Pulaski Foundation’s advocacy visit to Chisinau supports Moldova’s pro-EU aspirations
Learning about the current hybrid threats that Moldova is facing, response to refugee crisis caused by the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, challenges in the process of accession to the European Union as well as sending a strong message of support to Moldova were the main goals of the two-day visit to Chisinau, the country’s capital, paid by the representatives of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation.
On March 22-23, 2023 the Foundation’s representatives: Paweł Kowal, Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister Of Foreign Affairs of Poland (2018-2020), Bartłomiej Kot, Program Director of the Warsaw Security Forum and Tomasz Smura, Member of the Board and Head of the Research Office met with a number of high-level representatives of the central and local authorities in Moldova.
Day one of the visit started with the discussion on the most recent developments of the negotiating process on the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict with Oleg Serebrian, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration. Russian presence in the breakaway region remains to be a destabilizing factor for the country’s security and blocks the pathway to the peaceful resolution of the ‘frozen conflict’.
During the meeting with Nicu Popescu – Minister of Foreign Affairs – challenges to the Moldovan economy such as the impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine on the investment climate in the country, response to the 2022 energy crisis, and details of the implementation of the necessary reforms on the way to the EU were raised.
We also had the privilege of having a conversation with Tomasz Kobzdej – the Polish ambassador to Moldova.
On the next day the delegation met with the deputy mayors of the city of Chisinau – Olga Ursu, Angela Cutasevici and Ilie Ceban – and discussed the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, measures undertaken to provide necessary aid to the refugees from Ukraine and facilitate their integration in the society.
Afterwards, the Foundation’s representatives had an opportunity to visit the refugee center, where Ukrainian elderly, women and children fleeing from the Russian hostilities in the East and South of Ukraine, have stayed since February 2022. In cooperation with international donors Moldova continues to provide support to the displaced persons and remains to be a shelter for tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
The delegation received a friendly and warm reception at the Moldovan branch of the Solidarity Fund PL (Fundacja Solidarności Międzynarodowej) led by Tomasz Horbowski. The key enterprises undertaken by the Fund focus on improving the quality of life in the rural areas, revitalizing the cities and strengthening the civil protection capacities.
Strengthening of bilateral relations between Poland and Moldova, disinformation and other hybrid threats generated by Russia were the major topics of the meeting with Ana Racu – vice-chairwoman of the commission of National Security, Defense and Public Order in the Moldovan parliament – and Larisa Voloh, MP from the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity.
The field trip to Chisinau was concluded with the visit to the Presidential Palace, where the delegation had a fruitful conversation with Andrei Spinu, Secretary General of the Office of the President. We discussed the current main priorities during the official accession negotiations with the EU as well as challenges to attract investments into the country’s economy, especially in infrastructure and energy sector.
With the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine and rise of Russia’s hybrid warfare against Moldova, it is important to readdress the long-lasting problem of Transnistria, as it remains to be one of the sources of instability in Central and Eastern Europe. Other topics of high importance are Moldova’s potential membership in the European Union, the country’s policy of neutrality and need for solid security guarantees. Last but not last, Moldova’s role in the Black Sea region has the potential to grow, which might also positively impact the security environment in the region. For this reason, Moldova-related topics will be present in the agenda of the 2023 edition of the Warsaw Security Forum, the key platform for advocating the region’s common interests.