EU leaders gather in Moldova/ Symbolic meeting in the border country with Ukraine

2023-05-30 22:57:56, Kosova & Bota CNA

EU leaders gather in Moldova/ Symbolic meeting in the border country with

More than 40 European leaders will meet in Moldova on Thursday to express support for the former Soviet republic and the country bordering Ukraine, as Kiev prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Russian troops.

The meeting of the 27 member states of the European Union and 20 other European states at a castle in Moldova, a country known for its wine production, will include discussions on strategic issues, as well as mark the launch of a new EU partnership mission with this country.

However, the meeting represents mostly a symbolic display of unification, on Ukraine's doorstep.

"If you're in Moscow and you see 47 countries coming together, in your nearest neighbor, that's an important message," an EU official told reporters ahead of the summit, which will take place on 40 kilometers southeast of the capital Chisinau.

A country with a population of 2.5 million located between Ukraine and NATO member Romania, Moldova has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country, while coping with rising food and energy prices. as a result of the war.

The government has accused Moscow of trying to destabilize the predominantly Romanian-speaking country by using its influence over the separatist movement in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Transnistria.

The meeting of the European Political Community, the second of this format, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, will discuss issues including cyber security, migration and energy security. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss tensions on the continent, ranging from Azerbaijan and Armenia to the recent clashes in northern Kosovo.

The meeting will be held as Kiev prepares for a counter-offensive, using recently purchased Western weapons, to try to drive Russian troops from its territory.

As Ukraine, Moldova also applied for EU membership last year, shortly after Russian aggression, and Chisinau officials are planning to use the high-level meeting to show progress on reforms and convince leaders to open talks. for the fastest possible membership in the European Union.

"For us, the presence of 50 leaders in Moldova is a historic moment... it is the biggest foreign policy event Moldova has ever hosted," said Olga Rosca, foreign policy adviser to President Maia Sandu.

"It is our way to speed up the process of admission to the EU", she added.

According to her, Moldova aims to have a decision at the high-level meeting of the European Council in December, so that membership talks can start in early 2024.

Some are concerned that differing expectations among participating countries and the broad scope of the high-level meeting, for which France has provided logistical and security support, will be an obstacle to achieving concrete policy success.

Political divisions and traditional rivalries between several participating countries, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey, could make things even more difficult.

"With what is happening in Ukraine it is important that this meeting is happening, as is the discussion on energy supply and migration," said a senior European diplomat.

At the first meeting of this format, in Prague last year, some progress was made in the EU-led effort to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

On Thursday, the leaders of these countries will hold talks with EU representatives, French President Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz./ VOA

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