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27 May, 2023 22:00

Little support for ex-Soviet state to merge with EU neighbor

Moldova will seek EU membership as an independent country, President Maia Sandu has said
Little support for ex-Soviet state to merge with EU neighbor

The idea of Moldova acceding to its EU neighbor, Romania, does not have enough popular support, President Maia Sandu said in an interview with Geopolitique news portal this week. 

Some in the post-Soviet state even find the notion frightening, the president, who also holds a Romanian passport, added. “There is support for reunification with Romania, but not enough,” she told the news portal. Moldovans are in favor of joining the EU, but as a separate nation, she said. 

“There are also people who fear reunification, there is indeed a discussion that’s been there for a long time, but again, there is not enough support for this to happen,” the president stated. Instead, Sandu said, Moldova seeks to join the EU and begin negotiations regarding the move as soon as possible.

According to Geopolitique, 1 million Moldovans, roughly a quarter of the nation’s total population, already hold Romanian passports. A poll conducted by the Institute of Public Policies in Moldova in December 2022 found that only 35% of Moldovans support the idea of reunification with Romania, which has been floated ever since the post-Soviet state gained its independence in 1991. 

A poll conducted by Avangarde research group in April shows that Romanians are even less in favor of the idea. Over half oppose the move, and only around a third support reunification, the survey said. 

More than half of Romanians also oppose the idea of sending troops to Moldova in case of a conflict with Russia, while 35% of respondents oppose providing the country with military equipment in these circumstances. 

Moldova is a former Soviet republic with a population that is mostly ethnic Romanian. Sandu has consistently implemented pro-Western policies since her election in 2020. Moldova has actively cooperated with NATO in recent years, sending troops to join the military bloc’s forces in Kosovo. The country was granted EU candidate status last June.