2014/0083(NLE)2014/2817(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09828/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the other part (17903/2013),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and the second subparagraph of Article 218(8) thereof, as well as Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0130/2014),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2011 containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the negotiations between the EU and the Republic of Moldova on the Association Agreement(1),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 13 November 2014 on the draft decision(2),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood and in particular those of 12 March 2014 on assessing and setting priorities for EU relations with the Eastern Partnership countries(3) and of 17 April 2014 on Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine(4),

–  having regard to the Association Agenda between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova which was endorsed on 26 June 2014 by the Cooperation Council and replaced the ENP Action Plan of 22 February 2005,

–  having regard to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), second subparagraph, of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0022/2014),

A.  whereas in the last few years, thanks to the political determination of its government, the Republic of Moldova has made significant progress in reforms and in strengthening relations with the EU;

B.  whereas the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea and the role played by Russia represent a grave threat to European security and have changed the geopolitical order; whereas this also has implications for EU-Republic of Moldova relations;

C.  whereas the EaP has created a meaningful political framework for deepening relations, accelerating political association and furthering economic integration between the EU and the Republic of Moldova – two entities linked by strong geographical, historical and cultural ties – by supporting political and socio-economic reforms and facilitating approximation, particularly in light of Russia’s economic sanctions and destabilising actions against the Republic of Moldova;

D.  whereas the Republic of Moldova ratified the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), on 2 July 2014 and certain provisions thereof have been applied on a provisional basis as from 1 September 2014, pending ratification by the Member States;

E.  whereas the conclusion of the Association Agreement is not an end in itself, but is part of a broader process of enhancing the European perspective of the Republic of Moldova politically, economically and socially; whereas the launch of the visa-free regime for Moldovan citizens, the conclusion of agreements in the areas of aviation, agriculture and civil protection on the participation by the Republic of Moldova in EU agencies and programmes and on common security and defence policy cooperation, and, most importantly, the signature of the EU‑Republic of Moldova Association Agreement represent a tangible expression of this process; whereas, to this end, the implementation of all agreements is essential;

F.  whereas the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Iurie Leanca, has made a statement on the intention of the Republic of Moldova to submit an application for membership of the European Union in 2015;

G.  whereas consensus across a large section of the political spectrum on EU‑Republic of Moldova relations and the priorities thereof can contribute to the better and swifter implementation of the Association Agenda, to the benefit of Moldovan citizens;

H.  whereas an inclusive and participatory national dialogue and a constructive approach at all levels of government and society is necessary for all regions and national minorities to play an active part in the decision-making process;

I.  whereas a strong information and communications campaign in both the EU and the Republic of Moldova can contribute to citizens better understanding the mutual benefits of the Association Agreement and the DCFTA;

J.  whereas regional frameworks, including the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, constitute an additional forum in which to share experience, information and best practices on the implementation of the Association Agenda;

K.  whereas specific energy infrastructure projects can bring concrete benefits to citizens in terms of energy security and decreasing energy costs for the population while also fulfilling the objectives of the Energy Community;

L.  whereas trade restrictions on specific Moldovan products by the Russian Federation have heavily affected local producers and the Republic of Moldova’s economy at large;

M.  whereas earlier this year Russia staged military exercises in Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region; whereas the parliament of Transnistria has reiterated its appeal to Moscow to be allowed to join the Russian Federation;

N.  whereas the creation of DCFTA between the EU and the Republic of Moldova represents one of the most significant mutual benefits of the agreement, bearing incontrovertible importance for trade and economic growth, jobs creation, prosperity and stability in the Republic of Moldova;

O.  whereas by having established a DCFTA with the EU, the Republic of Moldova will enhance its access to the EU market, thereby creating new opportunities for development and growth and benefiting Moldovan businesses and citizens directly; whereas the EU will benefit from smoother commercial flows and better investment conditions in the Republic of Moldova;

P.  whereas the DCFTA includes several provisions aimed at reforming the Republic of Moldova’s trade legislation and trade-related policies in line with, and on the basis of, the EU acquis, which will provide for the modernisation of the country’s economy and an improved and more predictable business environment, including for small and medium-sized enterprises;

Q.  whereas without strong administrative support from EU experts, it is very difficult for any Moldovan government to implement the agreed approximation of legislation to the EU acquis;

R.  whereas by granting autonomous trade preferences and, previously, GSP+ preferences, the EU has already afforded substantial benefits to the Moldovan economy and should continue to support the country in the future;

S.  whereas stronger political and economic ties will bring greater stability and prosperity to the whole European continent; whereas cooperation of this kind is based on common values in terms of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and is inspired by our vision of the unique value of each person;

T.  whereas the Association Agreement and the connected gradual integration of the Republic of Moldova into the EU’s policies should not exclude the Republic of Moldova from its traditional, historical and economic ties with other countries in the region but, on the contrary, should create conditions to make it possible for the country to draw maximum benefit from its potential;

1.  Warmly welcomes the signature of the Association Agreement, a strong sign of recognition of the reform efforts and ambitions of the Moldovan people and authorities and of the substantial progress achieved in the latest period; welcomes the additional assistance made available by the Commission through the ‘more for more’ mechanism in 2014 to acknowledge such positive developments in priority areas; recognises that the Association Agreement represents a significant step forward in EU-Republic of Moldova relations and a commitment to the path of political association and economic integration; stresses that full implementation thereof is key; urges the Member States, in this context, to proceed as swiftly as possible with the ratification of the Association Agreement;

2.  Stresses that the signature and ratification of the Association Agreement does not constitute a final goal in EU-Republic of Moldova relations and points out that pursuant to Article 49 TEU, the Republic of Moldova – like any other European state – has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the European Union provided it adheres to the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law;

3.  Emphasises that the Association Agreement covers the entire internationally recognised territory of the Republic of Moldova, and is for the benefit of the whole population; stresses, therefore, the need to address in a timely and proper manner the social consequences of the associated reforms; calls on the Republic of Moldova to ensure that the reforms are anchored and deeply rooted in the institutional framework; highlights the need for a comprehensive information campaign geared at the public on the aims and content of the Association Agreement and the direct and concrete benefits for citizens arising from the implementation of the Association Agenda;

4.  Welcomes the Association Agenda, which includes concrete steps and conditionalities for achieving the overriding objectives of the Association Agreement and should be the guiding framework for EU-Republic of Moldova relations;

5.  Stresses that both the Republic of Moldova and the EU should be involved in the implementation of the Association Agenda, and that the priorities set out therein should receive appropriate technical and financial support so that the benefits of association are visible to Moldovan citizens as soon as possible; calls on the Commission to be guided by these priorities when programming financing for the Republic of Moldova; emphasises the need to improve absorption capacity in the Republic of Moldova in order to ensure the efficient implementation of projects and use of financing; outlines the importance of strengthening a mechanism for management, transparency and accountability in order to monitor the absorption and use of EU funds; calls on the parties to identify the training needs required to ensure that the Republic of Moldova is able to carry out its obligations under the Association Agreement and Association Agenda;

6.  Stresses the importance of strengthening the stability, independence and effectiveness of the institutions responsible for guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law and good governance, and of consolidating the system of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; notes, in this context, the significance of previous steps towards reform, such as strengthening the autonomy of the system for appointing judges, having a representative configuration of the Central Electoral Committee, and improving the effectiveness and independence of the Court of Auditors;

7.  Calls on the Moldovan authorities to ensure that the upcoming electoral process takes place according to the highest European and international standards and to adopt the necessary measures in order to facilitate the participation of Moldovans living abroad; urges the authorities to work closely with the OSCE/ODIHR, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and to address their recommendations; highlights the important role that political actors and parties play and the need to adopt an effective legislation that ensures transparency in party financing; is committed to ensuring the presence of election observers and will send its own election observation mission to observe the parliamentary elections of 30 November 2014;

8.  Notes the need to amend Article 78 of the Moldovan Constitution, on the election of the President, to avoid a resurgence of institutional deadlock which would be detrimental to the pace of reforms; urges that any constitutional reform be carried out in consultation with the Venice Commission and the relevant national stakeholders;

9.  Notes with satisfaction the progress made by the Republic of Moldova’s authorities in implementing the European reform agenda, including the reform of justice and law enforcement, as pointed out in the Commission’s report of 27 March 2014, the restructuration of the anti-corruption framework, the implementation of the human rights action plan and the action plan in support of the Roma people, the maintenance of its dialogue with Tiraspol and the continuation of challenging regulatory and sectoral reforms;

10.  Notes the progress achieved so far; calls on the authorities to continue with the effective implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan, with particular regard to the human rights of the Roma people;

11.  Underlines, the need to tackle with renewed strength the reform of the judiciary, to ensure its independence and that of the law enforcement systems and to secure constitutional provisions for an independent judiciary, equality before the law and basic civil rights; stresses the need to intensify the fight against corruption at all levels, inter alia by fully implementing the legislative package adopted in 2013 and improving the track record of anti-corruption institutions; calls on the Moldovan authorities to ensure that the mechanisms belonging to the anti-corruption system, particularly the National Anti-Corruption Centre and the National Integrity Centre, are independent, fully functioning, properly financed and staffed, and free from undue influence;

12.  Calls on the Moldovan authorities to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, in the privatisation process and in public procurement, in order to ensure good governance, equal access and fair competition, and to strengthen further the supervision of the banking sector;

13.  Stresses the need to investigate properly and fully all allegations of violations of human rights, and in particular to tackle impunity and effectively prosecute perpetrators of ill-treatment and torture; urges the Commission, therefore, to provide assistance for government bodies to adequately address such violations with the necessary legal tools and social mechanisms aimed at the prevention of such crimes, and to work closely with civil society to help them assume an enhanced role in the protection of human rights;

14.  Highlights the importance of anti-discrimination legislation to ensure equality and protection for all minorities, in particular for ethnic, religious and LGBT minorities, and calls on the Moldovan authorities to remove all remaining discriminatory provisions; stresses the importance of the newly established Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality in the implementation of the Law Ensuring Equality of 2012;

15.  Calls on the government to provide adequate monitoring mechanisms and the resources necessary for the implementation of the legal guarantees for all national minorities and for broadening the scope of mother-tongue education for national and linguistic minorities ; stresses, furthermore, the importance for the government to conduct a dialogue with representatives of all ethnic minorities and provide technical and financial support for infrastructure improvements in the autonomous territorial unit of Gagauzia and the Taraklia district;

16.  Reiterates the need to strengthen and promote media freedom and plurality and to ensure the neutrality of publicly owned media, while also supporting independent media; expresses concern at the lack of transparency in media ownership and the concentrated nature of mass‑media ownership that weakens the plurality of the media landscape; urges the authorities, therefore, to facilitate a more competitive media market and ensure that all responsible agencies in the field of media comply with European standards on media freedom and pluralism;

17.  Welcomes Chapter 27 of the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement which focuses specifically on cooperation in the protection and promotion of the rights of the child and calls on both parties to support the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Association Agenda;

18.  Fully supports the visa-free regime for Moldovan citizens, recalling that the Republic of Moldova was the first Eastern Partner to reach this objective; calls on the Moldovan authorities to continue to disseminate information regarding rights and duties in relation to visa liberalisation;

19.  Takes note of the improvement in the capacities of the customs and border guard services and the continued demarcation of the border with Ukraine; welcomes the work of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) and the constructive cooperation of the Moldovan authorities;

20.  Calls on Chisinau and Comrat to continue to cooperate constructively in the spirit of trust and inclusive dialogue in order to successfully implement the Association Agreement and to establish a political environment that is conducive to further progress on the European path;

21.  Highlights the need to continue the work of professionalising and depoliticising central and local public administration, as this too will contribute greatly to the full implementation of the Association Agreement; calls on the Republic of Moldova to carry out the decentralisation strategy in an inclusive manner; points out the importance of effective local municipal authorities and adequate infrastructure in developing rural areas which is a pre-condition for reducing the rate of rural depopulation;

22.  Welcomes the political determination to fulfil the requirements of the Association Agreement and praises the modernisation efforts undertaken in the country; is aware, however, of the need to further consolidate democratic institutions and encourages the Government of the Republic of Moldova to continue to work hard on the implementation of the necessary measures; believes that political stability and enduring consensus on reforms, especially as regards the rule of law and independence from state institutions, are of paramount importance to Moldova’s European aspirations;

23.  Expects that the implementation of the Association Agreement/DCFTA will contribute to sustainable development and the smooth integration of the Moldovan economy into the world markets, stimulating its process of modernisation and creating better working conditions; urges the Commission to provide assistance and to advise Moldova on how to effectively deal with adaptation challenges in the short term, inter alia through cooperation with trade unions and the local business community;

24.  Continues to emphasise the need for a transparent business and investment environment, appropriate regulatory reform and the continuation of the privatisation process, in order to boost the competitiveness of the economy of the Republic of Moldova, encourage foreign direct investment and secure the sustainability of the measures taken to address the structural economic problems; highlights the need to extend value chains in agriculture as a pre-condition for economic and social development;

25.  Commends the Republic of Moldova’s determination and commitment to pursue closer economic ties with the EU by undertaking deep, complex and costly economic reforms; strongly believes that the DCFTA will have a long-term beneficial effect for the Republic of Moldova’s economy and will thus contribute to increasing the quality of life of its citizens;

26.  Underlines the fact that the success of the DCFTA is subject to the rapid, thorough and effective implementation by both parties of the commitments set out in the agreement; calls, in this respect, for the EU to provide the Republic of Moldova with all necessary financial and technical assistance, also with a view to alleviating short-term costs for the Republic of Moldova;

27.  Believes that parliamentary scrutiny is a fundamental condition for democratic support for EU policies; calls, therefore, on the Commission to facilitate in a timely manner the regular and detailed monitoring of the implementation of the DCFTA by Parliament;

28.  Notes that the DCFTA has been provisionally applied since 1 September 2014, following its signature on 27 June 2014 and Council Decision 2014/492/EU of 16 June 2014 on the signing and provisional application of the Association Agreement, based on a shared view of the EU institutions as regards the exceptional circumstances and the urgent need to support the country;

29.  Strongly deplores the continued use of trade by Russia as a means to destabilise the region by introducing several import bans on products from the Republic of Moldova, in violation of Russia’s WTO commitments; calls on the Russian Federation to respect fully the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and its European choice; supports fully the Commission’s initiatives aimed at countering the effects of the Russian embargo on Moldovan products, including by providing financial support and extending and deepening the autonomous trade preferences afforded to the Republic of Moldova;

30.  Welcomes the signature of the agreement on the participation of the Republic of Moldova in the Horizon 2020 framework programme on 1 July 2014; believes that cooperation under this framework will boost growth, innovation and competitiveness, creating new jobs and opportunities; calls for increased participation by the Republic of Moldova in Union programmes and agencies and for more twinning projects and student exchanges;

31.  Takes note of the recent revision of the energy strategy and calls on the Government of the Republic of Moldova to review and strengthen the 2013-2015 national action plan for energy efficiency, develop a credible and effective plan on renewable energy with a view to diversifying energy sources and align climate‑change policies and targets with those of the EU;

32.  Welcomes the opening of the Iași-Ungheni gas interconnector; calls on the Commission to intensify efforts in the construction of the Ungheni-Chisinau pipeline by, inter alia, facilitating co-financing by other international partners and strengthening financial support in order to finalise the project as soon as possible;

33.  Calls on Chisinau and Tiraspol to continue to engage constructively in order to find an effective solution for the settlement of the Transnistria issue and to take concrete steps to improve the livelihoods of the population; expresses disappointment that so far the ‘5+2’ framework has failed to offer a solution and demands a greater role for the EU, in particular by upgrading its status to that of a negotiating partner, and calls on all parties involved to use all instruments at their disposal to lay the foundations for constructive dialogue and to facilitate the rapid continuation of official talks; calls on the HR/VP and the EEAS to work proactively towards a comprehensive settlement that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and promotes confidence-building, working very closely with the competent structures of the OSCE; highlights the need to ensure that Transnistria, as an integral part of the Republic of Moldova, is covered by the reach and effects of the Association Agreement; encourages the Moldovan authorities, to this end, to reach out to the general population, the business community and civil society organisations; notes that any solution should be in line with and fully respect the principles of international law;

34.  Stresses the importance, in this respect, of enhancing people-to-people contacts at all levels in order to create the conditions for a sustained dialogue and further promote confidence-building with a view to stepping up the peace process and achieving reconciliation between the parties;

35.  Stresses the importance of its cooperation with the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova as a means of monitoring the implementation of the Association Agreement and Association Agenda;

36.  Calls on the Commission to step up the provision of assistance and expertise to civil society organisations in the Republic of Moldova in order to enable them to provide internal monitoring of, and accountability for, the reforms and commitments that the government has undertaken in the process of drafting and implementing legislation, as well as to help civil society enhance its organisational and advocacy capacity, its role in overseeing anti-discrimination and anti-corruption activities, and in general its role in fostering a culture of civic participation and volunteerism;

37.  Is concerned over Russia’s actions aimed at undermining the association process of the EU’s Eastern neighbours; reiterates its conviction that the association process of the EU’s Eastern partners is not a threat to Russia’s political and economic interests, and regrets that Russian leadership regards it as such; stresses that Russia’s concerns regarding the association process must be adequately addressed and explained, so as to ease fears of new geopolitical dividing lines on the European continent; notes that each country has every right to make its own political choices, but that the EU’s engagement with the Eastern partners aims to spread prosperity and increase political stability, from which the whole region will ultimately gain;

38.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.

(1) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 108.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0050.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0229.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0457.

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