1 Jun 2023 14:07

Talks on Moldova's accession to EU to start in 2023 - European Parliament president

CHISINAU. June 1 (Interfax) - Negotiations on Moldova's accession to the European Union will begin in 2023, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said.

"We are impressed with the speed with which Moldova has responded to the recommendations, and it's ongoing with its work that the [European] Commission has put for it. We will be ready when Moldova is ready," Metsola said at a European Political Community summit taking place in Moldova on Thursday.

Negotiations on Moldova's accession to the EU should start at the European Parliament as early as this year, she said when asked by journalists whether Moldova could join the EU by the end of 2030.

"The fact that we are meeting here today, in Moldova, is not only a show of support but our commitment that stems from when Moldova became a candidate country," she said.

"I was here last week, in Moldova, in front of a strong 80,000 group of Moldovan citizens [at the European Moldova rally], chanting and stating with the most adamant firmness that Moldova's place is in Europe. And here I am today on behalf of the European Parliament, and I will pitch for common actions and common solutions," Metsola said.

The European Political Community summit is being held at the Castel Mimi winery estate in the village of Bulboaca, 35 kilometers from Chisinau.

The agenda includes enhanced security, the Ukraine situation, energy and climate change.

The summit will not adopt a final declaration, yet there will be a number of resolutions. Some of them will apply to Moldova. The day before the summit, the leaderships of the European Union and Moldova signed an agreement cancelling roaming for Moldovan mobile network operators in EU member states, which would take effect on January 1, 2024.

Nearly 700 journalists from various countries are covering the summit. These include 177 journalists from Moldova, 60 from France, 40 from Romania, 47 from Germany, 38 from Azerbaijan, 37 from Spain, 32 from the UK, and 31 from Italy. Some journalists have been denied accreditation due to limited space. The press was taken to Bulboaca from Chisinau by a special train.

June 1 and 2 are non-working days in Chisinau because of the summit. The road to Bulboaca is closed, and unprecedented security measures have been taken on the summit venue and at the Chisinau airport. There are practically no cars or people on streets in the center of Chisinau, and police and carabineers are providing security.

A training range of the Moldovan army is located in the village of Bulboaca several kilometers away from the castle. It is now hosting the Air Bastion 2023 exercise. More than 200 Moldovan, French, British, Romanian and U.S. servicemen are taking part in the air defense drills. The press service for the Moldovan Defense Ministry said they would provide air defense for strategic facilities. NATO aircraft are also controlling the Moldovan airspace on Thursday.