Sunday

24th Mar 2019

Russia retaliates against Moldova's EU treaty

  • Moldova ratified the EU treaty just five days after it was signed in Brussels (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Russia has banned imports of processed beef, horse meat, lamb, and pork from Europe’s poorest country - Moldova - the same day it ratified an EU trade treaty.

The Russian veterinary authority, Rosselkhoznadzor, on Wednesday (2 July) cited concerns over African swine fever in its decision, which enters into force on Saturday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The move came as Moldova's parliament adopted an EU free trade and political association agreement by 59 votes against four, while 38 MPs from the pro-Russia Communist Party staged a walkout.

President Nicolae Timofti said “We are determined to advance toward Europe, because Moldovan people deserve to live according to the same standards as Europeans”.

The treaty will enter into force on 1 October, shortly before general elections in November.

If the Communists win, they could, in theory, revoke the EU pact. But they are polling at 30 percent, while support for the pro-European coalition is growing, not least due to the EU’s lifting of visa restrictions this year.

Iulian Groza, Moldova's deputy foreign minister, told EUobserver on Thursday the next step will be to formally apply for EU membership: “The earliest we could do this is one year after the DCFTA [the EU trade pact] enters into force. After one year of implementation we would have the moral right to do that, so we are looking at late 2015, but, of course, it also depends on European support [for the move].”

He said the processed meat ban is "symbolic" because Moldova mainly exports raw meat to Russia. He noted that Belarus, a Russian ally, did not follow suit, just as it did not follow Russia on a previous wine ban.

For his part, Russian deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, on Wednesday in Moscow also met with delegates from Moldova’s breakaway region of Transniestria.

He said they signed agreements aimed at redirecting Transniestrian exports from EU markets to Russia.

He added that Moldova’s pro-EU step goes against “life’s natural logic”.

He said it violates Transniestrians’ “fundamental rights” and Russia “will render all kinds of assistance to the region so that it can survive this difficult period”.

Russian troops

Transniestria, which broke away in the 1990s, hosts about 2,500 Russian soldiers and an ammunition dump, but is encircled by Moldova and Ukraine.

Groza said Chisinau does not know the content of Transniestria's new Russia accords. But he noted that Moldovan and Russian officials hold regular meetings on the EU trade pact and related developments.

Amid Russian-stoked turmoil in east Ukraine, he added “there are no signs” of similar attempts to destabilise the situation in Transniestria.

Separately, the French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss prospects for peace.

They agreed to talk again on Saturday amid plans to revive a Contact Group which includes some rebel leaders.

Germany called the meeting after Ukraine on Tuesday resumed full-scale hostilities against the insurgents and after Russia repeated threats to "protect" Russian speakers in Ukraine.

Polish diplomats told Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that Poland’s FM, Radek Sikorski, was left out of the Berlin talks “most likely” at Russia’s request because of his hawkish views on Russia-Ukraine relations.

Investigation

Several EU states impose arms ban on Russia

Most of the EU’s top arms exporters have imposed a quiet ban on sales to Russia, but Ukraine’s military embargo could have a bigger impact on the crisis.

Analysis

A union between Moldova and Romania: On the cards?

A group of Romanian MPs is promoting the idea of re-unification between Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The issue raises many questions, not least how Russia would react.

Moldova turns from EU to Russia

Moldova's president said he would like to scrap an EU treaty and has started preparations to join a Russia-led bloc.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us