Nearly an Ultimatum: Anti-Russian Sanctions Expected from Moldova

Home / Analytics / Nearly an Ultimatum: Anti-Russian Sanctions Expected from Moldova
Semyon ALBU
EU links support for the sanctions regime against Russia with further progress towards European integration
The “carrots and sticks” policy that Brussels likes to apply in Moldova continues. Only recently I have been discussing why the EU decided to arrange a public flogging of the Moldovan authorities, and how exactly they will have to pay for all the political and economic advances given to our leadership last year. And now EU Ambassador Janis Mazeiks, as if in confirmation of my words, without any hesitation, sets the record straight. “We understand the reasons why Moldova has not yet joined certain sanctions, but, at the same time, we surely expect an increase in compliance with European sanctions, because the country is a candidate for accession, and joining restrictive measures is another way to clearly demonstrate a commitment to European values,” the European emissary told in his interview with Free Europe. This is far from the first time that various EU figures are “probing” Moldova for compliance with the sanctions regime against Russia. And every time the idea is promoted that the country wishing to become a part of the European Union (let alone an entire official candidate) must necessarily follow the “common thread” and show solidarity. The same Mazeiks at the end of last year carefully spoke about how, although the EU was not asking Moldova to adhere to the anti-Russian sanctions, but “would be glad” if we did. The pressure on our country on this issue is now evidently growing. Apparently, Brussels has had enough of softly hinting and pushing Moldova to the necessary decision, and the question is now put almost as an ultimatum, even though it does not seem that way at first sight. As they say, read between the lines. In his interview the ambassador equated joining the sanctions with a “demonstration of commitment to European values”. And according to the same Mazeiks, how many years Moldova will wait for joining the EU depends directly on the demonstration of adherence to European values: “...The accession process will take years. There are estimates that it could last until 2030, or estimates that it could take several decades, but it really depends on how the existing commitment to European integration is maintained. If there is a clear motivation of the population to stick to this European path, then the accession process will take less time.”  Basically, you get it. And it’s not like blackmailing our government, no. This is fair. We put out our own $600 million bill this year, and the European Union put out its own one. What is wrong with that? The more so: the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has recently joyfully announced that the EC proposed to double current macro-financial aid to Moldova – 145 million euros, to support "its economy and energy security. This proposal, however, still needs to be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament. Besides, an important clarification was made: the additional aid will be strictly conditioned by the progress of our country in the implementation of the IMF program and “implementation of recommendations on European integration”. It turns out that formally Brussels continues to demand from us all these notorious European reforms, which we have not been able to implement for almost a decade and a half. Mazeiks, for example, admonishes that the process of harmonization of the Moldovan legislation is not just copy-paste and that the EU will keep a close eye not only on what reforms are implemented, but also on how it’s done. Another thing is that according to a number of implicit and not so implicit signs, our main international partner is not really interested in all this. At least, not right now. Despite the lawlessness, corruption scandals, endless state of emergency, pressure on the opposition, etc., the EU “field mission” in Moldova, as well as the central institutions of the Union, are in no hurry to criticize. In the end, beautiful words remain words, and the real attitude towards the “European integration of Moldova” can be seen when Mazeiks in all seriousness calls the odious prevetting procedure, which paralyzed the work of the judiciary, a “success story”. The previous success story cost the country a billion dollars stolen from the banking system. Apparently, the only thing left to do now is to wait for it to happen again, since the EU is willing to turn a blind eye to any lawlessness perpetrated by PAS. Although, according to former Prime Minister Ion Chicu, the government has already stolen its billion (adjusted for the exchange rate). Considering that the elections are still a long way off, one can imagine that all the achievements of the past Euro-integrators will be more than surpassed. You can draw your own conclusions from this whole story. But given how important European success is for the ruling party (in fact, it is the only trump card left up their sleeve), Brussels’ demands are unlikely to go unsatisfied. All the more so for such “big prizes” – hundreds of millions of aid and the start of accession negotiations with the EU. Which will not bring accession any closer, but it will look good in the election pamphlets. And that’s all that is needed.