Romania will assist Moldova to reform the social protection system and achieve European standards in social services, officials say.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest -- 08/10/13
Moldova will have to "develop and apply European principles concerning the free circulation of workers," Romania's Labour and Social Affairs Minister Mariana Campeanu said. [AFP]
Romania and Moldova will strengthen co-operation in the social protection area and intensify exchange programmes that will enhance Moldova's EU integration efforts, officials and experts in Bucharest and Chisinau said.
"In the European accession perspective of the Republic of Moldova, our neighbours will have to assimilate, develop and apply European principles concerning the free circulation of workers, the right to work in any country, equal salaries and rights," Romania's Labour and Social Affairs Minister Mariana Campeanu told SETimes.
The two countries will run joint projects, both on the ministries level and subordinate institutions, such as labour inspection and unemployment agencies. Experts and officials will co-operate closely, exchange all necessary information and jointly discuss laws concerning the labour market, Campeanu said.
"Of course there will be difficulties during this process, but people need to understand that all the legal changes, all the structural reforms are done for their benefit," Campeanu said. "All the reforms concern the citizens' welfare and their rights which have to be observed both in their home country and the countries they go to."
Moldova wants to develop regional centres for professional formation, like the ones that successfully work in Romania. The two countries will also set up working groups to launch common projects in social services. Specialists from Romania will share experiences and hold training sessions for their colleagues in Moldova.
"Whatever measures we take here, Romania is always one step ahead of us because of the expertise it gets from other European Union member states," Viorica Matas, director of the Centre for Social Services for Children and Families in Chisinau, told SETimes. "And Romania already has strong expertise in accrediting new social services."
This is a new level of co-operation based on the Romania-Moldova 2010 agreement that provides workers of both countries mutual social rights, such as maternity leave and disability payments.
Matas said she has benefited from previous joint projects.
"As part of this agreement, I have attended courses in Romania focused on children with difficulties, which is my specialty," she said. "I have visited centres for such children and learned from [my colleagues] how maternal courses are held in Romania."
The co-operation in social protection is not the only area where Romania is strengthening its bilateral relations with Moldova in support of the EU accession process. Romania's Diplomatic Institute trains Moldova's officials and diplomats, sharing its European integration experience.
Aside from the joint projects, Moldova has received financial assistance from its neighbour. In 2012, Romania granted Moldova about 827,000 euros in assistance funds, following 780,000 euros in 2011 and about 2 million euros in 2010.
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