Strasbourg, 19 April 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to take part in the official launch of the Council of Europe Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova 2021-2024. This ceremony should have taken place in Chisinau, but the pandemic changed our plans - I am happy to attend it here, in the beautiful Strasbourg.
I also greet the delegates of the Rapporteur Group on Democracy (GR-DEM) of the Committee of Ministers - some of whom I met in Moldova in October 2019.
Moldova has had a very fruitful relation with the Council of Europe since joining the organization in 1995. It has been a democracy academy of sorts for my country, in our post-Soviet transition. With help from the Council, we adopted legislation, put the fundamentals of key new institutions, and educated our citizens in the spirit of respect for the rule of law, human rights and freedoms.
We are very thankful for your assistance. But, as you know, our work is far from being over. Your continued support, Madam Secretary General, for our prolonged path towards a consolidated democracy, is highly appreciated.
Since 2012, the Council of Europe and Moldova have structured their cooperation in a strategic manner, via multi-year Action Plans with interventions in key areas. And despite some challenges and political turmoil, the first two Action Plans achieved some good results in their areas of intervention.
I thank the Council of Europe Programs team, the Secretariat and the Office in Chișinău for the work you all put into drafting and implementing these programs. Many thanks to the donors, who made that work possible with their generous contributions.
The third Council of Europe Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova - the document we launch today - will continue in the path set out by the previous efforts.
Fighting against corruption and justice sector reform are the number one priority of this new roadmap. As you know, this is also my top priority for the Republic of Moldova. I welcome the projects included in the Action Plan aimed at enhancing the accountability and independence of the judiciary, and developing the capacity of law enforcement institutions to tackle corruption and money laundering.
The new plan will continue the efforts to improve election law and practices, improve media and internet governance legislation and practices, and fight violence against women and children.
The Action Plan for 2021-2024 will also address challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, with efforts going towards defending human rights in the healthcare sector, but also strengthening local self-government. As a nation hit hard by the pandemic, we welcome your assistance in addressing the social consequences of this crisis.
On behalf of Moldovans, I thank all the donors who already committed funds to support the new Action Plan. I hope that the full amount needed to implement our agenda will be secured in time. The new Action Plan reconfirms Moldova’s commitment to deepen our cooperation with the Council of Europe, and our intent to continue the transformation of the country. Good luck and full speed ahead to the teams implementing this new program!
The Council of Europe has been by our side for nearly 26 years - a reliable partner, a keeper of European values and standards, a host for open and honest debates. This relationship is invaluable to us.
As President, I am determined to revert the setbacks in our democratic development and build rule of law in Moldova. Our people want institutions that work for them - and they deserve that. I count on the support of your organization in this endeavour.
And when the pandemic is over, I look forward to welcoming you all in Moldova.