During the 29 November Eastern Partnership Summit, the EU - Moldova Association Agreement was initialled. The Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, will further strengthen political, economic and trade relations between the EU and the Republic of Moldova.
On the occasion of the November 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, the High Representative for the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and their Moldovan counterparts initialled an Association Agreement in order to further strengthen relations and cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Moldova and their citizens. The initialling of the Agreement is an important step towards its eventual signature and subsequent implementation.
Although the Association Agreement has not yet been signed, the EU is committed to sharing what exactly it contains.
The Association Agreement is a concrete way to take advantage of the very positive dynamics in EU-Moldova relations. It focuses on support for core reforms, economic recovery, governance, sector cooperation and the far reaching liberalisation of Moldova's trade with the EU.
The Association Agreement aims to deepen political and economic relations between Moldova and the EU, and to gradually integrate Moldova into the EU Internal Market-the largest single market in the world. This includes the setting up of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which is a core part of the Agreement.
Core reforms: reforms are foreseen in a number of key areas, including public governance, justice, law enforcement, economic recovery and growth, consumer protection and sectors such as energy, transport, environmental protection, industrial development, social development and protection, education, youth and culture.
Values: The Agreement puts a strong emphasis on democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, a well-functioning market economy and sustainable development.
Trade: The Agreement will offer Moldova a framework for modernising its trade relations and for economic development by the opening of markets through the progressive removal of customs tariffs and quotas, and by the extensive harmonisation of laws, norms and regulations in various trade-related sectors. This will create the conditions which allow key sectors of the Moldovan economy to EU standards.
Once signed and implemented, concrete benefits can flow from the Agreement. Examples include a better protection of consumers, in particular through a higher quality and safety of locally grown agricultural products; more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises through a wider opening of markets and, as a result, more jobs and less out-migration; lower prices for consumers and for better-quality products; better access to improved health services; and lower energy bills thanks to more efficient use of energy resources and the development of renewable energy sources; a better functioning of the judiciary and the strengthened rule of law and increased transparency.
Cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Moldova is already profound, even before the implementation of the Association Agreement.