Emphasizes the need for reforms – Van der Bellen: “Moldova’s future lies in the EU”

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On Thursday, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, together with his Slovenian counterpart Nataša Pirc Musar, supported Moldovan aspirations for EU membership during a visit to Moldovan President Maia Sandu. “The future of the Republic of Moldova lies in a larger Europe,” Van der Bellen emphasized afterwards.

The president emphasized that the visit should above all be a “sign of solidarity in a difficult geopolitical situation”. Moldova is not only particularly affected by the war in Ukraine due to its geographical location, but has also hosted the most Ukrainian refugees in terms of population. Russia is trying to influence the country with destabilization campaigns, Van der Bellen told journalists. For example, Moscow tried to use massive gas supplies as a means of pressure, but Moldova succeeded.

The country has ‘done great’ so far
“It is clear to everyone that Moldova must implement the necessary reforms to join the EU,” said the red-white-red head of state. This was also the case in Austria. This requires the political will and support of the population, the Federal President emphasized. But the country has “done a great job” so far, and it is now up to the European Council to decide on further steps.

Pirc Musar emphasized that “Austria and Slovenia share the same values.” “We believe in Europe and the rule of law,” said the Slovenian president, and that is why we also support Moldova’s EU ambitions. Slovenia also supports Ukraine because it is also fighting for Moldova’s freedom. “We all know who the aggressor is here,” she said.

“Powerful message of support”
The visit was “a strong message of support,” the Moldovan president said, thanking the two heads of state. “We know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Sandu assured. However, rapprochement with the EU is the only way for Moldova to improve democracy and living standards. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is also a major challenge for your country. “We must ensure that Russia is held accountable for the crimes committed in Ukraine,” Sandu stressed.

It is also not new that Russia is trying to exert political influence in Moldova, Sandu continued. Moscow tried to use energy as a weapon, tried to overthrow the government and influenced political parties. What was new was that voters had recently been bribed, Sandu explained. The closer Moldova gets to the EU, the more widespread the Kremlin’s measures will become, but they are now much better equipped to respond than they were a year and a half ago.

The Russian block on the leg
At the beginning of November, the European Commission recommended starting accession negotiations to the EU. Moldova hopes to join the EU in 2030 – initially without the breakaway pro-Russian region of Transnistria, where thousands of Russian soldiers are stationed. It should not be the case that your country only becomes a member of the European Union after the Transnistrian conflict has been resolved, because this would de facto mean “that we are giving the Kremlin a veto over the European integration of Moldova.” Sandu made this clear on Monday.

She is convinced that “the second step” will not be long in coming – once the people of Transnistria see that the standard of living in the Republic of Moldova is steadily increasing thanks to the accession to the EU, they would certainly want to take the same step path, said the Moldovan head of state.

Source: Krone

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