Opening Remarks by Commissioner Várhelyi at the Screening Conference in Moldova

Opening remarks - Moldova

I'm very happy to be here. I am very happy that we could combine this visit with the first screening of these accession negotiations with you.

It's been only a couple of weeks ago that we met in Luxembourg where the first Intergovernmental Conference was organised. To follow that up, we started doing the work immediately, because as you know the whole process of accession negotiations start with the screening exercise.

As bureaucratic and administrative it might sound, this is the bedrock of the accession negotiations themselves because this is the process through which you will get to see the entirety of all the conditions that you would have to meet to become a Member State. This is also serving us as the basis of understanding on when and how Moldova could develop itself to be a Member State.

This is much more than just comparing legislations; this is much more than just going through administrative details; this is also about building up institutions that are capable of enforcing those rules that are to be transposed.

I think since Moldova's application for membership in 2022, you have already come a long way. You have acquired quite some speed and have shown very strong determination. However, that has only been the beginning, the hard work will only start now.

This is why I want to, of course, commend you for all the work and the reforms that you have done. I have just seen Speaker of Parliament and the opposition. I also thankedthem, because it is not only the Government that has delivered but also the Parliament has delivered in many, many reforms that have been long outstanding, especially when it comes to the rule of law area and its critical issues like reform of the judiciary and the fight against corruption. These were very important to achieve the start of the accession negotiations.

So, I think that with this in mind and also not forgetting about the broader geopolitical and political context, namely the pressure from Russia that you are subjected to: be it through your energy system vulnerabilities, cyber-attacks, illicit cash flows - you name it, today I think my list only got longer.

You are standing firm and of course we are also standing firm in supporting you. This is why I think it is extremely important that we pick up this work immediately.

My colleagues have told me that we have 1200 Commission experts with over 4000 highly relevant questions that will be addressed, and you have 150,000 pages of EU acquis to go through.

This is of course extremely important for the process to go forward. But it is equally important to talk about the benefits this will bring directly to the citizens.

You have already mentioned gradual integration. This is something which is a novelty, which we would be able to do in parallel to the screening exercise. Regarding the screening exercise, those are going to be critical because it is through the screening exercise that we can see which are the areas that you are capable of delivering full compliance with and enforcement of our rules, so that you can already enjoy the benefits of the Single Market in areas where you are able to deliver early. Because of course, gradual integration means – and this is the flip side of the coin - if you want to make use of it, you will have to comply fully, even before accession, with the criteria under review.

And the other big topic I think that you will have to address is how you're going to be able to enforce these rules. So, obviously capacity building is going to be even more important topic because it is not only the rules that are necessary to be taken over, but also that they need to be fully enforced.

And that brings me to the topic of today because it seems that you are starting with the public procurement. Chapter 5, that of course brings back some memories to me because when I started my career in the Hungarian State Administration in 1996, that was one of my chapters. So, I know the feeling, I started exactly the same way. I was in the bilateral screenings;I was participating in the revision of the Hungarian public performance rules back then. So, I know the feeling.

Public procurement for example is not only important because it is part and parcel of the fundamentals cluster, which is the rule of law area as you know and with which any opening of negotiations on clusters will start with Moldova, but this would be the last cluster to be closed. This is going to be an overarching theme throughout the accession negotiations - meaning that your general progress in the accession negotiations is going to be very much based on your progress in the fundamentals cluster.

So, you have to make progress in the fundamentals cluster to be able to make progress also in the sectorial. Publicprocurement in that regard is this going to be extremely important but the transparency, the fairness and value for money principle that it brings, should also bring you probably access to European public procurement markets as you apply the same rules. And these rules are also going to be tremendously important when it comes to the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan and the Growth Plan, that we will discuss later with the President, Prime Minister and also the Deputy Prime Minister.

So, as you apply public procurement rules of the European Union, it means that you can bring EU funds closer and faster to Moldova.

So, without any further due, I don't want to prolong this part of the meeting because I know that you're busy, I just want to tell you that you are embarking on a very unique experience - I know, I was there.

This should also bring you a transformation on the ground. So do not only take it as just a mere administrative process, but also use it as a springboard for continuing the change and for accelerating the change so that your people can enjoy the benefits of the European Union maybe even before enlargement.

Thank you very much.

Zařazenost 10.07.2024 13:07:00
ZdrojEvropská komise en

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