Pro-EU parties launch talks in Moldova, socialist leader warns country could break up

Pro-EU leaders believe a deal will be struck · Socialist Igor Dodon says Gagauzia, Transnistria and the northern region would not accept joining the EU, announces a proposal to hold a referendum on Moldova's accession to Russian-led Customs Union

The three parties who strongly favor the integration of Moldova into the EU have begun talks to form a government and start the implementation of an Association Agreement which Chisinau signed with the EU last June. Considered together, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party won on last Sunday's election 45.6% of the votes and 55 seats out of 101 in the Moldovan Parliament. This result allows them to form a coalition government with the backing of the Parliament's absolute majority.

Pro-EU party leaders admit negotiations will not be easy, but say they hope to reach a deal. Moldova has had a pro-EU government since 2009.

The election's biggest surprise was the emergence of the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), which became the largest single party -more than each of the three pro-EU parties taken separately. The socialists gathered 20.5% of the vote and 23 seats, and are thus set to become the strongest opposition party if the pro-EU bloc strikes a deal.

The Moldovan Parliament will be completed by the communists (PCRM), who obtained 17.5% of the votes and 21 MPs.

Socialists vow to take resolute political stance

Being reinforced by a result few expected, PSRM leader Igor Dodon promised to pursue resolute stances during the upcoming term of Parliament. The socialist leader -who appeared in campaign billboards together with Russian President Vladimir Putin- announced that his party's first motion in the new Parliament will ask for a referendum on Moldova's accession to the Customs Union.

The Customs Union is a trade bloc consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which on 1st January 2015 will officially become the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia wants the bloc to become a political union in the future, therefore similar -and alternative- to the EU. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are likely to join the Customs Union.

Dodon argues joining the Customs Union would be more beneficial for Moldovan products than joining the EU. But this is not the only reason that the socialist leader wields: in a Rossiskaya Gazeta interview this week, Dodon predicts Moldova's entry to the EU could break up the country.

According to Dodon, three territories in Moldova are unlikely to accept the EU path: the northern region, autonomous Gagauzia and the self-styled Moldovan Republic of Transnistria -which is internationally recognized as being part of Moldova but which since 1990 has enjoyed de facto independence under Russian protection.

(Image: Flag of Moldova / photo by Dave Proffer.)