The fight against corruption, reforms in the electoral system, and the development of economic cooperation were at the centre of the 4th EU-Moldova Association in Brussels on May 3.
While praising the recent steps taken by the Moldovan’s government drive to tackle endemic corruption in the country, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini admitted that the current situation is an unacceptable.
“Enjoying the benefits of the Associated Agreement (AA) requires the fulfilment of the commitments. It is essential for Moldova to focus on the full implementation of reforms in key areas such as justice, media, energy, and the business sector with an understanding that all reforms should be sustained and based on the fight against corruption and strong support of the rule of law,” Mogherini said.
The EU’s top diplomat demanded from Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip, who also participated in the council meeting, a thorough investigation into a scandalous banking fraud case concerning the disappearance of $1 billion from Moldova’s banking system between 2012-2014. The present situation, according to Mogherini, is ‘difficult for the EU to understand’.
“We demand a thorough, impartial and comprehensive investigation with a view to recovering the misappropriated funds and to bringing all those responsible to justice, irrespective of their political affiliation. The EU has been demanding it (an investigation) for many years and we expect it to happen as the current situation is difficult for us to understand,” Mogherini said.
The association agreement between Brussels and Chisinau was signed in June 2014 and provides a long-term foundation for future EU-Moldova relations, with a view towards the country’s eventual membership in the bloc.
In 2015, Moldova was hit with money-laundering and banking-fraud scandals that involved high-level members of the government, which triggered mass street protests and plunged the national currency, the leu, to record lows and caused inflation to climb to double digits. In response, the European Union froze aid to the Moldovan government.