Dear Prime Minister De Croo,
Welcome to the Republic of Moldova! Thank you for your visit when we face difficult times in our region.
A month ago, we marked 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, and your visit is a good opportunity to boost political dialogue and strengthen bilateral relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Kingdom of Belgium.
We have a good cooperation agenda, which I would have liked to discuss in peacetime. Unfortunately, since the 24th of February, we all have been living in the harsh reality of Russia's war against Ukraine. What is happening today in Ukrainian towns and villages is outrageous and tragic. This war must cease and the war crimes must be investigated and punished.
The Republic of Moldova strongly condemned this ruthless war. We called for peace to be restored from the very first day. Our people opened their homes and their hearts to offer shelter to refugees from Ukraine.
More than 90 thousand people remain in the Republic of Moldova today, and half of them are children. Most of the refugees are housed in people's homes.
In this context, I thank the Belgian Government for the humanitarian aid, worth 210 thousand euros. It includes tents, sanitary kits for refugees and 40 small generators, and was provided to our country through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The generators were distributed to fire and rescue stations in several districts of the country.
Dear Prime Minister,
The war has also a major economic impact on the Republic of Moldova. The imports and exports to Eastern markets are halted, and the spiralling price rises and energy insecurity have a negative impact on the economy and on our citizens.
We need help to overcome these difficult problems. Opening up the Belgian market for Moldovan fruits, but also for other products that cannot reach traditional markets because of the war, would be a direct support for our producers.
Despite all the challenges we face today, we want to further develop the country and strengthen Moldova's resilience, stability and adaptability.
We wish to build a strong state that can provide security and quality services to its citizens. We want to be able to continue the justice reform and the fight against corruption. We want to develop a modern economy and give our young people the chance to work and live at home.
In uncertain times, we must offer citizens the prospect of a better, safer and more prosperous life. Therefore, the Republic of Moldova applied for membership of the European Union on 4 March, reaffirming our country's attachment to European values and our firm commitment to the European path.
The European Commission sent to the Republic of Moldova the accession questionnaire earlier this week. Our answers to the questionnaire will assess our current situation and highlight to us where we need to make further efforts to prepare for accession.
In this context, we count on Belgium's support for accepting the Republic of Moldova's application and obtaining candidate country status.
The process of European integration is a complex and lengthy one. We understand this and we are ready to do our homework in order to offer our citizens the future they deserve: a future in the family of European states.
Dear Prime Minister,
Our countries have developed good cooperation relations over the past 30 years. 152 companies with Belgian capital are currently operating in the Republic of Moldova. We want to expand Belgian investment in our country and we believe we have good growth potential in this respect.
As of today, we signed 32 bilateral treaties, covering areas of cooperation such as: mutual investment promotion and protection, education and culture, labour, road transport and social security.
We want to expand bilateral cooperation in more areas. We want to establish a Moldovan-Belgian partnership in the field of justice, intensify our cooperation in the fight against corruption and the recovery of stolen assets.
We have great potential of cooperation in the field of regional development and infrastructure.
We wish to deepen economic exchanges, social and cultural contacts between the Republic of Moldova and the Kingdom of Belgium in the mutual benefit of our citizens. But we need peace for accomplishing these goals.
The war in Ukraine must be ceased. The aggressor must be stopped. Let's do everything to keep the peace, to stop the tragedy and destruction of war. We owe this to the Ukrainians. We owe this to our common future: peaceful, prosperous, in a free world.