NARRATIVE: The EU interferes in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova
BACKGROUND/LOCAL ETHOS: Lately, and especially in the election campaign for the presidential elections in Chișinău, Russia has launched several attacks on the European Union and the United States, accusing them, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Security Service (FSB), of meddling in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, however, President Vladimir Putin wished the former President Igor Dodon success and promised help for the Republic of Moldova during the very election campaign.
After the defeat of the candidate supported by Moscow, the Russian MFA came up with several comments reading into the statements of the new president, Maia Sandu, regarding the need to withdraw the Russian military contingent. He also indirectly accused Maia Sandu of contributing to the decision of the Constitutional Court by which the Law granting a special status to the Russian language was annulled.
The head of the EU Delegation to Chișinău, Peter Michalko, talked about the inefficiency of the Audiovisual Council in an interview to the Centre for Independent Journalism. In another interview, to Cotidianul, the EU ambassador to Chisinau voiced concern that those involved in the bank fraud were also involved in negotiations or the decision-making process regarding the formation of the Government ”. He was referring to the deputies of the Shor Party, led by the hideaway politician Ilan Shor, convicted in the first instance for involvement in the theft of one billion dollars from the banking system.
These statements triggered reactions from both the Party of Socialists, who published a comment on the party's official website, misspelling the diplomat's name, and the Shor Party.The ambassadors of 22 EU Member States responded with a joint statement saying that “the Ambassadors of the EU and its Member States observe internal developments with a focus on the compatibility of domestic laws and practices with the Republic of Moldova’s international commitments, including those vis-à-vis the European Union, in line with their mandates and in full respect of the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova.”
And then the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted.
It should be noted that Peter Michalko was also criticized by the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó during his visit to Chișinău in early December 2020. He suggested that Michalko had been involved in the campaign for the presidential election. On the same day, Igor Dodon awarded the Hungarian official Moldova’s "Order of Honor".
PURPOSE: To present the EU as an international player interfering in the internal affairs of a state (Republic of Moldova). To try and justify a more active intervention by Russia in the region.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The Republic of Moldova has an Association Agreement with the European Union, and one of the roles of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova is to observe its implementation. It is not a premiere, or something out of the ordinary when European officials refer to the corruption in the Republic of Moldova, voice concern about the inefficiency of some institutions and worry that the bank fraud investigation is dragging on.Moreover, civil society and the media in the Republic of Moldova have repeatedly denounced the low efficiency of the Audiovisual Council, especially during elections, as noted by international observers.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The head of the EU Delegation, Peter Michalko, has voiced his opinion, in various interviews, about the activity of the Audiovisual Council and the political negotiations on the formation of a new Government in Chișinău.