On 13 November, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, between EU and Moldova. In a declaration approved moments afterwards, the MEPs declared that this agreement is not the final arrangement between Moldova and the EU. The deal provides for deeper political cooperation, visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens, as well as mutual market access. It is similar to the deal the EU concluded with Ukraine. And as in Ukraine, neither in Moldova is Russia ready to give up its influence entirely. However, the pressure on Moldova has been of economic character only, as opposed to Ukraine. Russia banned the import of key Moldovan export articles, such as wine, into Russia on questionable hygienic grounds. The EU reacted by approving increased import levels from Moldova to compensate this move. Also, the association agreement has been provisionally effective already since 1 September, although it is not yet formally ratified – the deal has to be approved by the EP, but also by the parliaments of all the 28 EU Member States. The MEPs made it clear that the association agreement will be in force for the entire internationally recognized Moldovan territory – that is also for the separatist Transnistrian republic, a pseudo-state supported by Russia in the Eastern strip of Moldova. The EU and the Moldovan government hope that Transnistrian companies will want to profit from EU single market access. This move could therefore even lead to solving the long-standing Transnistrian issue. The region is, in fact, one of the main obstacles of future Moldovan EU membership. The MEPs voted on the association deal in a crucial time for Moldova – on 30 November the Moldovans will elect their parliament and although pro-European sentiments prevail in Moldova according to polls, the communist opposition remains quite strong.
20th February 2019
25th January 2019