The European family gathers in Moldova for the second summit of the European Political Community. About fifty Heads of State and Government were present in this small country, one of the poorest on the continent. The choice of Moldova to host this summit is a daring and very symbolic choice, especially since President Zelensky made the trip.

Published on : Modified :

The choice of Chisinau to host this summit is daring, because its organization is a challenge for Moldova, one of the poorest countries on the continent, with an underdeveloped infrastructure. But it is very symbolic: it takes place at Mimi Castle, a cultural center backed by a vineyard, on the road to Odessa. The Ukrainian port, rregularly bombarded by Russian forces, is 160 km away. Moldova shares a long border, nearly 1,000 km with Ukraine. On several occasions, fragments of Russian missiles have ended their course on Moldovan territory, reports our special correspondent in Chisinau, Anastasia Becchio.

>> To read also: Interview – A European summit organized in Chisinau to “give a mark of support” to Moldova

The country also lives in constant fear of a russian destabilization. The meeting is also less than 20 km from the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria where Moscow has some 1,500 soldiers and a large stockpile of ammunition.

Parade in Chisinau on Victory Day, which marks the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, on May 9, 2023 (illustration).
Parade in Chisinau on Victory Day, which marks the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, on May 9, 2023 (illustration). REUTERS – VLADISLAV CULIOMZA

The former socialist republic has long been torn between Russia and the West and, even today, the Kremlin has important relays there. This is why the holding of this summit is so important for its president Maia Sandu, resolutely turned towards Europe, which won EU candidate status for its country in 2022. The former Soviet republic of 2.6 million inhabitants sees its entry into the EU as the only insurance not to be a next target for Russia, after the invasion of its large Ukrainian neighbour. For the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, present in Chisinau, Moldova has proven, once again, that it is ready for European integration.

Each country has its own way. There are different steps towards membership. But do not underestimate the transformative effect of being a candidate country, thanks to access to programmes, an agreement on telephone roaming, which we have been asking for for years, the possibility for young people to to go abroad, to study, to work and to travel. All this makes the difference.

Roberta Metsola (European Parliament): ‘We are impressed with how far Moldova has come so far’

Zelensky, under high security

kyiv also wishes to join the European Union. Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit during this summit. The visit of the Ukrainian president had been kept secret until the last moment for security reasons. He walked the red carpet first at Mimi Castle, where he was greeted by President Maia Sandu. The features drawn, the Ukrainian head of state promised to work on the establishment of a coalition for the delivery of fighter planes and Patriot missiles. He also intends, during these bilateral meetings, to make progress on the subjects that are close to his heart: “ Our future is in the European Union, it is very important. Ukraine is ready to join NATO and we expect NATO to be ready to welcome us. Security guarantees are very important, not only for Ukraine, because of Russian aggression against us and potentially other parts of Europe. »

We are waiting for NATO to be ready to welcome us. Security guarantees are very important, not only for Ukraine, because of the Russian aggression against us, but potentially for other parts of Europe.

Volodymyr Zelensky: “Ukraine is ready to join NATO”

The Ukrainian President also thanked the Moldovan people “ for having welcomed many refugees since the first day of the war “. “ We will reconfirm our support for Ukraine, which is resisting Russian aggression “, underlined for her part the Moldovan President Maia Sandu. Before the family photo where he found himself in the middle, in the front row, Volodymyr Zelensky also spoke in front of his European counterparts: “ There is no place for frozen conflicts or high intensity conflicts on our continent “, he hammered. Before asking: How long will Europe tolerate all this? »

>> To listen also: Major Reportage – Under pressure from Moscow, Moldova stands in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees

Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be absent from the family photo

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who rarely shuns an opportunity to appear alongside Western leaders, is not in Moldova for this second CPE summit, reports our correspondent in Ankara, Anne Andlauer.

Freshly re-elected, the Turkish president had not confirmed his presence… and did not justify his absence. He went without enthusiasm to the first summit, in October 2022 in Prague. From the start, Turkey has made no secret of its skepticism towards this initiative, perceived as a vague substitute for membership of the European Union – a membership that Ankara still claims on paper.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other hand, no doubt views with suspicion what he perceives as an anti-Putin club, since the CPE was born out of the war in Ukraine. The choice of Moldova to host the second summit may have reinforced this image in the mind of the Turkish leader.

Last possible reason: after an electoral victory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan still reserves his first trip abroad to Azerbaijan or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, two important countries for Turkish nationalism. ” The tradition is not disturbed “, seems to welcome the daily Hurriyet announcing his absence from Moldova.

Other conflicts on the table

French President Emmanuel Macron, at the initiative of this meeting format, has planned to speak with Kosovo President Osmani and Serbian President Vucic about the incidents in northern Kosovo.

>> To read also:In Kosovo, the Prime Minister under fire from critics but supported by the Albanian population

THE Armenian-Azerbaijani file will be the subject of a meeting between Nikol Pashinian and Ilham Aliev… The European Union will be represented there by Charles Michel, France and, for the first time, Germany. On arrival, Charles Michel, affirmed that progress had been made in the peace negotiations. During the previous summit in Prague, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders had previously met with the Turkish president.