Strasbourg, 5 May 2022
Provide Moldova with new macro-financial assistance
Integrate the country into EU single market and enhance sectoral cooperation
Serious concern over developments on the territory of the Transnistrian region
In a resolution adopted on Thursday, Parliament welcomes Moldova’s EU membership application, saying the country is on the right track in adopting key reforms.
The text, approved by show of hands says Moldova has been disproportionately affected by the Russian war in neighbouring Ukraine. (RA) This is mainly due to the arrival of more than 450,000 Ukrainian refugees since the invasion began – nearly 100,000 of whom remain in Moldova – but also due to lost trade and increased energy and transport prices. (RA)
To this end, MEPs call on the EU to provide more support for the country, i.e. via new macro-financial assistance, further transport and trade liberalisation measures, and continued support for refugee management and humanitarian purposes.
Grant Moldova EU candidate status
Against the backdrop of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Parliament welcomes Moldova’s formal EU membership application on 3 March 2022 and says the EU should grant it candidate status, in line with Article 49 TEU and ‘on the basis of merit’. In the meantime, the European Union and Moldova should continue work on integrating the country into the EU single market and on enhanced sectoral cooperation.
MEPs call on the European Commission to swiftly complete its application assessment and provide Moldova with its full assistance while this is ongoing. They say that, without prejudging the content of the Commission’s opinion, the Moldovan authorities are undoubtedly on the right track by adopting key reforms, notably on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.
Increased fears over developments in Transnistria
The resolution also expresses serious concern over recent developments on the territory of the Transnistrian region, which has witnessed a number of “security incidents” in April,
considered by MEPs as dangerous acts of provocation in a highly volatile security situation. They also reiterate Parliament’s support for a “comprehensive, peaceful and lasting political settlement of the Transnistrian conflict,” i.e. based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova within its internationally recognised borders, and with the removal of Russian forces based there.
Energy extortion by Russia
Parliament stresses it is unacceptable that Russia has been weaponising its gas supply to exert political pressure on Moldova in order to influence the country’s political trajectory and geopolitical orientation – particularly after the recent instalment of the country’s pro-western government. MEPs call on the Commission and EU countries to support Moldova in ensuring its energy independence, connectivity, diversification and efficiency, as well as accelerating the development of renewable energy sources.
Moldova: the work on granting the country EU candidate status must continue
Against the backdrop of Russia’s war against Ukraine, MEPs call on the EU to provide more strategic support to Moldova following its application for EU membership.
On Thursday, the Foreign Affairs Committee adopted its annual implementing report on the EU association agreement with Moldova, with 65 votes in favour, 5 against and 3 abstentions.
In addition to a worsening security landscape, the text recognises that the Russian war against Ukraine has disproportionally affected neighbouring Moldova. Its economy has been impacted by lost import and export opportunities and rapidly increasing energy prices. Moldova has also taken in the largest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita of any country, putting its public services under enormous strain.
Triggered by the Russian invasion, Moldova’s official application on 3 March to join the European Union was welcomed by MEPs, as it ‘confirms the country’s European path’. They call on the EU institutions to work towards granting EU candidate status to Moldova, along with Ukraine and Georgia, in line with Article 49 TEU and ‘on the basis of merit’. In the meantime, the European Union and Moldova should continue work on integrating the country into the EU single market.
The European Commission, for its part, must assist Moldova in preparing a credible pre-accession strategy for EU membership. MEPs also point out the need for more strategic EU support to Moldova, for example by setting up a new Commission Support Group for the country, similar to the existing one for Ukraine.
Push ahead with key reforms
The report further stresses that the EU membership applications of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia open a new chapter in their European integration, which should be characterised by reinforced efforts to implement the existing Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas.
While welcoming the initial progress of the current government’s ambitious reform agenda, MEPs strongly encourage the Moldovan authorities to work on irreversibly aligning the country with the EU. This includes advancing reforms in the field of justice and rule of law as well as fighting corruption and oligarchic structures.
The text also emphasises the need for the government to continue improving the livelihoods and living standards of Moldovan citizens, in order to prevent the ongoing ‘brain drain’, and restoring people’s trust in state institutions.
Finally, MEPs reject and express concern regarding the 3 March 2022 statement of the authorities in the occupied Transnistria region of Moldova that announced an end of the settlement process and made a renewed call for international recognition for the so-called independence of Transnistria. They reiterate their support for a comprehensive and peaceful settlement of the Transnistria conflict, based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova.
“The Republic of Moldova had already made a clear commitment to a European path and European values and reconfirmed its choices now in times of war and hardship. It is therefore a geopolitical priority to grant EU candidate status to the Republic of Moldova and consolidate democracy in our eastern neighbourhood”, said rapporteur Dragoș Tudorache (Renew Europe, Romania).
The report will now be submitted for a vote in the European Parliament as a whole.
A delegation of MEPs visited the country from 31 March to 2 April. They met with Moldova’s political leadership, including President Maia Sandu, Speaker of the Parliament Igor Grosu, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița, and Defence Minister Anatolie Nosatîi. Read more about the visit here.
Renew Europe: The EU must send a strong message to Putin by granting candidate status to both Ukraine and Moldova
MAY 05, 2022The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes today’s adoption by the plenary of the resolution on the state of play on the EU-Moldova cooperation and expresses serious concern related to the recent developments on the territory of the Transnistrian region, which are dangerous provocations.
At the same time, we recognise the efforts made by the Republic of Moldova to manage the largest number of refugees per capita in all the countries bordering Ukraine. The European Union must continue to support the Moldovan citizens and Chisinau’s efforts to cope with the consequences of the Russian war of aggression.
MEP Dragoş Tudorache (USR, Romania), Renew Europe Group’s Vice-Chair and the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Moldova, said:
“Today’s resolution recognises this huge effort that the Republic of Moldova and its citizens are making. And now, it is our turn to fight, equally hard and with determination, for the candidacy of the two countries. Moldova and Ukraine’s path to accession must begin on the 9th of May with the announcement of their candidate status.
The recent challenges in the Transnistrian region show us clearly how vulnerable Moldova is to potential Russian aggression and a widening of the conflict. And, beyond the security implications, granting candidate status to both Ukraine and Moldova is about the message that we, as a Union, are sending to Putin and other dictators. That message is that the European Union stands by democratic countries with which it shares the same values, in practice and not just in words.
We are at a historic moment, which will have historic repercussions. It is a time for courageous political vision and bold decisions.”
“The West must help Moldova cut its ties with the Russian Federation”, urges Anna Fotyga (ECR)
The ECR Group has voiced its strong support of Moldova’s European aspirations. In today’s debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Group’s Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Anna Fotyga (Poland) said: “For years, we have always supported Moldova’s path to a real European future and EU membership”. However, she also said, “I have to tell a difficult truth for us and for Moldova. To achieve the goal of EU membership, it is necessary to take the right action now, in this difficult, important time. To make fundamental changes in Moldova, we must help. We, the West, must help Moldova cut its ties with the Russian Federation”. As examples, she mentioned the areas of hydrocarbons, but also the financial sector. Fotyga also sees an opportunity for Moldova in the joint imposition of sanctions against Russia, of course with the help of the European Union.
Fotyga thanked the Moldovan Authorities and society for having warmly welcomed Ukrainian war refugees. She added that the ECR Group had always supported the country’s sovereignty and independence and that she is happy to see changes on the political scene, which bring the country closer to the European Union.
Since the fall of Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc and the rise of President Maia Sandu’s pro-European party, the ECR has advocated closer relations and supported Moldova’s status as a candidate country. Since the presidential elections in 2020 and the parliamentary elections in 2021, the new government of Moldova has created an excellent political basis for progress in relations with the EU. The country has also submitted – together with Ukraine and Georgia – a formal application to join the EU. Moldova has signed an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Trade Area Agreement with the EU.
Europeans should urgently increase Frontex assistance to Moldova, enhance intelligence cooperation, and consider positioning NATO units based in Romania closer to the country’s border.