Moldova’s president has questioned the benefits of joining the European Union at a time the bloc is losing Britain, saying that his ex-Soviet country seeks, instead, a return to strategic partnership with Russia
Speaking Friday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Igor Dodon said he sees no benefits in becoming a member of the EU in its current form after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the 28-nation bloc last year.
“Ordinary people are asking themselves very often: why rush to catch a train that is losing its wagons? Brexit. Let’s see what happens next,” he added.
Pointing to his country’s interest in improving ties with Moscow, he added, “After eight years of a pro-European and clearly anti-Russian policy, after last year’s presidential election, we have started to rectify the situation … and have returned to a strategic partnership with Russia.”
Addressing the forum, Dodon further accused the EU of making many pledges that were not kept since the country signed an association agreement with the bloc three years ago.
“European products flooded Moldovan market. We lost two-thirds of Russian exports. International investments dropped repeatedly. Corruption has increased substantially,” he emphasized.
The Moldovan president went on to explain that his nation is currently in no state to follow the laws and standards “imposed” by the West since this will turn “our economy, our traditions and our faith” into dust.
“The time when common laws and standards established by one country should be accepted by all others is past. Earlier, recently, it was commonly assumed that what is good for a specific country, the United States for example, is also great for others,” he said.
Dodon also underlined, “We all have finally realized that we are different from the Western world. We have different traditions and different values, and the artificial imposition of the overseas principles and laws will lead to no good.”
The development came as the Moldovan leader called on Moscow during a Tuesday press conference at his nation’s capital of Chisinau “not to succumb” to the “provocation” of his country’s EU-leaning government following the expulsion of five Russian diplomats with no stated reasons.
On Monday, Moldova’s Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of the diplomats while Russian ambassador to Moldova, Farit Mukhametshin, confirmed the move and warned of severe consequences.
Dodon said the move was aimed at undermining Moldova-Russia ties, noting that he regards “the actions of the ruling coalition and government as a provocation to disrupt [the restoration] of the strategic partnership between our countries.”