Vlad Filat is Moldova’s new prime minister. The pro-western leader took charge last month after the ruling communists were ousted in an election re-run in July. That snap poll came less than four months after a disputed vote saw large-scale social unrest. A major political hurdle for Moldova’s government remains the election of a new president. Located between Romania and Ukraine the former Soviet republic declared independence in 1991. Next door to Moldova is the breakaway region of Transnistria, whose final status is still disputed. euronews met Vlad Filat in Brussels, as the newly appointed prime minister paid his first visit.
Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘Prime minister, two general elections took place this year followed by unrest. Do you think the internal political crisis has been resolved?’‘ Prime Minister Vlad Filat: ‘‘We are not able to say that the political crisis has been overcome. Twice we’ve had general elections – one of those was a snap election — but both came after eight years of communist rule in Moldova. A government which has not only been communist in name but in reality. During that time people were deprived of their rights and liberty. The government showed its true face on the election of April 5th, but particularly during demonstrations on April 7th. The results were tragic.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘Prime minister — What will happen if Parliament is unable to choose a new president?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘For the election of a new president 61 out of 101 parliamentary votes are required. The Alliance for European Integration governing the Republic currently has 53 seats. Eight more votes are needed and the Communist Party has said it will give those. Of course there is no cast iron guarantee that these votes will materialise, but under present circumstances we believe the communists will vote this way. Otherwise they will have to take responsibility for what happens to our country. We shouldn’t exclude the possibility that a president will not be elected and that will mean early elections next year.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘What are the main goals of your government?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘We have five priorities. They are, the proper integration of Moldova into the EU, the rule of law – this is a very, very important principle for our party, to overcome the deep economic crisis in Moldova today, to ensure proper autonomy, and re-integration of our country is also a top priority.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘What about relations with the European Union. What do you mean when you talk about integrating Moldova into the structures of the EU?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘Of course the final goal is for Moldova to join the EU. But we’ll accomplish this over a period of time. At the moment, it’s not possible to define this period. However, we have to obtain values for our citizens. We are shortly looking forward to finalising talks and signing a new agreement with the EU. We are going to complete — and we really want to succeed in that — in liberalising the visa system for Moldovan citizens.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘Do you think the strong ties your country has with Russia might be an obstacle for the integration of Moldova into the EU?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘No, I don’t, because the European option is not something for the party or the government to decide. It’s for the people of Moldova. Most of them see the country’s future in the EU. Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: “Would you like to re-integrate Transnistria back into Moldova? If so, how would you do this?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘In the framework of a peaceful and ordered process. We would like the EU to take a more important role in negotiations and the United States too. We want reintegration of the country, we want to re-integrate fully the people rather than this just being a technical issue.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘Prime minister, aren’t you afraid that Russia might react in the same way it did with the breakaway Georgian state of South Ossetia?’‘ Vlad Filat: “No we’re not worried about our commitment. We’ve made a very strong promise to Moldovans and I can’t see any reason for Russia to react. The Republic of Moldova is an independent, sovereign – and what is very important – a unitary state, as stipulated in our constitution. The Russian Federation has recognised this and has to respect Moldova’s rights. This means Russia must withdraw its weapons and troops and stop supporting the separatist regime in Transnistria.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘Has there been any economic pressure on the part of Russia?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘I wouldn’t say that there’s been economic pressure but we have to recognize we’re hugely dependant on Russia. First, in terms of energy security, we are totally dependent on Russia for the supply of natural gas. We are also greatly dependent on certain food exports.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘What about unification with Romania?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘I think this is speculation being pushed by our political opponents. We aim to put ourselves in the unique sphere of the European Union’s values.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: “Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. How does your government plan to improve this situation?” Vlad Filat: ‘‘First of all we have to ensure good governance in Moldova, then we have to liberalise the economy to establish favourable conditions to encourage investment and to encourage outside investment. On the other hand, we also have to ensure an efficient legal system so that Moldovans don’t just have declared rights but have their rights guaranteed.’‘ Rudolph Herbert – European Affairs Reporter, euronews: ‘‘What is the key problem your government should or has to solve?’‘ Vlad Filat: ‘‘Unfortunately we have a lot of problems and all of them are burning issues? But if I have to identify one it would be to find as quickly as possible the resources to finance the budget deficit. It’s huge and its just a small part of what we’ve inherited from the communists after they left office. At the same time we have to implement a raft of urgent reforms for the future of economic development. That will enable us to have the necessary resources to become self-reliant.’‘