EU summit held in Chisinau to 'show support' Moldova
Moldova is hosting the second official meeting of the European Political Community on Thursday 1 June. An informal summit where 47 heads of state responded to the invitation, three more participants than at the first edition of this forum, in October 2022, in Prague, Czech Republic. This time, it is not a capital of the European Union that is hosting the event, and that is precisely why Chisinau was chosen. The analysis of Florent Parmentier, Secretary General of the Multidisciplinary Research Center of Sciences-Po (Cevipof).
Moldovan President Maia Sandu at a press conference, in Chisinau, May 31, 2023. AFP - ELENA COVALENCO
Text by: Amélie Beaucour
RFI: Why is this summit taking place in Moldova?
Florent Parmentier: Moldova is now the country closest to the front. Tiraspol, the separatist entity and the Kherson region... the front with Russia is only less than 250 km away. The idea was simply to give a mark of support to a country that is potentially one of the next to be destabilized if the conflict were to spread. And then it is something that will both allow them to position themselves on the European map, to give them a visibility that they have not had since independence, and it is also an opportunity to go in the direction of having unions with a certain number of projects. The three projects selected for the summit are security, connectivity and energy.
What can Maia Sanda, President of Moldova, expect from this summit?
The gain is obvious in terms of reputation since Moldova has never hosted such an important event. On security, Moldova being a neutral state, it is not intended to enter NATO in the duration of this conflict. We have also seen that Moldova has been hosting a new European mission to combat hybrid threats for a few days, so it is rather from this point of view that Moldova has already scored points. In terms of connectivity, perhaps Maia Sandu can expect more investment, and on energy issues: a dialogue on the development of renewable energies and then anything that could strengthen or go in the direction of more diversification in terms of energy supply.
Currently, it depends on its neighbors?
It is very dependent on Russia for gas, and for electricity, it was also heavily dependent on a plant in Transnistria, the Cuciurgan plant. So one of Maia Sandu's political options is precisely to be able to develop Moldova economically and therefore energy independence.
Can Moldova's organisation of the summit be interpreted as a positive signal for Moldova's future accession to the European Union?
The date of 2030 is under discussion, but the most likely is that we will be on a slightly longer period. At the same time, it is also notable that Moldova is not in the same situation as the Balkan countries. Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro are in a situation where there is a form of enlargement fatigue. That is, the perception on the side of the European Union is that the impression that these states are not doing the work that is expected to be a candidate for the EU; and on the candidate countries' side, we have the impression that the Europeans are adding conditions gradually and therefore do not really want these states to be part of the EU. Moldova is not yet at that stage. The large demonstrations on Sunday 21 May in Chisinau, in which there were 70 000 to 80 000 people, show the determination to move closer to the European Union. The difficulty is that this summit marks a milestone, certainly a discovery of what Moldova is for many Europeans, but for the moment the road to enlargement is still long.
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