Moldova to Integrate Fully into the European Union, including Transnistria, Says President Maia Sandu

Moldova is on track to fully integrate into the European Union, with even the Transnistrian region becoming part of the European community. These assurances come from President Maia Sandu, who discussed a new negotiation format for the Transnistrian conflict and confirmed that the authorities in Chisinau have a vision for reunifying the country, calculating the costs of the reunification process, as reported by radiomoldova.md.

According to Maia Sandu, in this new format, the European Union is expected to play a “much larger role,” focusing on the objective of Moldova’s European integration. She reiterated that the current negotiation format is not functional, as it involves an aggressor state, the Russian Federation.

“The format is not functional; an aggressor country cannot mediate a conflict. Starting from the goal of European integration, I believe that the EU will need to have a much larger role in the format we will have. It is challenging to discuss a solution now, and we need to prepare. The EU needs to play a more significant role because Moldova will become an EU member,” the President expressed on Vocea Basarabiei.

The President dismissed the notion of a conflict in the Transnistrian region, arguing that Russia had created the issue by fueling separatism. She stated that the government has a vision for resolving this “conflict” and reunifying the country, but this depends on the geopolitical situation.

“For now, the objective is to maintain stability. We do not see a conflict; this conflict is created as a result of separatist support. What the regime says is one thing, and what happens among the citizens on both banks of the Dniester River is another. We, the Republic of Moldova, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, did not agree to let Russia maintain its army here. To avoid any confusion, there is an agreement for peacekeeping forces, but there is no agreement for the deployment of this separate contingent, which is a different contingent. No government has legalized the presence of this army here. They are here illegally, violating Moldova’s neutrality,” the President declared.

Maia Sandu maintained that the most suitable option would be full EU membership, and if that is not feasible, the Transnistrian region can join later, after the right bank of the Dniester becomes part of the EU.

“Ideally, we would join the EU entirely. If that is not possible, there is the option of the right bank joining first, followed by the left bank. This approach is realistic; we have calculated the reintegration process, and it is a substantial but not exaggerated sum, one that we can cover with our partners,” Maia Sandu explained.

The President also stressed that EU accession would guarantee Moldova’s peace and security, with the ongoing war in Ukraine being a major concern. She reiterated that there is no danger of Russian aggression against Moldova “because Ukraine resists.”

The “5+2” negotiation format is a dialogue platform for settling the Transnistrian conflict, established in 2002. It includes representatives from the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria, Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE as mediators. The United States and the European Union have been invited as observers, with the right to participate in official meetings and speak during them.

Negotiations in the “5+2” format were frozen in 2019, and attempts to resume them failed after the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Recently, the self-proclaimed leader of Tiraspol called for the resumption of negotiations on the Transnistrian settlement during a meeting with the OSCE mission chief in Chisinau, citing the lack of concrete results in discussions with Chisinau.

“This unstable geopolitical situation that has arisen around the region has not boosted the negotiation process but rather stalled it. At present, we see the impossibility of convening the 5+2 format. I am convinced and hopeful that the 5+2 format can be convened. In any case, the negotiation process must continue. There was an important meeting between Vitali Ignatiev and Oleg Serebrian, but as a leader who has set certain tasks, I need to see practical results,” said Vadim Krasnoselski, quoted by regional media.

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Oleg Serebrian, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, stated that negotiations are taking place in a “1+1” format, meaning discussions occur between representatives of Chisinau and Tiraspol. Serebrian also noted that there have been two meetings in this format during the year and seven sessions of sectoral working groups. He considers this format to be the only functional one.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, stated at the European Political Community Summit on June 1 in Bulboaca that Moldova’s integration into the European Union is not dependent on what happens in Transnistria, as the separatist region is no longer an obstacle to this journey. Borrell made a comparison with Cyprus, an EU member, despite its territorial conflict on the island.

“Moldova’s integration into the European Union is not linked to what happens in Transnistria. Cyprus became an EU member in a similar situation. Moldova can do the same,” Borrell said.

The head of European diplomacy emphasized that the frozen conflict should be resolved as soon as possible through peaceful means with the involvement of international partners and observers.

Russia must withdraw its armed forces from Moldova, and NATO will continue to provide assistance to our country, said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg following his meeting with Prime Minister Dorin Recean at NATO Headquarters.

“Moscow continues to exert pressure on Moldova, including energy blackmail and disinformation, with the aim of destabilizing society and undermining your democracy. However, Moldova has responded by condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and strengthening its resilience and security at home. NATO fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and calls on Russia to withdraw its forces from your territory,” Jens Stoltenberg stated.

NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, believes that Moldova can continue to rely on the Alliance’s support.

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