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The Republic of Moldova is seriously engaged in attempting to gain membership of the European Union. The first step in its ambitious objective was the negotiating process initiated in 2010 as a prelude to a future association agreement. The latter is intended to be an innovative and ambitious document to go beyond the established cooperation framework and to open up a new stage in EU-Moldovan relations by enhancing political dialogue and deepening sectoral cooperation.
Moldova’s ongoing reform process covers many different fields, such as justice, the rule of law, economic recovery, governance, sector co-operation, security and a wide-ranging liberalisation of Moldova trade. It aims to modernise the country but is also a blueprint for a comprehensive programme of regulatory alignment with the EU, with a view to its future accession. In the eyes of the EU, the positive results of negotiations so far and the deepening of the free trade area make Moldova one of its top-priority countries for the Eastern Partnership.
There are still some unresolved issues that could hinder Moldova’s chances of joining the 27-member club. Its persistent frozen conflict with the secessionist province of Transnistria is still a very long way from a solution. Furthermore, the current tension between Russia and Moldova, due to the latter’s increasingly closer relations with the UE and its decision to wind down its dependence on Russian gas with the new Europe Pipeline, is also beginning to pose a threat to Moldova’s future integration in the EU.
Nevertheless, Moldova is firmly determined to join the Union. Its foreign service’s first objective is to obtain a visa-free regime for Moldovan citizens. In this respect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mobilising its resources with a view to the forthcoming 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit, to take place in Vilnius. This involves visiting the various European countries in order to curry support for the attainment of visa-free status and to accelerate the signing of its Association Agreement with the EU.
Natalia Gherman. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
The Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Nathalia Gherman, visited Madrid recently with the object of strengthening bilateral relations with Spain and to promote Moldova’s accession to the EU. We took the opportunity to interview Ms. Gherman during her brief visit to the Elcano Royal Institute.