In Moldova, tens of thousands of people demonstrate for accession to the European Union

“The dream must come true

In Moldova, tens of thousands of people demonstrate for accession to the European Union

“The dream must come true. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered on Sunday, May 21, in Moldova, a small country neighboring Ukraine, to proclaim their European aspirations contested by Russia. "We have come to say loud and clear, with confidence and pride, that Moldova's place is in the European Union," said President Maia Sandu, at the initiative of the event which took place in front of the seat of government, in the heart of Chisinau, the capital.

"Europe is much more than a political slogan, it is a way of life, a dream that must become reality, (…) the only way for our children to live in peace", insisted the leader of 50 years, reaffirming her intention to join the Twenty-Seven by 2030. Present at her side, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, gave her "support" to Moldova, which she considered "ready for integration European".

The former Soviet republic of 2.6 million inhabitants sees its entry into the EU as the only guarantee of not being Russia's next target, after the invasion of its big neighbor Ukraine. Like him, in June 2022 it obtained the status of official candidate for membership.

"Coming out of the doldrums"

In the crowd, estimated at more than 75,000 people by the police, young and old mingled, waving Moldovan and European flags in a festive atmosphere. Aurica Baltag, a 35-year-old student, came with her two children to show the "unity" of this fragile nation. "We are going through difficult times with the war in neighboring Ukraine," she told Agence France-Presse (AFP). We hope not to be left in the shadows and that the EU will help us through this period. »

Worried like "everyone else about Russian threats", Liuba Bonta, a 63-year-old retiree, wants to "get out of the doldrums" in which this poor country is plunged, victim of an exodus of its population since independence, obtained in 1991. Moldova, where pro-Russian demonstrations take place regularly – some were still organized in the provinces this Sunday – must also deal with the presence of Russian soldiers in the separatist region of Transnistria.

In February, Ms. Sandu accused Moscow of plotting a coup and denounced Moscow's "hybrid warfare". In an interview with AFP this week, the president said she wanted to join the EU "as soon as possible", hoping for a decision "in the coming months" on the opening of negotiations. "Russia will continue to be a great source of instability in the years to come and we must protect ourselves," she said.