European support to Moldova’s Euro-Atlantic integration

Participants:EU, France, Germany, Moldova
Topic:Economic Coop. & Connectivity, Energy & Climate Action, EU Enlargement, Security & Peace
Summit:2nd summit - Moldova, 3rd summit - Spain
Date:1 June 2023
Type:Verbal declarations
Pre-existing arrangement:EU-Moldova Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, ongoing NATO-Moldova cooperation

2nd summit – Moldova

President Zelenskyy during his speech at the 2nd EPC summit, mentioned that Moldova and Ukraine require interim security guarantees. France and Germany agreed to meet later that week to discuss the possibilities. It is expected that both countries will receive more clarity regarding their security prospects at the next NATO Summit in Vilnius. 

During the second summit, European Council President Charles Michel also made the expected announcement that he will put EU enlargement to Ukraine and Moldova on the agenda of EU leaders before the end of 2023 after the Commission presents its progress reports.

To further facilitate Moldova’s EU accession, the EU put a series of initiatives on the table. The EU agreed to leverage up to €1.6 billion in additional economic support to Moldova through an Economic and Investment Plan. Later in June 2023, the European Commission proposed to revise the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2024-2027 by increasing support for neighbouring countries affected by war in Ukraine, including Moldova.

As part of the announced €1.6 billion financial assistance package, the EU will support Moldova in developing reforms and building administrative capacity necessary to move Moldova forward on its path to the EU. The EU committed to do so in part by increasing the amount of staff in the EU Delegation to Moldova who support the implementation of EU programming.

On the eve of the 2nd EPC summit, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated the EU’s intent to increase its support to Moldova’s armed forces via the European Peace Facility. This occurred in the context of the recent launching of an EU CSDP Partnership Mission in Moldova to build Moldova’s capacity in cybersecurity, combatting hybrid threats, and countering disinformation as well as using a new EU sanctions regime to target individuals attempting to destabilise Moldova.

The EU will also provide more than €100 million to help Moldova cover its immediate energy needs. This includes helping vulnerable people and households, making residential buildings more energy efficient and preparing for winter 2024. In the medium- to long-term, the EU will fund projects to facilitate Moldova’s integration into the EU energy market, such as on renewable energy, as well as establish two new high voltage power lines between Moldova and Romania and provide €50 million for the rehabilitation of railway lines as part of the European solidarity lanes.

The EU and Moldova also made a joint declaration on lowering roaming tariffs between the EU and Moldova. This renewable voluntary commitment from mobile operators in the EU and Moldova will come into force on 1 January 2024 and will be operational until 31 December 2025. The main objective of the initiative is to lay the foundations for a long-term roaming agreement between the EU and Moldova. The agreement has already been signed by the Orange group, DT group, and Telefonica group on the EU side, and by Orange Moldova, Moldtelecom, and Moldcell on Moldova’s side. In September 2023, the European Commission adopted a proposal to incorporate roaming into the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. This fulfils oneof the key actions of the EU-Moldova Priority Action Plan agreed in June 2023. This plan is a roadmap for the full implementation of the EU-Moldova Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and Moldova’s further integration into the EU Single Market.

3rd summit – Spain

Romania in particular reiterated their support for Moldova’s accession to the EU at the third EPC summit, with a decision expected by the end of 2023 on whether or not to open accession negotiations.