NEWS

Greece can help with chicken farms

Vladimir Voronin, president of the Republic of Moldova, was happy to expound on all subjects in the interview he granted to Kathimerini. Despite his communist credentials (he was supported by the Communist Party in the elections), he feels it is in Moldova’s best interests to join the European Union and declares himself in favor of private property, saying his guiding principle is «the struggle against poverty, not against the rich.» Moldova’s main priority, according to Voronin, is EU entry. Already, the process of stabilizing the country’s economy has been set in motion, and economic indices improve year by year. «In 2001, we had a 6 percent rate of growth, in 2002, it climbed to 7.2 percent, while inflation stood at 3.4 percent,» Voronin said, adding, «We have agreed to set up a free trade area with the EU in the belief that this move will have a positive impact on the economy of our country.» A Moldovan delegation to Brussels has already met with EU representatives, while EU Commission President Romano Prodi is due to visit Moldova this year, as is Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy and security chief. Moldova is seeking the same terms of entry that apply to its neighbors, Romania and Bulgaria. «In April [during the enlargement signing ceremony], I will be visiting Athens and I hope that your country will aid our attempt to enter the EU,» Voronin said, adding: «Within 2003, we hope to open an embassy in Greece. We have made the opening moves and are waiting for your answer.» According to Voronin, commercial and economic relations with Greece are good, but could be better. «We hope Greece will invest in our country in sectors such as organic products – food, vegetables, fruit and meat. We could produce and distribute these products in the countries of the Middle East. Jointly, we could produce over 100,000 organically bred chickens yearly, or engage in making juice and other products in the 30 canning factories that we have. Another sector for cooperation would be the making of wine and cognac, which are of high quality in our country.» Thousands of Moldovans live and work in Greece. The Moldovan government has already initiated contacts with the Greek government to legalize them, as it has done in Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Israel and Russia. «You should know that the remittances from Moldovans working abroad are equivalent to our annual budget. And one more thing: Thanks to the Moldovans working abroad, private bank accounts have risen by 62 percent.» President Voronin, in conclusion, thanked the Greek government, which, as head of the European Union, managed to secure approval for a sum of 15 million euros for the Republic of Moldova.