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President says Moldova seeks to boost cooperation with Eurasian Economic Union

Moldova’s President Igor Dodon has signed a memorandum on Moldova’s cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union
Moldova’s president Igor Dodon  EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY
Moldova’s president Igor Dodon

CHISINAU, April 3. /TASS/. Moldova seeks to boost cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the country’s president Igor Dodon said on Monday at the signing ceremony of a memorandum on Moldova’s cooperation with the EAEU.

While addressing Tigran Sarkisyan, Chairman of the EAEU Board, Dodon said that "we seek to boost cooperation with the union member states." "We share a long history of common economic, political, cultural and human relations," he added.

The Moldovan president also said that his country, that "has found itself outside of the Eurasian Economic Union, cannot and will not avoid cooperating with the EAEU." "I believe that the signing of the memorandum as well as the implementation of the document will help Moldova build balance in economic relations with its eastern and western partners," Dodon said.

Dodon and Chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan signed on Monday a memorandum on Moldova’s cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.

The ceremony in Chisinau was held in the framework of the international forum "Eurasian Economic Union-Republic of Moldova," which was attended by representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s board and member-states of the EAEU.

The memorandum envisages the creation of a joint working group on cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Moldova. Its goal is to "contribute to the development of comprehensive cooperation between the member-states of the EAEU, the Eurasian Economic Commission and the republic to increase bilateral trade and investments, implement measures aimed at eliminating barriers hampering the development of trade, to attract investments and also for closer cooperation in the areas of mutual interest."

"Moldova is interested in cooperation with the EAEU, which is beneficial for the country - as many opinion polls showed more than 50% of the country’s citizens back this," Dodon told TASS.

The document says "the memorandum is not an international agreement and does not create rights and commitments for the sides regulated by the international law." Therefore, the Moldovan leader said the memorandum does not need to be ratified and will not be sent for consideration of the parliament.

Ruling coalition is against memorandum

Moldova’s ruling coalition of pro-European parties has called against signing the memorandum with the EAEU. Prime Minister Pavel Filip said "Moldova’s participation in the EAEU project is incompatible with the free trade zone set up between the republic and the EU." In comments to the memorandum’s signing, he noted that "without the government’s participation Moldova cannot become an active participant of this group."

Dodon insisted that "the head of state has legitimacy and the mandate of most citizens of the country," stressing that "he would not allow anyone to step between him and the people."

Since 2009, Moldova has been ruled by the coalition of pro-European parties, whose leaders promised to achieve the country’s accession to the EU. Its rule led to the economic crisis, a series of corruption and political scandals, embezzlement of 1 bln euros from the banking system (compared with 20% of the GDP).

The latest opinion polls showed that more than 80% of citizens distrust the current authorities and the number those who support the line towards closer ties with the EU declared by the government dropped from 70% in 2010 to 38%. The number of Moldovans, who call for integration with the EAEU, grew to 44%.

This mood influenced the November 2016 presidential elections won by Dodon, who supports Eurasian integration. He believes that the 2014 agreement on free trade with the EU signed by the government "led to a decrease in exports and drove thousands of local producers to bankruptcy."

During his February visit to Brussels, Dodon criticized the deal at the meetings with the EU leadership, saying that it may be denounced if people express their desire at a referendum or at the parliamentary election.