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David Lidington

Minister for Europe, London

Part of FCDO Outreach

24th September 2010 London, UK

Moldova and Romania

This week I travelled with my friend, German Minister for Europe, Werner Hoyer, to Moldova and Romania. In both Moldova and Romania we discussed the important issue of Transnistria. Whilst in Romania I met with economy Ministers to talk about the European single market, and energy security. To find out more, and to hear Werner Hoyer’s reflections on the visit too, watch the video below.

I’ve also added a transcript of the video below.

David Lidington:

Well today I’m in Moldova in Eastern Europe. I’m on a joint visit with my friend and colleague Werner Hoyer who is the German Minister for Europe, and we are here in order to meet the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and other members of the government of Moldova. Moldova’s a new country. It broke away from the Soviet Union, when the USSR imploded, and there are a number of important issues that they’re trying to resolve here. They’re driving forward with a programme of both economic and political reform and there is an unresolved conflict in a region of Moldova called Transnistria where there is a breakaway or separatist movement…there’s a lot of talks going on, between various countries as to how we help Moldova to resolve this very difficult, intractable problem. It’s been a productive day, and I think both Werner and I sent a very clear message to our friends in Moldova that we support their ambition for closer links with the European Union and we’ve encouraged them to press forward on the work of economic reform and towards political stability.

Werner Hoyer:

This visit with my British colleague David Lidington has been a quite an experience. We told our hosts we’re travelling together as friends and we’re coming to see friends here and we were very, very warmly received here. We’ve had very good talks and I believe that there is a rather broad consensus in this country that the destination is Europe and that might help, hopefully will help, success on this very, very difficult modernisation process and reform process this country is going through and must go through.

within the last twelve months a lot has been achieved, constitutional referendum has failed so there’s an election coming up and we hope and we insisted, that these elections will be fair and free and there will be a democratically legitimised government…which is able to cope with the big challenges this country has to meet and wherever we can be of assistance we will be there.

The Transnistria conflict David’s just mentioned – that is serious challenge for us, but we believe that among all those conflicts among the territories of the former Soviet Union, this might be one which could see a solution sooner or later. And this is what Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Medvedev of Russia have tried to make a first step towards an initiative to be helpful in solving this conflict. So this is one of the topics we touched upon today and all in all I would say, David, it’s been a very good visit:

David Lidington:

It’s been a very good visit.

David Lidington:

Well I’ve moved on. Yesterday I was in Chisinau the capital of the Republic of Moldova, now I’m in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. I came with my German colleague Werner Hoyer and we had a series of meetings with Romanian ministers where we talked about what we’d seen in Moldova…an issue of huge importance to the Romanians. This is their next door neighbour we’re talking about after all, and we talked about other European political issues. But I’ve also been talking to Romanian Ministers about how we want to strengthen the bilateral relationship between UK and Romania. Romania has the potential to be a really significant player in the European Union, and there are many things that our two countries share in common. Our support for the enlargement of the EU to cover the countries of the Western Balkans and the Eastern partnership, if and when they meet the criteria for accession, but also our support for further work to deepen the single market within Europe.

Energy security is a major concern here and a genuine single market in energy throughout the EU would be an enormous help to us in reducing our dependence on politically risky suppliers of oil and gas, whether we’re talking about Russia, or whether we’re talking about the Gulf region. And then there’s Romania’s geopolitical role, experience of the Balkans, the Black Sea region of the Caucasus – I think there’s a lot that the UK can learn, and there’s also great commercial opportunities here.

I was seeing Romanian economy ministers this afternoon to press the case for British investors in these countries, and I think with good will on both sides we have the makings of a very important commercial relationship, that with luck should see more jobs in both our countries.

About David Lidington

David Lidington MP was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on 14 May 2010. David Lidington was elected to Parliament in 1992 and is the Member…

David Lidington MP was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on 14 May 2010.
David Lidington was elected to Parliament in 1992 and is the Member of Parliament for Aylesbury.
He worked for BP and RTZ before spending three years as Special Advisor to Douglas Hurd in the Home Office and Foreign Office.
His proudest political achievement was successfully promoting a
Private Members Bill which became the Chiropractors Act in 1994. He
believes that this piece of legislation has made a real difference to
many people’s lives.
He has a long standing passion for history, and has twice captained a
champion team on University Challenge, first in 1979 and then in 2002
when the Sidney Sussex team became “champion of champions” in University
Challenge Reunited.
He is married to Helen Lidington and has four sons.