Ukraine and Moldova are planning to resume rail traffic for freight traffic on the Berezino-Bessarabskaya section in autumn 2022.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine on the development of railway communication was signed on June 23, 2022, according to the website of the Moldovan Ministry.
The document was signed by Vice Prime Minister of Moldova Andrei Spinu and Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Alexander Kubrakov.
“Thus, the Republic of Moldova will be able to export / import goods through the port of Izmail, located on the Danube, reducing congestion in the port of Reni. At the same time, through this section of the railway line, Ukraine will be able to export goods to the Republic of Moldova and to the EU countries” , – indicated in the message.
The Berezino-Basarabskaya railway section on the territory of Ukraine was dismantled in 1997, and in 1999 the section between the stations “Rotovo” and “Raukhovka” on the aforementioned line bypassing Odessa was closed.
The construction of the site is expected to be carried out for approximately 23 km. Of these, 1.2 km of the railway will be built on the territory of the Republic of Moldova.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that granting the status of EU candidate countries to Ukraine and Moldova is a political signal in these circumstances, the entry itself will drag on for years.
“With regard to Moldova and Ukraine, it is quite clear that this (the decision of the European Candidates’ Status Council) is contextual. Yes, this is a political signal. I fully recognize this. And I said quite frankly today that it will take time (… ) that it will last for years,” Macron said Thursday evening at a press conference in Brussels after the decision of the European Council to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
According to him, this decision is justified by the fact that we are talking about the neighboring environment of the European Union, which needs to be stabilized. Today, the “geopolitical response” in the context of hostilities is to provide such a perspective to these countries, the French president believes.
“Is this a good geopolitical prospect in the long run? I will answer you sincerely (…): no,” Macron continued, referring to the “fatigue phenomenon” of joining the European Union, which is a complex and time-consuming process. “The road is long,” he said.
That is why, the president explained, he proposed the initiative of the “European political community”, which he considers the right answer, in order to “stabilize the neighborhood” of the EU, offering close cooperation to European countries that are not members of the European Union, having different standards and situations, but sharing common values. .
And this is just being discussed at this EU summit, Macron said. “We need to build something: we can cooperate in terms of defense, geopolitics, energy, infrastructure, projects for the movement of people – a lot of specific things that will make it possible to change the lives of citizens (…) and build the wider geopolitical Europe that we need” – said the head of the French state.
But at the moment, Macron believes, “after NATO said “no” to Ukraine’s accession for good reasons, we would make a political mistake and leave a void if we didn’t reach out to Ukraine and Moldova.” And this justifies the recognition of the status of candidates for these two countries, the French president explained.
Ukraine plans to develop the Open Border project at border crossings with Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
“We are also implementing similar projects to increase capacity at the borders with other Western neighbors. We are already negotiating to join the Open Border of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov was quoted as saying in a Facebook post on Monday.
As reported earlier, Ukraine and Poland doubled the throughput at the Krakovets-Korcheva checkpoint modernized as part of the Open Border project.
The temporary suspension of exports of wheat, flour and sugar will ensure Moldova’s food security until the next harvest, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Viorel Gerciu said Thursday in parliament.
The minister did not predict the price of bread in autumn, but said that this year’s wheat harvest will be less than last year’s (900,000 tons instead of 1.7 million tons). But even this will be enough to cover domestic demand, which is estimated at 660,000 tons per year.
Referring to the supply of fertilizers in Moldova, disrupted due to hostilities in Ukraine, the minister said that the country consumes 270,000 tons of fertilizers annually. Until the end of February, the cost of this volume of fertilizers was estimated at $80 million, but now the price has risen to $220 million. “129,000 tons of fertilizers have already been imported to Moldova this year, which is enough to meet the needs of agricultural producers today,” Gerciu added.
The European Commission will recommend to the European Council that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU candidate status with further “homework” to be done.
Interfax-Ukraine was informed about this on Thursday in Brussels by a source close to the negotiation process and acquainted with the draft document. “To recommend granting candidate status to Ukraine on the understanding that the next steps will be taken (grant candidate status under the understanding that follows steps are taking),” the agency’s interlocutor quoted the draft document as saying.
Next, he said, is a list of “homework” that Ukraine will have to complete before official negotiations begin. Among them – ensuring the rule of law, the fight against corruption, oligarchs, money laundering. According to the source, this work should be done by Ukraine in any case, since for full membership in the EU it must meet the criteria of Article 49 of the Treaty. “Such a wording will allow countries that are still hesitating to be “taken on board,” the source explained the position of the European Commission. In addition, he also believes that Kyiv will need a significant amount of time to meet the necessary criteria.
With regard to Moldova, the list of “homework” is even longer than for Ukraine. With regard to Georgia, the EC recommends that candidate status be granted only after doing “homework”.
These recommendations have yet to be approved by the EU leaders at the summit, which will be held June 23-24 in Brussels.
The official announcement of the conclusions is scheduled for this Friday, June 17th.
The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) has asked the government to organize a grain corridor for transporting grain to the Danube river ports through the border crossing near the village of Palanca (Moldova), the road to which was not previously used for agricultural exports.
The UGA proposed the corresponding route as an alternative to the railway bridge across the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky estuary, which was damaged due to repeated shelling by Russians and now does not function, according to the association’s website.
The UGA recalled that before the Russian invasion, Ukraine exported 95-98% of agricultural products through seaports, in natural terms – 5-6 million tonnes per month. However, after the blockade of the Black Sea seaports, Ukraine can transport no more than 1.5 million tonnes per month by alternative routes.
“Currently, most of the grain exports are carried out through the Ukrainian ports of the Danube. Unfortunately, one of the ways to access the Danube ports is the bridge over the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky estuary, which is damaged, and now the movement of rail cars and road transport is very difficult. An alternative way to access the Danube ports is the road through the village of Palanca (Moldova),” the UGA points out.
Meanwhile, the road to Palanca was not previously used for the transport of commercial goods, so its capacity is significantly limited.
Given the above and the current state of affairs in Ukraine, the UGA asks the government to create a “green corridor” for the transportation of grain cargo for export through the Danube ports, in particular in the area near the village of Palanca.
The Ukrainian Grain Association is an association of producers, processors and large grain exporters who annually export about 90% of Ukrainian grain products.