amid tensions with Russia, thousands gather for a pro-EU demonstration in the capital of Moldova.
The president of Moldova, Maia Sandu, organized a sizable pro-EU rally that took place in Chisinau.
To support Ms. Sandu’s well-publicized campaign for Moldova to join the EU, an estimated 75,000 people showed there.
Her pro-Western administration had earlier charged Russia with inciting unrest by backing the pro-Russian opposition Sor party in Moldova. Moscow denies interfering in domestic matters.
Ms. Sandu informed the protesters that her nation no longer desired to be an anomaly.
She declared, “We don’t want to be on the periphery of Europe anymore,” promising that Moldova would join the EU by 2030.
Moldova “does not want to be blackmailed by the Kremlin,” she added, speaking to the people waving EU flags and chanting pro-European phrases at the protest.
The conspiracy, according to Ms. Sandu, would involve “protests by the so-called opposition,” with the goal of “overthrowing the constitutional order.” She accused Russia of planning to deploy foreign “saboteurs” to topple her government in February.
The claims were rejected by Russia’s foreign ministry, which described them as “completely unfounded and unsubstantiated”.
With a population of roughly 2.6 million, Moldova is a former Soviet republic that sought to join the EU last year. It joined Ukraine as a candidate nation in June 2022.
Both nations’ efforts to join the 27-nation bloc have escalated as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not the least of which is the defense it provides against any Russian threat.
The war has had a significant impact on Moldova; it has been alleged that Russian missiles have repeatedly entered Moldovan airspace while en route to Ukraine.
The nation, which is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, is also dependent on Russian gas, which Moscow took advantage of by halving Moldova’s supply last year.
This spurred demonstrations over the increased cost of gas and electricity, which in turn led to Natalia Gavrilita, the previous prime minister of Moldova, resigning earlier this year.
Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, addressed the participants at the demonstration on Sunday and praised them for defying Russian threats to turn out in large numbers.
According to her, a “Europe with Moldova can be stronger” and that the EU will welcome Moldova “with open arms and open hearts.”
The Moldovan administration, she continued, was “slowly implementing reforms” that the EU desired to see implemented before to the start of accession negotiations, including changes to the legal system and a pledge to “fight corruption at all levels.”
We must admit that we are really pleased with the progress made thus far, said Ms. Metsola.
According to research by the think tank Pew Research Centre, current EU members received candidacy status on average 3.5 years after submitting their applications.
Even while Ukraine and Moldova’s bids were approved far more quickly—in less than four months—it might still take some time before they are granted full membership.