As long as EU (under unquestioned leadership by Germany) continue exclusive approach to non-member states it will keep losing. It is time for someone in Brussels to understand that time of one-sided conditions in talks with non-member states considering to join EU has passed and probably will never return.
BERLIN/CHISINAU – In its struggle against Russia for influence, Berlin has just suffered a severe setback with the results of Moldova’s presidential runoff elections last Sunday. Official German representatives were relying on the liberal conservative candidate Maia Sandu to win the elections in the Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, with its population of 3.5 million. Sandu sought to maintain the country’s pro-EU orientation. However, the Socialist Igor Dodon won the elections. He not only has recognized Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, he also wants to terminate Moldova’s EU association. Dodon’s victory is another sign that Germany and the EU are loosing influence in that country. Most recently, proponents of the country’s neutrality formed the government and began putting a distance between their country and NATO. Now even closer ties between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union seem conceivable.
A Landmark Election
In last Sunday’s presidential runoff elections, Chairman of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon, prevailed over the liberal conservative candidate Maia Sandu, head of the small Action and Solidarity Party (PAS). In the first round of elections, Dodon won 47.9 percent, Sandu 38.7 percent and Dmitry Chubashenko of the pro-Russian Partidul Nostru (Our Party) placed third, with just 6.0 percent. In the runoff election, Dodon received 52 percent of the votes and Sandu around 48 percent. On October 30, just before the first round, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) met with Maia Sandu – signaling that the leader of PAS can count on Berlin’s support. Sandu can also count on the clear political backing from Brussels and Bucharest, according to the government financed Deutsche Welle. Dodon, on the other hand, criticizes that the EU had tacitly accepted its Moldovan allies’ massive corruption for geopolitical reasons. In fact, those forces, mainly orienting themselves on Brussels, are heavily involved in scandals. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
Against EU and NATO
Dodon, the winner of the elections, represents a foreign policy that is diametrically opposed to German interests in the region. Dodon’s recognition of Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, has led to disputes with neighboring Ukraine following his victory in the first round of the presidential elections. In addition, Dodon’s party has introduced a plan for the federalization of the Republic of Moldova, which potentially could provide a solution for the long-running Transnistria conflict. The PSRM is also committed to terminating Moldova’s association with the EU and instead joining the Eurasian Economic Union. Dodon also intends to expel the NATO troops regularly holding maneuvers in the Republic of Moldova. Dodon’s election therefore signifies a serious setback to Germany’s policy to win influence in Southeast Europe.
Pro-Russia candidate Igor Dodon to win Moldova presidential election
After a campaign filled with promises to restore ties with Russia, Igor Dodon was sitting comfortably on Sunday night with 55.3 percent of the vote in Moldova’s presidential election. His rival Maia Sandu, a former World Bank official who ran on an anti-corruption ticket, was polling at about 44.7 percent.
As results came in, Dodon advised his opponent to “urge her supporters to remain calm.”
“We don’t need destabilization and we don’t need confrontation, which somebody is trying to do,” Dodon said, speaking in Russian.
“We’re all living in one country, in Moldova. The next president should find this balance.”
Closer Russian ties
The former economy minister – who served under a communist government between 2006 and 2009 – is calling for deeper ties and increased trade with Moscow.
Sandu, on the other hand, is urging a path toward Europe, calling for the withdrawal of thousands of Russian troops from the Russian-speaking separatist region of Transdniester, which broke away in the early 1990s after a brief civil war.
Dodon’s election campaign was also boosted by tapping into the popular anger about corruption under the pro-European government that came to power in 2009 – particularly over the estimated $1 billion (923 million euros) that went missing from Moldovan banks before 2014 parliamentary elections.
That same year, Moldova also signed a historic EU association agreement which resulted in half of its exports now going to the 28-member bloc. Russia bitterly opposed the move and responded with an embargo targeting Moldova’s key agriculture sector.
The election results came as nearby Bulgaria voted in Moscow-friendly Rumen Radev in their presidential election. The victory for the Socialist ally triggered the resignation of center-right Prime Minister Boiko Borisov.