February 21. 2024. 6:10

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‘No shortcuts’ to EU accession, Austria tells Moldova amid fears of Russian coup

There are no shortcuts to EU accession, Austria’s EU Minister Karoline Edtstadler said during her trip with seven of her European counterparts to Moldova on Wednesday, where she also expressed solidarity towards the country where many fear Russia’s agression could also spread.

Fears of a Russian takeover in Moldova have increased in the past weeks, particularly after President Maia Sandu accused Russia of plotting to violently overthrow her government – claims Russia has so far denied.

Amid such mounting concerns, Edtstadler, together with Sweden’s Jessika Roswall, Germany’s Anna Lührmann, France’s Laurence Boone, Liechtenstein’s Dominique Hasler, Lithuania’s Jovita Neliupšienė, Bulgaria’s Velislava Petrova and Romania’s Mihaela Cămărăşan travelled to Moldova’s capital, Chisinau on Wednesday.

Regarding Moldova’s hopes of joining the European Union, Lührmann, Boone, Roswall and some others unanimously stressed that Moldova, an EU accession candidate since June 2022, belonged to the European family.

On the side of Austria, Edtstadler stressed the need for Moldova to meet the prerequisites for accession, noting that “there are no shortcuts to EU membership,” APA reported.

At the same time, during the joint press conference, Moldova’s Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu stressed the country’s wish to start EU accession negotiations as soon as possible. “Our goals for the coming year are very clear: we want to start negotiations on joining the EU,” he said, APA reported.

Russia’s “brutal aggression” against Ukraine has had an “enormous impact” on society, the economy and the general political situation in Moldova, the minister said, adding that with European help, it was possible to maintain “peace, stability and tranquillity” on the territory despite hybrid attacks, and refugee and energy crises.

As the European ministers’ trip to Molodova coincided with International Women’s Day, Edtstadler said that the important roles in society, including in peacekeeping, “should be made visible” – referring in particular to soldier’s mothers, rape victims, women in the military and in politics.

(Chiara Swaton | EURACTIV.de)