Moldova–European Union relations
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Moldova has strong ties to EU member Romania and Romanian passports (for EU citizenship) are often granted by Romania to Moldovan citizens. The Republic of Moldova actively pursues EU membership, but it is poorer than any other European country and has to resolve issues over its break away region of Transnistria before it can join.
Nevertheless, the EU is developing an increasingly close relationship with Moldova, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation The EU has opened an office in Chişinău (the Moldovan capital), and appointed on 23 March 2005, a special representative, Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged, to Moldova to focus on the resolution of the crisis in Transnistria. The European Commission opened up a new office in Moldova on 6 October 2005, headed by Cesare de Montis. The major strategic priority of Moldova now is membership in European institutions.
Moldova is implementing its first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the ENP of the EU.
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) represents the legal framework for the Republic of Moldova – European Union relationship. The Agreement was signed on 28 November 1994 and entered into force on 1 July 1998 for the next 10 years. This arrangement provides for a basis of cooperation with the EU in the political, commercial, economic, legal, cultural and scientific areas.
The EU Moldova Action Plan is a political document laying out the strategic objectives of cooperation between Moldova and the EU. It covers a timeframe of three years. Its implementation will help fulfill the provisions in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and will encourage and support Moldova’s objective of further integration into European economic and social structures. Implementation of the Action Plan will significantly advance the approximation of Moldovan legislation, norms and standards to those of the European Union.
Moldova and the EU began negotiating an Association Agreement (AA), including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, to replace the PCA in January 2010. The government of Moldova hoped to sign the AA in November 2013 at the Eastern Partnership summit, and in November 2012 EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule stated that negotiations could be completed by then. The AA was initialled at the summit, but must still be signed before being finalised.
On 24 January 2011 Moldova officially received an "action plan" toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel from the EU's Internal Affairs Commissioner. In November 2013, the Commission proposed that visa requirements for short term visits be abolished for Moldovan citizens holding biometric passports, with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius suggesting the change could take place in early as 2014. On 13 February the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee approved lifting the visa requirements, and the full parliament voted in favour on 27 February. It is expected that the Council will give their consent by April.
Delegations such as the one in Moldova exist all over the world. Altogether there are over 136.
The Delegation's mandate includes:
- Promotion of the political and economic relations between the countries of accreditation and the European Union;
- Monitoring the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCA) between the EU and Moldova;
- Informing the public of the development of the EU and to explain and defend individual EU policies;
- Participating in the implementation of the EU's external assistance programmes (mainly TACIS, FSP, ENPI), focusing on the support of democratic development and good governance, regulatory reform and administrative capacity building, poverty reduction and economic growth.
Alliance For European Integration
In August 2009, four Moldovan parties agreed to create a governing coalition, called Alliance For European Integration. The Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party, and Our Moldova have committed themselves to achieving such goals as European integration and promoting a balanced, consistent and responsible foreign policy.
On 2 February 2014, the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia held two referendums on European integration. In one, 98.4% voted in favour joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, while in the second 97.2% opposed further integration with the EU. 98.9% also supported the proposition that Gagauzia could declare independence if Moldova unified with Romania. There is concern in Gagauzia that Moldova's integration with the EU could lead such a unification with EU member Romania, which is unpopular in the autonomous region.
- Moldova and EU on the official Moldova site
- Moldova will prove that it can and has chances to become EU member, Moldpress News Agency, 19 June 2007
- Moldova-EU Action Plan Approved by European Commission, 14 December 2004, retrieved 2 July 2007
- EU-Moldova Action Plan
- "EU - Moldova Association Agreement". European External Action Service.
- Ciocoiu, Paul (2013-01-26). "Moldova seeks Romania's European expertise". Southeast European Times. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "EU Commissioner: EU, Ukraine May Sign Association Agreement Next Year". PR Newswire. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "Initialling of the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement". European External Action Service. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- EU Gives Moldovans 'Action Plan' For Visa-Free Travel, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (24 January 2010)
- Lithuanian minister: EU, Moldova may shift to visa-free travel in early 2014
- "European Parliamentary Committee OKs Lifting Visa Regime". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- "Parliament gives green light to visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens". European Parliament. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- The Delegation's of the European Commission to Moldova Mandate
- "Gagauzia Voters Reject Closer EU Ties For Moldova". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
- "Concerned About EU Integration, Moldova's Gagauz Region Holds Disputed Referendum". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
- europa.eu foreign relations Moldova-EU
- Delegation of the European Commission to Moldova site
- www.mfa.md - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova RM-EU relations page
- EU-Moldova Negotiations: what is to be discussed, what could be achieved? document