A recent agreement with the EU connects Moldova to the Union's foreign policy.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest -- 29/01/13
Moldova Prime Minister Vladimir Filat signed the framework agreement with EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. [AFP]
The framework agreement signed between Moldova and the EU, which allows the country to participate in EU crisis management operations, is bringing the country closer to Union membership, officials in Chisinau said.
"Moldova's efforts to join the EU involve aligning all its policies in all fields, especially in foreign policy. This is exactly what the agreement does, it reiterates Moldova's connection to EU's foreign policy agenda," Nicu Popescu, EU integration advisor to the Moldovan prime minister, told SETimes.
"Most importantly, through this agreement we also align to EU policies by means of actions, the text representing the legal basis for EU's future security missions," Popescu added.
The negotiations on the Framework Participation Agreement were launched last spring and deployed very quickly.
"The negotiations followed Moldova's expression of interest in intensifying dialogue and training co-operation with the EU in the area of common security and defence policy, as well as its readiness to contribute to missions and operations. Recent active political dialogue and positive co-operation with Moldova have enabled a swift conclusion of the negotiations," Wicher Slagter, head of the political and economic section of the EU delegation to Moldova, told SETimes.
The EU's political and security committee invited Moldova in July 2012 to offer contributions to the Union's new civilian mission in the Horn of Africa, known as EUCAP NESTOR.
EU officials said the Union hopes to see Moldova contribute to this and other EU-backed missions and operations.
"The new instrument enables smooth involvement of Moldova in ongoing and future EU management efforts in a range of crisis scenarios. In particular, it will avoid unnecessary delays in situations where Moldova is invited and agrees to participate in EU operations," Slagter said.
Each decision to join an EU-sponsored security mission will undergo a vote in parliament at the proposal of the president.
Slagter said the agreement also satisfies Moldova's desire to facilitate future co-operation and enhanced effectiveness and flexibility in response to crises by contributing personnel and assets to EU efforts.
Officials in Chisinau said the country's participation in the common policy will help it attain its objective of EU integration and realise its priority featured in the 2011-2014 governmental agenda to turn Moldova into a net contributor to regional and international security.
"We see that Moldova is fulfilling all of its commitments and is fully engaged in the European integration process and we, the Europeans, will continue to support you. Moldova has a European future," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.
The pro-European ruling coalition in Chisinau pointed out Moldova's constitutionally stipulated neutrality does not prevent the country from joining civil and military crisis management operations, including peace keeping missions.
Between 2003 and 2008, Moldova participated in the humanitarian and post-war reconstruction mission in Iraq and provided six military contingents.
"Moldova will decide where to send its specialists and to what level and in which way to get involved on a case to case basis," Popescu said.