The Slovenia Times

Austria and Slovenia back Moldova on path to EU

Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar (right) and Austrian Presiden Alexander Van der Bell visit Moldova at the invitation of counterpart Maia Sandu. Photo: Office of the Slovenian president.

Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar and her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen visited Moldova on 16 and 17 November to express support for the country's EU future and its reform efforts.

The two presidents were invited to Chisinau by their Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu, who is a strong advocate for her country's EU membership. They also met the country's other most senior officials.

Slovenia will continue to assist Moldova and provide political support on its path to the EU, Pirc Musar pledged after the talks on 16 November.

Slovenia has been a strong supporter of EU expansion to Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Western Balkan countries.

Apart from hailing the Moldovan president's efforts on Slovenia's behalf, Pirc Musar also praised the determination of the Moldovan government to "bring the country closer to EU standards".

The three presidents exchanged views on hotspots around the world, particularly the war in neighbouring Ukraine, with Pirc Musar saying that everyone must strive for fundamental principles, international law, human rights, and humanity.

She praised Moldova for showing "its heart and accepting thousands of refugees from Ukraine".

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from January 2024 Slovenia will advocate for respect for international law and the rights of children and women in armed conflicts.

In this regard, Slovenia hopes for close cooperation and consultation with Moldova on issues concerning the region, Pirc Musar said.

Importance of reforms and public trust

As Pirc Musar and Van der Bellen met National Bank Governor Octavian Armasu on 17 November, Pirc Musar pointed to the benefits of EU membership. EU enlargement is the right way forward, she said.

Slovenia has been an EU member state for twenty years and its GDP per capita has nearly doubled during this period, she said. She pledged Slovenia's support and assistance in the negotiation process.

Accession negotiations are a specific process that requires adapting, reshaping and the support of the entire society, to whose progress it will ultimately lead, she said as quoted by her office.

Pirc Musar, Van der Bellen and Moldovan President Maia Sandu also participated in a discussion with students of the Moldova State University that focused on the challenges Moldova faces as it prepares to join the EU, the significance of reforms and the importance of participation by the entire society.

Pirc Musar praised the progress Moldova has made and encouraged the policy makers and the Moldovan society to continue their efforts in justice reform and the fight against corruption.

She underlined the importance of the public's trust in institutions, saying this was a key element of a well-functioning democracy.

"My vision of Europe is unity, power and inclusion," she was quoted as saying by her office, adding that Moldova, with its unique contribution, plays a key role in fulfilling this vision.

She urged the students to recognise the significant role they play in shaping Moldova's future, which, she said, belongs to the young generations.


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