Moldova to choose between European Union and Eurasian Union
The Moldovans will know by the fifth of August whether a popular referendum on Moldova’s accession to the Eurasian Union will be held. Some 232,000 signatures collected throughout the country have been sent to the Central Electoral Commission of Moldova demanding to ask the citizens whether they want to join this new political-economic structure.
The Eurasian Union is a proposed political and economic union between former USSR republics which is due to be established by 2015. It is still a project which will be signed between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus when all the regulations will be set. The union will ensure a single customs territory after the model of the Schengen zone.
Moldova is invited to join, but the society is split. Some say they want to ‘relive the former Soviet era’ by joining this community, while others think that the European Union is Moldova’s new direction.
Among the supporters of the initiative are the Social-Democrats, the Communists, as well as the leaders of Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria. The political will from this side is quite strong, but Liberal-Democrat Premier Vlad Filat believes that Moldova’s future is in the European Union.
“Republic of Moldova has set a very clear goal. This aim is the European Union integration, which erases from the beginning the possibility to join another community,” Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat said in May this year.
According to him, Moldova will continue to have strong relations with the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which are former Soviet republics. He said Moldova will co-operate on the bilateral level with the countries of the Eurasian Union.
“It is our interest to exist good relations,” explained Mr. Filat, “but our top priority is Moldova’s integration within the European community.”
Igor Botan, executive director of the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT) previously stated that Moldova has to decide whether it wants to move West or East and to prove it is a reliable partner no matter what side it takes.
“Moldova is in a very important European integration process and the oscillation between the EU and the Eurasian Union is mortal for it,” Mr. Botan said, quoted by Info-Prim Neo. He continued by saying that a small country with low economic potential like the Republic of Moldova is not able to afford moving back and forth as it may be ignored by the West and the East if it does not prove that it is a reliable partner.
The Republic of Moldova has showed a strong commitment in adopting the European values during the past two years. It is member of the European Eastern Partnership which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The European Union has become a significant donor to Moldova. Since Moldova gained its independence in 1991, the EU has offered more than 500 million Euro to Moldova. The same amount is foreseen for 2010-2013 time period to bolster the EU integration aspirations of the countries within the Eastern Partnership.
Azerbaijan is another former Soviet state which rejects the offer to join Russia’s new union. A week ago the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee Aydin Aliyev said his country does not intend joining the Eurasian Union.
A Eurasian Economic Commission was established in February 2012. The ratification of the economic union is forecasted to enter into force in 2015.
Vasiliy Boitsov, the head of the Eurasian Economic Commission for technical regulation, stated that the states willing to join the Eurasian union will be asked to meet certain requirements. These include sanitary and safety standards among the others.
By Valeriu Gonta