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Moldovans and Ukrainians remain hopeful over potential EU membership

Moldova's Prime Minister Dorin Recean waits for the start of the EU-Moldova Association Council at the European Council building in Brussels in May
Moldova's Prime Minister Dorin Recean waits for the start of the EU-Moldova Association Council at the European Council building in Brussels in May Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/The AP
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/The AP
By Euronews with EBU
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After Brussels recently opened negotiations with the two Eastern European countries keen to join the EU, Moldovans and Ukrainians alike hope for a quick transition that would allow them to join the greater European family.


Two countries in Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Moldova, aim to join the European Union by the end of the decade.

The EU negotiations with both, one of which is at war, have just started.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, Kyiv applied for EU membership. Neighbouring Moldova — which has its own reasons to fear an escalation from Moscow due to the issues regarding the Kremlin-controlled separatist region of Transnistria — followed with its application shortly afterwards.

Both countries were granted candidate member status in a political decision intended to support the pair in peril, and now, they're at the negotiating table.

However, gaining full membership will not be easy, as Ukraine and Moldova, both former Soviet republics, still need to implement many reforms in areas such as the economy and the judiciary.

Moldovan MP Eugeniu Sinchevici said joining the bloc is crucial: “Only now have we started to have a really democratic and free society, and we want to maintain that — and the European Union will make sure of that.”

However, opposing voices in Moldovan politics remain, some of which are keen to stay close to Moscow instead.

Nikita Romensky, a spokesperson for the youth department of the Socialist Party of Moldova — the party of former President Igor Dodon, who is currently facing trial for corruption — is against what he calls the "westernisation" of Moldova.

“We must also pay extra attention to good ties with the East, with Russia, with Belarus, with our traditional partners,” the Eurosceptic and Russophilic party rep said.

For ordinary people, potential accession to the EU is seen as mostly positive.

Olha Shyvchik comes from Ukraine, but her daughter Julia was born in Moldova just two months after the start of the war.

While life is not easy for the pair, the start of the EU negotiations still makes Olha hopeful.

“I want my daughter to be part of the European Union, to live in the European Union, in a civilised and developed country,” she says, “That she gets a chance to study, to have a chance at freedom of expression. I really want this.”

She’s aware of the changes her country has to face before it joins the bloc.

“Joining the European Union means that Ukraine is no longer corrupt at all. Therefore, this will not happen anytime soon. This must be done step by step, slowly, gradually,” Olha muses.

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