Moldova wants to join the European Union (EU) “as soon as possible” to protect yourself from threats from Russia and hopes that the start of negotiations will be decided “in the coming months”, the president made it known Maia Sandu in an interview for the news agency AFP.
“We believe that we can only save our democracy by being part of the EU,” he declared. Maia Sandú.
The little nation of 2.6 million inhabitantsSandwiched between EU neighbor Romania and war-torn Ukraine, it will hold its first major summit of the enlarged Europe on June 1.
The meeting of the European Political Communitya forum created last year that brings together the leaders of the 27 EU countries and 20 neighbors of the blocwill serve Moldova to polish its candidate credentials.
For Sandu, EU membership is the only guarantee not to become Russia’s next target.
His country, a former Soviet republic, already has a breakaway region, transnistriawhere Russia has stationed a small number of troops.
“Of course, nothing is comparable to what is happening in Ukraine, but we see the risks and we believe that we can only save our democracy if we are part of the EUhe declared.
“We believe that Russia will continue to be a great source of instability in the coming years and we have to protect ourselves”, Sandu added, on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit that concluded this week in Iceland.
The 50-year-old leader, in office since 2020, accused Russia in February of foment a coup to try to seize power in moldova.
“The Ukrainian war made things black and white. So it’s very clear what the free world means and what the authoritarian world means to all of us,” she said.
Ukraine and Moldova applied last year to join the European Union and in June 2022 became candidate countries, along with Georgia.
“We believe that it is a realistic project for us and we are looking forward to it happening as soon as possible.Sandu stated.
Membership, however, could take a decade or more to achieve, given the long list of requirements that countries must meet in order to sit alongside other nations in the single European market.
Unlike Ukraine, Moldova is small enough to be able to join the European Union relatively easily.
Its fragile economy, energy security and breakaway region of transnistriawith its 30,000 pro-Russian inhabitants, are issues that will have to be addressed to assess its income.
transnistriaeast of Moldova, is not recognized by the international community. The area emerged in 1990 after a brief civil war that broke out when the Soviet Union collapsed, and ended after 1992 as a frozen conflict.
“We are fighting for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and we have called on Russia to withdraw its illegally stationed troopsSandu stated.
“We need a geopolitical opportunity to be able to resolve the conflict,” he added.
The president, who has begun the process of pulling her country out of the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States, added: “What kind of relations can you have with a regime that kills innocent people in the neighboring country?”
Moldova is only willing to cooperate with “democratic countries, with countries that respect the territorial integrity of other countries, that respect the international rule-based system,” he declared.
Russia brandished Ukraine’s desire to one day enter the NATO as one of his justifications for invading his neighbor.
Moldova is not reconsidering its position as a neutral country for now, Sandu said.
“But in our society there is a debate about whether neutrality protects us, and if at any point people change their minds, of course we will reconsider this decision. In the meantime, we are trying to consolidate the defense sector of Moldova and we are counting on our friends”.
As for “friends”, Moldova relies heavily on the other countries participating in the European Political Community.
(With information from AFP)
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