EPC Summit – opportunities opened up for high-value agriculture and export of Moldovan products. IPN debate

The European Political Community Summit held in Moldova on June 1 opened up new opportunities not only for the diplomatic relations, but also for the economic ones. The credit of trust given to Moldova should be fully made use of and should be turned into sustainable partnerships with countries of the whole European community, said experts invited to IPN’s public debate “EPC Summit – opportunities opened up for high-value agriculture and export of Moldovan products”.

“This summit is a historical one for the Republic of Moldova and its impact will be felt immediately given that we will gain access to the EU’s market with 500 million consumers. This is a very large market situated close to us. In the immediate period, we aim to meet the necessary conditions so as to open the negations and to become a fully-fledged member of the EU so as to fully access this market. The business community also waits for this possibility. It is important to do our homework well in the period. I speak about state institutions, the business community and surely the policies we must implement in compliance with the EU’s and the legislation we must harmonize,” said Iurie Scripnic, secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

Ex-minister of agriculture, regional development and environment Nicolae Ciubuc said that Moldova was in time offered a credit of trust, but the problem resides in the way in which this trust was used.

“This is an informal communication platform. It wasn’t a summit about the Republic of Moldova and we deduced this from the agenda that was made public. We didn’t see any subject related to a problem or another. For example, the problem of agricultural producers that now experience different serious problems related to access to inputs, high production costs, lack of export markets and of logistics chains as a result of the war. These things undoubtedly affect the producers. Such elements haven’t been discussed. There were made only statements of encouragement and support, which should be put to good use,” stated Nicolae Ciubuc.

The head of the Association of Grape Producers and Exporters Gheorghe Gaberi said the EPC Summit was indeed an event that triggered more discussions on Moldova’s accession to the EU, but the hardest work will yet follow after the accession negotiations are started.

“I consider the summit was an event in the process of joining the EU. It was surely a very important event because such events weren’t held earlier, especially the Republic of Moldova. But all the benefits will come during the accession negotiations and when respective funds are allocated. Surely, since the free trade agreement was signed in 2014, the Republic of Moldova benefitted from privileges to enter the EU market. The grape producers were the first that fully used the quota of 10,000 tonnes and that was later raised for several times and they every time benefitted from access to the EU market. The Eastern market for many years had beam the central market for table grapes, but last year this central market was the EU. Romania alone imported over 25,000 tonnes of table grapes, but we export to over 30 countries, to practically all the EU states and states that are not yet EU members. To my mind, the accession to the EU will first of all create possibilities for our farmers, our fruit, grape producers and other agricultural producers to benefit primarily from technologies that are applied there,” stated Gheorghe Gaberi.

The executive director of the Association of Fruit Producers and Exporters “Moldova Fruct” Iurie Fală said the EPC Summit managed to bring Moldova’s image to a new level and made the European leaders see the country, beyond the negative things and problems existing here.

“This is a unique chance. We had such a unique chance in 2014. A number of summits of agriculture ministers from all the EU and Eastern Partnership countries were held and we also attended these. The summit of ministers of foreign affairs was held and this offered the then authorities a credit of trust. Regrettably, we didn’t take that chance and we must admit it. A new credit of trust is given. I want to say that these funds that were promised are real and it depends on us how well and how sensibly we do those reforms that haven’t been yet implemented. For example, we implemented only the ENPARD 1 agriculture support program, but the Balkan countries reached ENPARD 2, 3, 4. I think this is a failure of the previous governments. We hope the lesson will be learned by the current government as we must move on quickly,” stated Iurie Fală.

The public debate entitled “EPC Summit – opportunities opened up for high-value agriculture and export of Moldovan products” was the eighth installment of IPN’s project “Support for European Integration by stimulating discussion in the mass media about the European Political Community (EPC) Summit” that is supported by Soros Foundation Moldova.

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