May 31, 2023

Moldova Needs More From Europe Than a Symbolic Summit

On June 1st, the second summit of the European Political Community (EPC) will take place in Chisinău. The decision to hold this gathering of 47 heads of state and government in Moldova is an important signal of the country’s advancement toward European integration—a goal which has only become more urgent in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Yet persistent Russian influence operations in Moldova have made clear that this progress can be fragile and that Moldova’s path to European Union (EU) membership is far from inevitable. While symbolic expressions of commitment to Moldova’s European vocation such as the EPC summit are valuable, ultimately only Moldova’s accession to the European Union can guarantee its freedom from Moscow’s attempts to reclaim its empire.

The EU must match Russia’s long-term commitment to subverting Moldova’s politics with its own long-term strategy for supporting the country’s path toward full membership in the bloc.

Originally proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron in May 2022, the EPC’s primary function is to promote dialogue among countries across the European continent. By excluding Russia and its increasingly vassalized neighbor Belarus, the club also provides its members with a sense of shared geopolitical alignment, which is especially important for countries such as Moldova and Ukraine that have struggled to break free from Moscow’s influence since gaining independence. Nonetheless, the lack of meaningful deliverables from the inaugural EPC summit in Prague last October illustrated the format’s limitations. It seems unlikely that the Chisinău summit will produce much for its host beyond another perfunctory “family photo” and the usual statements about Moldova’s future being in Europe rather than part of the Russian sphere of influence.

Read the full article from The Wilson Center.

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