Three years of political stalemate in Moldova ended in March with the election of President Nicolae Timofti.
His republic sits between Romania and Ukraine, a former Soviet republic with fragile relations with a breakaway region, Transnistria, that needs mediation from the EU, US, Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE, the 5+2 group.
Moldova is desperately poor and has a militarised eastern border, yet is determined to become an EU member alongside its western neighbour Romania.
Speaking to the president during his first trip abroad euronews asked Nicolae Timofti why he had chosen to only come to Brussels.
Nicolae Timofti: “I advanced the concept that we, all the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, should gather round an idea. This should be European integration.”
euronews: “What does Europe mean for your country?”
Nicolae Timofti: “First of all Europe means respect for human rights; restarting an economy based on competition, and it means respect for property law.”
euronews: “Don’t you think that there is a contradiction between the fact that the Republic of Moldova is still a member of the Community of Independent States and on the other hand it is taking big steps towards Europe?”
Nicolae Timofti: “I wouldn’t say that there is a contradiction, I would rather talk about a clear purpose of the present government and of our nation. It is not a coincidence that hundreds of thousands of Moldovans are working in European countries. I also would like to say that I feel sorry about the fact that many of them are getting there illegally. We are aware of it, the countries in which our citizens are working are aware too. We would like to change the terms so that they don’t need to hide themselves and don’t try other ways than legal ones.”
euronews: “Are negotiations about an ‘Association Agreement’ between your country and the European Union moving forward?”
Nicolae Timofti: “The Republic of Moldova is taking concrete action and moving forward quickly, carrying out all its duties to ensure its integration.”
euronews: “When do you hope to sign the agreement?”
Nicolae Timofti: “I hope it will happen soon, but because I am realistic I know it will not happen next year or in the next years to come. I hope it will be within a reasonable time.”
euronews: “Let us talk about another issue: Transnistria. How can this problem be solved?”
Nicolae Timofti: “The problem is going to be solved in the so-called 5+2 meetings. We hope the conflict will be solved peacefully.”
euronews: “What are the roots of the conflict?”
Nicolae Timofti: “The political interests of some states, among them Russia.”
euronews: “Who is helping you in solving the conflict?”
Nicolae Timofti: “We do get the help of the European Union, the US and of some other countries who are interested in a climate of peace in this part of Europe.”
euronews: “Do you think it will take much more time in order to find a solution for this conflict?”
Nicolae Timofti: “Recently there have been some good signs of a return towards understanding and cooperation with the Left Bank of the Dniester. A short time ago our prime minister reopened rail freight traffic.”
euronews: “Are you not afraid that Transnistria might become for your country a region similar to what South Ossetia is for Georgia?”
Nicolae Timofti: “I wouldn’t make this comparison because we are in a different geographical zone.”
euronews: “There have been press reports saying that Russia might set up a radar station in Transnistria if NATO installed elements of a missile defence system in Romania. Would you comment on this media reports?”
Nicolae Timofti: “After a meeting I had with Russian Deputy Premier Rogozin I read that he might have made declarations like this. During the talks he didn’t make such declarations. When this information on what apparently he said,was published Rogozin denied that he has made such declarations. In reality during the talks he never posed the problem like this.”
euronews: “Is it hard to be the president of a country which has to fight with poverty and a lot of other problems?”
Nicolae Timofti: “Of course it isn’t easy. It’s very hard, but I took this responsibility in order to help tackle the problem of poverty. I would like to contribute to a higher standard of living for my country.”