CHISINAU, March 26. /TASS/. Moldova will not apply for the European Union's membership at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May, Moldovan Foreign and European Integration Minister Natalia Gherman said on Thursday.
Moldova’s plans to apply for the EU membership at the summit were earlier mentioned by Moldovan Prime Minister Yuri Lanke.
"The submission of an application for accession to the EU to get a candidate status is not a goal in itself," the Moldovan foreign minister said.
"We need to implement reforms and provisions of the Association Agreement with the EU. The Eastern Partnership summit in Riga is simply a good possibility to tell EU colleagues how reforms are going and what results have been achieved in implementing the Agreement," she said
However, this does not mean that the Moldovan government is giving up its strategic goal to start negotiations on the ex-Soviet republic’s accession to the EU, the Moldovan foreign minister said.
Moldova signed an Association Agreement with the EU in June 2014, under which it undertook to carry out reforms in the economy, trade, justice and other spheres.
The leaders of the Moldovan ruling pro-European coalition assured their electors in November they would file an application at the Riga summit for the republic’s entry into the EU, saying this move would allow Moldova to get a candidate status by 2018.
However, polls have showed that the greater part of the Moldovan population favors the republic’s accession to the post-Soviet Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The breakaway Transdniestria region and the Gagauzia autonomy where over 90% of residents voted for closer ties with Russia at their referendums also stand against Moldova’s integration into the EU.