Gheorghe Bălan: Russia’s threats made EU to consider a solution for Moldova

The initiative to sign a defense and security cooperation agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova came from the European partners in the context of the security crisis in the region, former Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Gheorghe Bălan, security expert, stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency. According to him, the European Union wants to help Moldova deal with the security challenges and connect its national legislation to the Community acquis.

According to a recent article by the Financial Times, Moldova and the European Union intend to sign a security agreement, increasing cooperation in the sphere of defense. The initiative belongs to the European partners and aims to help Moldova cope with hybrid attacks coming from the Russian Federation.

“Surely, the idea of initiating such a document appeared after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The Republic of Moldova, being a neighboring state of the European Union, was previously regarded as a gray area. Now the European Union has changed its approach. Officially, we are an EU candidate country. Respectively, it comes not only to the desire to maintain stability at the border of the European Union, but also to the wish of harmonization in the context of the future accession. The statements and threats that came openly from the Russian Federation stimulated the European Union to consider a solution for the Republic of Moldova as a candidate country and, respectively, this initiative came from them. There was the possibility for the Moldovan authorities to come up with such a proposal, but it was also necessary to obtain the acceptance of all the member states, which implies a more difficult and longer procedure. The current regional crisis stimulated the EU to come up with the initiative,” said Gheorghe Bălan.

The former Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration said that, for the first time, Moldova stipulated in the national security strategy that Russia represents the main threat to state security. According to the document, Russia represents a danger to Moldova through three factors: the war in Ukraine, the illegal presence of the Russian troops on the left bank of the Nistru, and Russia’s hybrid attacks.

“For the first time, the Moldovan authorities openly showed where the basic risks and threats to the sovereignty, integrity and independence of the Republic of Moldova come from: from the Russian Federation. Also, the national security strategy stipulates that the authorities will make efforts to sign bilateral cooperation agreements in security and defense, which, again, comes to support such a document,” said the security expert.

Gheorghe Bălan also said that the defense and security cooperation agreement between Moldova and the European Union will help the Moldovan authorities prevent possible destabilization attempts and strengthen state institutions’ capacities to cope with hybrid attacks.

“The exchange of information is the most important aspect of this document. We faced risks of mass destabilization in 2022-2023, risks of coup attempts involving the Wagner troops, special troops of the Russian Federation. Only thanks to timely information from the foreign partners, we managed to counteract and prevent such incidents and risks for the Republic of Moldova. As a state, we work with all the states of the European Union, which exchange information, and through this exchange of information and interoperability, we transform ourselves and together with them we manage to resist. I hope that this document will enable us to modernize the army, the intelligence services and the law enforcement agencies. For many years, the defense and security sectors had been deprived of the authorities’ attention in terms of investments. This happened due to simple naivety that neutrality will protect us from attacks from the Russian Federation so that we woke up in 2022 with a war on the border, imminent security risks and a defense sector ignored for many years,” said the former Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration.

The public debate entitled “Why is a defense agreement with the EU necessary?” was the 305th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates”. The project is implemented by IPN News Agency with the support of the German “Hanns Seidel” Foundation.

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