How quickly can Moldova become an EU member?

The EU promised not just Ukraine but also the Republic of Moldova accession negotiations at its most recent summit. Commentators agree that the decision was mainly driven by the fact that the small southern European country is a target of Russia's attempts at destabilisation, but are at odds over how realistic it is that Moldova will join the bloc anytime soon.

Open/close all quotes (MD) /

European dream within reach is delighted with Moldova's record tempo:

“It cannot be said often enough that the Republic of Moldova has been able to embark on the European path so quickly because it saw the war in Ukraine as precisely the opportunity for this. And since Russia is also targeting Chișinău with its hybrid war, it is vital for the Republic of Moldova to become an EU member state as quickly as possible. ... The fact that negotiations with the EU have begun just 18 months after the country was granted candidate statusis an absolute record. President Maia Sandu's dream of her country joining the EU by 2030 is almost within reach.”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Still many problems to be solved

Moldova's path into the EU will be a long one, Deutsche Welle's Romanian Service stresses:

“The Republic of Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, it has an unresolved separatist conflict, an occupying Russian army in the breakaway region of Transnistria and many corrupt officials in state institutions. All these problems must be solved by 2030 - the year Maia Sandu has promised will see the country's EU accession. The judicial reform is already in full swing and should be completed by 2024. ... The aim is to drive the corrupt out of the system and bring to book those who have plundered the country for decades.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Nothing more than a gesture

According to the Salzburger Nachrichten, the Republic of Moldova will only be able to join the EU once the Russian troops have been withdrawn from its territory:

“Everyone involved must realise that this is a symbolic act, a sign of solidarity. Nothing more. Binding negotiations with a realistic time horizon for a successful conclusion can only be considered when peace prevails. Consequently the idea of Moldova joining any time soon is just an illusion as long as Russia continues to occupy part of the country and does everything in its power to destabilise it.”