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NEXT4EU perspectives on Moldova’s EU integration

Javier Allegue Barros / Unsplash
Javier Allegue Barros / Unsplash

At the European Council summit on 21/22 March 2024, Moldova's progress with regard to EU accession negotiations will be reviewed. In four contributions, participants of our NEXT4EU trip take a look at existing challenges for Moldova's EU integration process.

In December 2023, the European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Moldova still has to fulfil three remaining reform conditions by the next summit in March 2024 before negotiations on EU accession can actually begin.

How does Moldovan civil society view further EU rapprochement? What is the situation in the generally pro-Russian parts of the country, in Gagauzia and the unrecognised Transnistria region? In four contributions, German civil society representatives address the current situation in the Republic of Moldova as well as the upcoming challenges on the path to EU membership.

"On the eve of the decision on EU accession negotiations - impressions from the Republic of Moldova"

In her report, Susanne Glass, Head of Foreign Affairs and Political Background at Bayerischer Rundfunk, sheds light on current challenges for the Republic of Moldova in its preparations for EU membership: these include the lack of support for rural population groups and disinformation campaigns by Russia as part of its hybrid warfare against the country.

"Overdeliver and Underpromise" - the Republic of Moldova in the EU accession process

Viktoria Voglsinger-Palm, Deputy Managing Director of the Southeast Europe Association in Munich, sheds light on the Moldovan government's current EU rapprochement process in her article. She compares this process with the experiences of the Western Balkan countries and formulates recommendations on how the EU and Moldova can avoid the "Balkan trap".

The status of Transnistria and neutrality: major obstacles for Moldovaʼs EU accession and few incentives for reforms

In their analysis, Julian Plottka (University of Bonn) and Florence Ertel (University of Passau) focus on the geopolitical challenges faced by the Republic of Moldova in the accession process: on the one hand, this includes the question of how the breakaway region of Transnistria can be dealt with in the accession process. In addition, the "neutrality" of the Republic of Moldova enshrined in the constitution is in conflict with assistance obligations arising from future EU membership.

Re-united in Diversity? Challenges and Opportunities in the dialogue with Gagauzia for Moldova's EU Accession

Florence Ertel (University of Passau) and Julian Plottka (University of Bonn) analyse the current relations between the Moldovan government and the authorities of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, an autonomous, traditionally pro-Russian region in the south of the country. It illustrates the tension between the political isolation of Gagauzia's dubiously elected political leadership and the danger of further alienating the local population from Moldova's EU integration course.

The four contributions were produced as part of the NEXT4EU Exchange Visit to the Republic of Moldova, which took place in the week before the European Council's decision to open accession negotiations. In discussions with representatives of the government, opposition, local politics, civil society, media and the international community, a group of journalists, think tankers and academics were able to gain a first-hand impression of the situation in the country.

Team & authors

About the NEXT4EU: Young generation for EU integration project: The Republic of Moldova was officially designated as a candidate country for the European Union in June 2022.. The NEXT4EU project supports civil society in accompanying European reforms and especially the young generation in engaging in the integration process.

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