The Moldovan President addressed the Parliament on 18 May. Discover how the EU is supporting the country, especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu (pictured) was in the Parliament to discuss the war in Ukraine and its impact on her country, which has played a major role caring for Ukrainian refugees.
Welcoming the Moldovan President to the Parliament, Parliament President Roberta Metsola praised the country for taking in Ukrainian refugees and said the Parliament supports Moldova’s EU application: “We know that Moldova is looking at us with a sense of purpose. Every country must follow its own path, its own timeline, but we must not be afraid to use the power of Europe to improve people’s lives, to change generations. And this is why the European Union needs to send a clear and firm political message that we recognise the European aspirations of Moldova and your efforts in implementing key reforms that bring your country closer to us. Moldova belongs in the European family.”
“Almost half a million Ukrainians crossed our border, and around 90,000 are still with us, hosted by my big-hearted fellow citizens,” Sandu told MEPs. “Half of the refugees today are children. And this constitutes 10% of the total number of children in the country.”
She called for support for Moldova’s bid to join the EU: “I ask you to increase the EU’s support for Moldova – for the sake of Moldovans who want to preserve their democracy and freedom, but also for the sake of Europe – to have a stable, predictable and reliable partner and contributor to peace in its eastern neighbourhood.
“Our independence, peaceful development, economic and political reforms must have an anchor and this anchor is a clear perspective of EU accession, the status of a candidate country.”
The EU and Moldova enjoy close ties. In 2014 they concluded an association agreement as well as a deep and comprehensive trade agreement, which entered into force in 2016. The EU is Moldova’s largest trading partner.
Application for EU membership
On 3 March 2022, Moldova submitted a formal application for European Union membership, a decision that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a resolution adopted on 5 May, Parliament welcomed Moldova’s formal EU membership application and said the EU should grant it candidate status.
War in Ukraine
Moldova has been significantly affected by the Russian war against Ukraine. Since the start of the invasion nearly half a million Ukrainian refugees have arrived, of which about 90,000 remain. On 24 March, Parliament consented to Frontex operational support for Moldova, including at its borders with Ukraine. On the same day, MEPs also agreed to provide Moldova with €150 million in macro-financial aid to cover part of its external financing needs. Shortly afterwards, a European Parliament delegation travelled to Moldova to assess the situation there.
The war in Ukraine has led to lost trade and higher energy and transport prices in Moldova.
In the resolution adopted on 5 May, MEPs called on the EU to provide more support to Moldova, for example through new macro-financial assistance, further transport and trade liberalisation measures and continued support for refugee management and humanitarian efforts.
There are also concerns about the security situation in Transnistria, the Russian-backed breakaway region on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, where several “security incidents” were reported in April. Moldovan authorities called these a provocation with the aim of destabilising the region.
On 5 May, MEPs said they considered these incidents dangerous acts of provocation in a highly volatile security situation. The also reiterated 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.
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