President Maia Sandu organized a pro-EU rally in Chisinau on May 21. She set 2030 as the country’s deadline for gaining membership in the EU.
In less than two weeks, on June 1, the European Political Community will gather in Chisinau with heads of state and representatives from EU institutions. Hosting the summit is a reflection of the significant support that the EU and its member states have shown for Moldova in recent years, especially since the pro-EU government in Chisinau announced their solid commitment to EU membership. The assistance was and continues to be crucial in assisting the nation to resist the demands put forward by Russia amid the conflict in neighboring Ukraine.
Alongside Sandu, the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, spoke to the audience in Romanian.
“Europe witnessed your bravery and how you opted for freedom over despotism. The entire world witnessed your tremendous kindness toward the Ukrainians, as you welcomed them into your homes and hearts. As required, we are prepared to help you,” Metsola stated.
In her speech, Sandu acknowledged that the route to EU membership is long and necessitates the creation of new state institutions, but she also complimented the nation’s tenacity displayed over the past three decades since it proclaimed independence.
“Moldovans know how to make the right choice because there is no family that does not have brothers or grandchildren in Europe. We know that peace and prosperity are in Europe. Moldova will join the European Union, and this must happen by 2030,”Maia Sandu, President of Moldova
Concerning the separatist Transnistria region, which is viewed as a barrier to the nation’s EU integration, Sandu advocated for a negotiated resolution that should go hand in hand with increasing the prosperity in the region.
Additionally, Sandu demanded that the constitution be changed to make EU membership a goal for all political parties, who would rule up until the goal is met. Notably, only a majority of the electorate in Moldova must vote to change the constitution.
According to polls, more than 50% of people favor joining the EU. But to ensure a smooth transition, it is necessary to at least get the support of the Russian-speaking community, which is still heavily influenced by Russian propaganda. The recent elections in Gagauzia, where the pro-EU parties did not participate, leaving the two pro-Russian parties to vie for support in Moscow, demonstrated how much work is still to be done to turn ethnic diversity into an asset for Moldova.
A record number of 2.7 million people, of which 1 million are thought to be working abroad, attended the demonstration in Chisinau. The same thing was done in over 30 places across Europe where Moldovans live and work to support their families.
The pro-Russian party led by convicted businessman Ilan Shor organized rallies in the northern cities of Ohei and Balti as well as Comrat in the semi-autonomous Gagauzia region in response to the pro-EU event in Chisinau. Shor, who recently received a 15-year prison sentence but is currently at large in Israel, addressed to the participants and pledged to hold a referendum to determine whether or not the country’s citizens genuinely favor joining the EU.