On Monday (April 24), EU foreign ministers are anticipated to provide their political approval for the creation of a new framework of penalties against Moldovan billionaires who are attempting to topple the pro-Western government in Chisinau.
The new framework states that the EU’s asset freezes and travel bans will only apply to people who are “engaged in actions or policies that undermine or threaten Moldova’s sovereignty and independence, as well as democracy, the rule of law, stability or security in Moldova.”
As crimes, “undermining the conduct of elections” and “supporting violent demonstrations or other acts of violence” are listed alongside “serious financial misuse of public funds” and “unauthorized export of capital” from the nation.
After Moldovan officials voiced alarm about intelligence concerns that Russia may be funding violent rallies and preparing saboteurs there, Romania first put forth the idea in February.
Following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, with names to be selected later, the framework law is anticipated to be adopted later this week.
Both the US and the UK have already taken steps to sanction individuals, including two Moldovan oligarchs who are already widely known for corruption in Moldova’s political and economic institutions.
No names yet
There are currently no names on this list that could persuade those in charge of such unsettling behavior.
The EU member states and Moldova will then compile evidence before naming the guilty parties, as the list, like any system of sanctions, must hold up in court if subsequently contested.
The new sanctions framework would probably target two fugitive oligarchs listed by Moldovan authorities for aiding Russia’s operations—Ilan Shor and Vladimir Plahotniuc—despite not being mentioned officially, according to two EU diplomats.
Shor finances a pro-Russian populist party in Moldova called ȘOR, which has been organizing increasingly aggressive protests over the past year.
Plahotniuc and Sor are wanted in Moldova on charges of embezzling nearly 1 billion euros from its banks.
For the EU, this is a way to continue to target the Russians for their destabilization of the continent beyond the war in Ukraine and their actions there.