WATCH: “Moldova belongs in the European Union” – President Maia Sandu

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In a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu called on EU countries to rally behind her country’s European aspirations.

In her address to MEPs in Brussels, President Sandu outlined how Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine had echoes of Europe’s troubled past, with its ‘unabashed land grabs, geopolitical conquests and spheres of influence’. At the same time, she underlined how Moldova and its citizens have responded to the shock, agony and disbelief of the war with kindness, generosity and compassion, hosting large numbers of Ukrainian refugees and providing humanitarian support to Ukraine.

Against the backdrop of the war, Moldova formally applied for EU membership in March 2022 and President Sandu stated her firm conviction that the country is part of the European community. “We are aware that political decisions at the EU level have to be made. We are also aware that these are not easy decisions. But granting Moldova candidate status is the right decision. We belong in the European Union”, she said.
Finally, on Russia’s aggression, she pointed out that Moldova immediately condemned the war against Ukraine.

“We support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as we always did. Crimea is Ukraine. Donbas is Ukraine. Kyiv is Ukraine. And they will always be,” she said.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola expressed support to Moldova’s application.

In a resolution adopted earlier this month, the European Parliament welcomes Moldova’s EU membership application, saying the country is on the right track in adopting key reforms. MEPs have called on the European Commission to swiftly complete its application assessment and provide Moldova with its full assistance while this is ongoing. They argued that the Moldovan authorities are on the right track by adopting key reforms, notably on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. Parliament has also asked 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.

A paper by the CEPS Institute has argued that progress in implementing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the EU and Moldova means that there is already a substantial degree of preparedness for the accession process. “While Moldova has an important reform agenda to sustain, especially on the judiciary and rule of law, its democratic electoral processes have been of impressive quality since 2020. There is good coherence between the presidency, government and parliament on the reform and European integration agendas”, the report said.

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