Moldova has been granted observer status by the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), in another shift towards Moscow following the election of its new pro-Russian president. EURACTIV Romania reports.
President Igor Dodon revealed on Friday (14 April) that the five member states of the EAEU, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, agreed to bring Moldova into the fold at a meeting held in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.
“Moldova is the first country that has received this honour. Several countries have put forward initiatives for signing Memorandums of Cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union, Free Trade Agreements or other forms of cooperation with EAEU,” Dodon said in a statement.
He added that it was a “historic day” for the small land-locked Eastern European country but that it did not mean Moldova will become a member of the EAEU right away.
Last month, the head of state asked the EAEU’s Supreme Council to grant Moldova observer status within the Union. On 3 April, a cooperation agreement was signed between the two parties.
But Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip, who heads the Democratic Party, warned that the paper Dodon signed has “no legal value” and that it “falls outside of the legal framework”.
Filip also explained that “it is parliament that is the supreme body that approves the direction of domestic and foreign policy”.
Observer status means that the country will be able to take part in the organisation’s activities but it will have no right to vote or participate in decision-making processes.
Dodon insisted that this new status does not conflict with Moldova’s Association Agreement with the EU. The president has in the past suggested he would actually like to see the Agreement scrapped if the Socialist Party, which he used to lead, gains a parliamentary majority next year.
But Dodon also claimed that Moldova is “destined to be friends with both West and East, while maintaining and strengthening neutrality and statehood”, despite previously opposing further NATO cooperation.