2013 – Key year for Moldova's EU integration. Pressure from Russia, support from the EU

While the President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso pays a historic visit to Chişinău, Romanian Center for European Policies (RCEP) launches a report showing that 2013 will be crucial for Moldova Republic’s European path, the     moment to demonstrate the irreversibility of its actions under the negotiations with Brussels and to become the first successful story of the Eastern Partnership. RCEP highlights also the main interventions, particularly from Moscow, which can complicate R. Moldova’s negotiations with the European Union.

RCEP analyzes the track records of the negotiation Moldova – EU:

1. Association Agreement with EU will raise the relationship to a new level of support, which provides financial and technical assistance for modernizing the country and preparing it for future integration;
2. Deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (part of the Association Agreement but negotiated separately) will integrate de facto Moldova in the European single market;

3. Moldova is the first country in the Eastern Partnership which passed in the second stage of the visa liberalization plan. Lifting the visas is a predictable decision in the second half of 2013 or in early 2014.
On the other hand, signs are gathering that Russia is losing patience easily and will not leave Chisinau to follow the European path. Moscow may complicate R. Moldova’s negotiations with the EU in the most complicated dossiers.

Energy blackmail exercised by Russia is one of them, but it may turn against Moscow. European Commission has already treated Moldova’s case as part of the tense relationship Brussels has with Gazprom accused of anti-competitive practices in the EU. Commission investigation could affect Gazprom’s dominant position in Europe and linking the two themes means Moldova is not left alone.

Transnistria’s refusal to be part of the new trade agreement with the EU means this region’s companies will play out of the European market. Such a refusal is politically motivated and may lead to a scenario of a Tiraspol’s self victimization meant to undermine negotiations between Chisinau and Brussels.

Finally, the campaign of the Communist Party of Moldova to join the Customs Union of Russia and Belarus is part of the same trend, to fragile EU – Chisinau negotiations. The campaign is based, as we argue in the report, on an unknown union (customs union honestly cannot work as long as a supranational regulator has a hegemony in Russia) and on a lie (Communist Party accredits the hypothesis that Moldova can be part European Economic Area and may also accede to the Union with Russia, which is not possible).

Fully report (in Romanian) on www.crpe.ro. Click here for detalis