| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

With war on its doorstep, Moldova applies for EU membership

On Thursday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu signed a formal application to join the European Union, charting a pro-Western trajectory expedited by Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Sandu’s move comes only days after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a proposal for urgent EU membership in the face of Russian invasion.

Moscow is vehemently opposed to the EU’s and, particularly, NATO’s eastern expansion, which it regards as a direct danger to its own national security.

Sandu, the prime minister and the parliamentary speaker all signed the document during a briefing in the capital Chisinau, where pro-Russian and pro-EU politicians have vied for control since Moldova won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“It took 30 years for Moldova to reach maturity, but today the country is ready to take responsibility for its own future,” said Sandu, before holding up the signed document to the television cameras.

“We want to live in peace, prosperity, be part of the free world. While some decisions take time, others must be made quickly and decisively, and taking advantage of the opportunities that come with a changing world,” she said.

The application will be sent to Brussels in the coming days, she said.

Negotiations to join the EU – which both Chisinau and Kyiv have not even begun – typically take many years as the candidate country aligns its legislation with that of the 27-nation bloc.

EU leaders may discuss Ukraine’s request at an informal summit next month, diplomats said.

  • Reuters