Dear Madam President Katerina Sakellaropoulou,
First of all, please accept my sincere condolences on the tragic accident that happened last night in Greece. Today, our thoughts are with you, with the Greek people, and with those who lost loved ones in this accident.
I ask you all to begin this press conference by keeping one minute of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident.
Dear Madam President,
Your visit to Chisinau comes after a break of almost 20 years since the last visit of a Greek president to our country. Your visit comes at a complicated time for our region and for the whole European continent.
For a year now, we have been living next to Russia's brutal war against the neighboring and peaceful state – Ukraine. The war also affects the well-being and security of the Republic of Moldova.
In these circumstances, your visit is a signal of support from Greece, which we greatly appreciate. It is also symbolic that you are visiting us on 1 March, the day we celebrate the "Martisor", the symbol of spring and the rebirth of nature. Your arrival here in Chisinau gives a new impetus to Moldovan-Hellenic bilateral relations.
The Republic of Moldova and Greece have many things in common and have developed good relations in the almost 31 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations.
We appreciate Greece’s support for the Republic of Moldova’s European path.
Last summer, our country received the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union. This is the path we have chosen for our future in the free family of European states, where everyone can live in peace and well-being.
Our country is determined to make rapid progress towards European integration. We are ready to make every effort in this regard. Once the conditions proposed by the European Commission for the opening of accession negotiations are met, we will continue to count on the support of the Greek government and on Greece's experience in this process.
In this context, the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of diplomatic training, which was signed a short time ago by our colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will help us to achieve this goal.
We appreciate, Madam President, the hospitality with which Greece has received the approximately 20 thousand Moldovans settled in your country. The Moldovan Diaspora helps our countries get to know each other better and serves as a cultural bridge between Moldova and Greece.
Last year, our countries signed and ratified the Moldovan-Hellenic Agreement on social protection, which allows citizens who have worked in both countries to receive a pension for their work experience accumulated in each country. The agreement entered into force on January 1, 2023.
We are interested in Moldovan-Hellenic cooperation in the energy field. Our country has been severely affected by the energy crisis, but we have still managed to diversify our energy sources and will continue to invest in the country's energy security.
Last year, Moldova bought gas, for the first time, from alternative sources. Our country has also synchronized with the European electricity grid and bought electricity from the European market.
We are interested in cooperating in this area with Greece, which is currently an important regional energy hub. Our cooperation will cover both the purchase of liquefied gas and their transportation to Moldova and beyond.
Dear Madam President,
We cherish the cultural affinities between our peoples and the good relations we have built over the centuries. 202 years ago, the leader of Filiki Eteria, Alexander Ypsilantis, launched the revolutionary movement in Chisinau, which fought for the independence of Greece. The bond between our countries is undeniable.
We will continue to expand cultural, educational, and tourism contacts between our countries to give our people more opportunities to get to know each other better. We will continue the dialogue between our governments and countries for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.
Moldova could withstand this year thanks to the support of our development partners, who have shown us that we are not alone. The European Union, EU Member States, the United States, and other countries have stood by us and offered us help. We sincerely appreciate this support and we continue to count on the further assistance of our partners in the coming period.
Despite the crises our country is facing, the Republic of Moldova is determined to remain part of the free world. Moldovans want to live in their country, in peace and freedom.
Today, the priority of the international community is the defense of freedom and peace in Europe. We must support Ukraine in this unjust war, and help it stop the Russian invasion and occupation. And once peace is restored, Moldova, together with the community of European states, together with the international community, will help rebuild and consolidate a free Europe.