Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here in Kyiv once again standing with President Zelenskyy as Ukraine continues to heroically resist Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
I am delighted, too, to be standing alongside President Michel, our friend and supporter as both of our countries seek a future inside the European Union.
Thank you for our very good discussions today.
On this significant anniversary, ten years since brave Ukrainians began the wave of protests known as Euromaidan, I am proud to honour their legacy.
They were rallying for a better life in Europe – free from Russia’s influence, free to decide their own future. Some made the ultimate sacrifice. I pay my deepest respects to them.
Their legacy is that Ukraine today, like Moldova, is choosing a democratic European future instead of giving in to the authoritarian repression by an external force which wants to control our destiny.
President Zelenskyy, today I thank you on behalf of the people of the Republic of Moldova for the huge sacrifice that your soldiers are making on the battlefield to resist Russian brutality, and the sacrifice that all Ukrainians are making to keep their country free and independent.
Without this resistance, we in Moldova know that our country would be next on Russia’s hit list for occupation. Next and probably not the last.
By defending Ukraine, you are defending Moldova too.
Moldova stands and will continue standing with Ukraine.
Ukrainians will always be welcome in our country for as long as necessary. Our roads and railways - the Solidarity Lanes - will help Ukrainian goods to reach export markets.
We are training Ukrainian de-mining teams and joining an international de-mining coalition.
Moldova is also providing humanitarian aid including equipment necessary for an uninterrupted delivery of electricity in people’s homes.
Standing by Ukraine also means supporting your ten-point peace plan, President Zelenskyy, and efforts to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities that it has unleashed. You can count on us to be loud advocates of your aims. They are our aims too.
Russia’s hybrid attacks on Moldova show no sign of stopping. And the faster we move towards the EU, the closer we get to eventual membership, the stronger and more sophisticated the attacks will be to prevent our course.
The latest efforts came in our local elections, earlier this month, through the criminal proxies who do Moscow’s dirty work on the ground. Parties set up to further Russia’s cause attempted to bribe their way to victory and pay for votes – smuggling in money to fund their activities. I am glad to say that our institutions frustrated their attempts. We could not allow that to happen.
We also know that we are a testing ground - if Russia succeeds in Moldova it will try to use the same methods elsewhere in Europe.
All of this is why, President Michel, EU accession for both Moldova and Ukraine matters.
It would consolidate our democratic progress.
It would emphasise the continent’s commitment to peace, security and solidarity.
It would send a message that democracy wins over an imperial power desperately trying to recreate its sphere of influence.
We know that accession is based on merit and we, like Ukraine, are committed to hard work.
Moldova is reforming itself in preparation for EU membership. We are reforming the justice system and tackling corruption as well as the toxic influence of former oligarchs, many of them Russian proxies.
We are improving the competitiveness of our economy. 60% of our exports now go to EU markets.
We are strengthening our administration and working to improve standards and laws to EU levels.
I am pleased that the European Commission’s enlargement report has recognised the important results we have achieved already. This acknowledgment only reinforces our commitment to redouble efforts on the path of comprehensive reforms.
I call on all EU member states to unanimously support the opening of EU accession negotiations with both Moldova and Ukraine at next month’s European Council in Brussels.
When it comes to EU enlargement, two things are more important than ever: unity and speed.
In the face of Russia's strategy of “divide and conquer”, our unity is our strongest defence. We must act with one voice, showing that our collective will is unbreakable.
Furthermore, the urgency of these times, marked by war and insecurity, demands that we accelerate our processes.
Speed and unity are not just strategic choices, they are a matter of survival and the return to European stability.
Another wave of EU enlargement is an investment in the security of the continent and a demonstration of the bloc’s unwavering commitment to peace – the very foundation on which the EU was built.
The decision to open accession talks with Moldova and Ukraine soonest is a message that would be heard not just in Chisinau and Kyiv, but also in Moscow and every capital nurturing authoritarian or imperialistic ambitions.
It would be a clear message of a confident Europe that is defending peace and building a robust democratic future.
And before I conclude, I urge all the free world and all the countries who want their borders respected, to continue supporting Ukraine. For as long as it takes. Until the victory. There is no other way.