Local and regional governments at the heart of Moldova’s European project
About fifty French and Moldovan mayors and local elected representatives met on 30 and 31 March in Chisinau (Moldova) at the initiative of AFCCRE and the Conference of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM) for a seminar entitled “In the perspective of the accession process – what contribution of local and regional authorities?”
This meeting, organised in partnership with the French Embassy in Moldova, and with the support of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the PLATFORMA network, was held a few days after the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed, on the occasion of the European Council of 23 March, the leadership role of France to “accompany Moldova on its European path”, and two months before the Moldovan capital hosts the second summit of the European Political Community, on 1st June.
At the opening ceremony, Graham Paul, French Ambassador to Moldova, Fortuné Pellicano, Deputy Mayor of Brest and President of the AFCCRE France-Romania Commission, Tatiana Badan, President of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova, and Ion Ceban, Mayor of Chisinau, recalled the importance of the relations between France and Moldova and the role of partnerships between local authorities in promoting the values of democracy and solidarity inherent to the European project, at a time when Moldova is facing a massive influx of Ukrainian refugees and an unprecedented economic crisis.
The first round table enabled Ronan Dantec, Senator of Loire Atlantique, and Thibaut Guignard, Mayor of Plouec l’Hermitage and President of the French Delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, as well as the Moldovan speakers, to draw up a panorama of the territorial organisation and the challenges, particularly in terms of climate and green transition, that the territories of our two countries are facing.
The afternoon session focused on local finance issues, with the intervention of Mélanie Lepoultier, Mayor of Sommervieu and Vice-president of the Calvados Department, on the French side, and on water and waste management regulations, with the testimony of Jean-François Barnier, Member of the Committee of the Regions and Departmental Councillor of the Loire. The question of inter-municipality and the merger of municipalities in Moldova was the subject of numerous exchanges, in the context of the draft law on the “amalgamation” of municipalities, which is causing a great deal of reluctance on the part of Moldovan elected representatives.
In conclusion of this first day, Jean-Paul Guihaume, Delegate for the External Action of Territorial Authorities, reminded the participants of the importance of cooperation between territorial authorities in order to make progress in areas such as environmental protection, which very often go beyond national borders and fall within the remit of the local authorities of our two countries.
The work continued on the second day with a plenary session devoted to the EU’s Eastern Partnership, in the presence of elected officials and representatives from Romania and South-East Europe, in particular Larisa Voloh, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and Chair of the “Public Administration” Committee, and Emile Draghici, President of the Association of Communes of Romania. On this occasion, Emmanuel Carroz, Deputy Mayor of Grenoble, a city twinned with Chisinau, recalled, on the basis of the experience of “Grenoble European Green Capital 2022”, the priority topics of cooperation between local and regional authorities, in particular sustainable development and citizen participation, which will be decisive in the process of accession to the European Union of Moldova and the other candidate countries.
This meeting was part of the already long-standing relations between AFCCRE and the Conference of Local Authorities of Moldova. Philippe Laurent, President of AFCCRE, said: “In this context of strong international tensions, this meeting was an opportunity to show our solidarity and to reaffirm the wish of AFCCRE’s elected representatives to help Moldova to rapidly achieve its European vocation. Together with the French Embassy in Chisinau, we will endeavour, in the coming months, to respond to the immediate needs of our Moldovan partners in the promotion of local autonomy and the deployment of quality local public services.”