There is still a long way to go, and as President Maia Sandu herself admits, the process of joining the European Union will require “hard work and a lot of effort”. However, Moldova is not sulking its joy at having been recognized, this Thursday, June 23, the status of candidate country for future membership of the European Union. “We are beginning the path towards the European Union which will bring prosperity to Moldovans, give more possibilities and ensure better order in the country”, declared the president, visibly very moved. It must be said that the current Moldovan government feels deeply European, to the point of having already installed the blue flag with golden stars on the roof of its parliament. And in the streets of the capital, Chisinau, it is not uncommon to see the emblem of the Twenty-Seven floating from the balconies.

At first glance, however, Moldova does not have the right profile. Former Soviet republic, it lived most of its independence under the yoke of pro-Russian leaders, like Igor Dodon, president between 2016 and 2020 and now imprisoned for treason because of his links with the Kremlin . Because for two years, it is the pro-European Maia Sandu who leads this country, the poorest in Europe, and tries to put an end to decades of corruption in all spheres of the State. This effort for change is one of the reasons why the 27 have granted Moldova candidate status, but there is still a lot of work to do, because in an economy with poverty wages where the president herself only earns 900 euros per month, the bribe is an almost indispensable income. Helping the government in its process of fiscal consolidation is a mission cut out for the European Union.

The reason for the unanimous vote of the Council of European Ministers in favor of “yes” is above all a response to the current geopolitical context. Indeed, not only does Moldova share a 939 kilometer border with Ukraine, thereby welcoming many refugees, but it is also directly threatened by Russia, which de facto controls Transnistria, a self-proclaimed republic not recognized by the UN. From this region, Russia is trying to weaken the government in Chisinau and is counting on the elections scheduled for 2024 to restore the lost power of its affiliated potentates. For this reason, the European Union has every interest in placing Moldova in its fold, preventing it from falling backwards, and nipping in the bud any Russian inclination.

Since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, tension has increased on the artificial border between Moldova and Transnistria, and rocket attacks were even reported a few weeks ago. Refusing to pledge allegiance to Moscow, President Maia Sandu needs the European Union to fulfill her liberalization and security objectives, while she has to face the wrath of Vladimir Putin, who has quadrupled the price of gas transported to Moldova. Dependent 100% on Russian energy, the country is also connected to the European electricity grid, to avoid any sudden cuts. We understand why June 23 was described as “historic” by the president of a state of less than three million inhabitants whose Constitution prohibits any military alliance or reception of foreign troops on its soil. A Constitution based on values ​​of peace. Those that the European Union is responsible for maintaining in its texts.