Moldovan-Romanian cooperation in accessing European funds. IPN debate

Moldova’s EU pre-accession stage is the stage for which Moldova is to prepare in order to access funds. The preparations concern both state institutions and the local and regional public authorities. The example of Romania, an EU member country since 2007, in the field of attracting European funds is a relevant one. What is being done to create a framework needed to transmit or learn from the advanced experiences in terms of accessing European funds and also how the Republic of Moldova and Romania can join forces to create a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation to access important projects that are financed directly with EU funds were the main subjects discussed by the experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Moldovan-Romanian cooperation in accessing European funds”.

Tana Alexandra Foarfă, director of “Europuls” Center of European Expertise based in Brussels, adviser on economic policies in the European Parliament, said that, pragmatically speaking, a certain symbolism and an official start of accession are needed, but, nevertheless, she believes that Moldova’s European path has already begun. “The road to accession is not something that comes on a specific date. It is important to realize that we are on this road towards the European Union and that all the preparations have already started. Even before the opening of all negotiations and even when getting ready to grant the status of candidate country, at the European level they had been discussing already how to build a support package for Moldova,” she said.

“As citizens, we must realize that the European Union is not something far away to which we only aspire and with which we can have a connection bridge at some point, over the years. In fact, it is a body that helps and supports step by step throughout this process. And there are about five key priorities through which the European Union invites us to access funding opportunities and not only funding, but also technical support opportunities. That is all this assistance or support is needed by all the countries that are at this initial stage. The European Union also comes to support the Republic of Moldova with funding and project ideas,” stated Tana Alexandra Foarfă.

Iurie Calestru, program director of the Institute for Development and Expertise of Projects (IDEP), believes that Moldova benefits from the opportunity to learn good practices from Romania and to omit those gaps in the process of integration into the European Union so that this is fast and felt by the citizens, given that Romania is already an EU member state. According to him, IDEP analyzes the most appropriate ways to support the Moldovan authorities in the EU integration process by establishing inter-institutional partnerships that will boost the absorption rate of European funds, borrowing good practices from Romania.

Iurie Calestru noted that Romania has an impressive absorption rate of European funds in the financial year, of over 90%. “In this regard, specialists from Romanian and EU institutions could pass on their experience to counterparts from the Republic of Moldova, and together they could take the necessary steps to bring European standards closer to the citizens in localities, districts, municipalities so that all the citizens feel the increase in living standards and the ensuring of a synergy of infrastructure, services similar to the EU’s, at the level of the Republic of Moldova,” he said.

Dionisie Ternovschi, chairman of the Ungheni District Council, said that Ungheni municipality had implemented an ambitious European program during almost five years. “A lot of work was done on it, but also saw the benefits felt by the residents of the district. It was a program that should be replicated more extensively, throughout the country. The program acted a lot both on infrastructure and on soft elements, on services. In practical terms, the European Union came up with particular solutions for Moldova, especially in terms of regionalization. We need to get out of the comfort zone and talk more about voluntary amalgamation and efficiency because it is good to learn the best practices in Europe and understand that these actions bring only benefits,” stated Dionisie Ternovschi.

The head of the Ungheni District Council also said that many cross-border programs and projects have been implemented, both in the municipality and in the district. Over the past few years, many things have been achieved and can be shown as models of benefits generated by the European funds. “These funds came in the form of grants. When the people ask themselves “how, does the EU give so much money for nothing?”, I answer that it is not for nothing, but it must be returned through attitude, democracy, freedom of thought and change of mentality. Both the public authorities and the NGOs must get involved to promote the idea of a free world in which peace persists,” stated Dionisie Ternovschi.

The public debate entitled “Moldovan-Romanian cooperation in accessing European funds” was the second installment of the series “Double integration through cooperation and information. Continuity”. IPN News Agency carries out this project with the support of the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova of the Government of Romania. The content of this debate doesn’t represent the official position of the Department for Relations with the Republic of Moldova.

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