Maia Sandu’s friend, Chancellor Angela Merkel, doesn’t want the Republic of Moldova to accede to the European Union, PSRM-linked media claims, saying that the meeting between the German Chancellor and leaders of states in the Western Balkans is evidence that Moldova doesn’t have any chance of joining the European Union. However, Angela Merkel doesn’t make any reference to Moldova, and the news isn’t in any way tied to the Republic of Moldova. The narrative is aimed at weakening voters’ confidence in pro-European forces, especially in PAS and Maia Sandu, ahead of the parliamentary election of July 11.
NEWS: “Frau Sandu’s friend doesn’t want our country in the EU”, ABCNEWS.md writes, sharing a piece of news published by TIMPUL about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement during a meeting with leaders of states in the Western Balkans. “Angela Merkel: six countries in the Western Balkans should join the EU. The Republic of Moldova stays OUT. Yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that, in her opinion, six states in the Western Balkans should become members of the European Union for strategic reasons, Reuters reports. Maia Sandu’s close friend referred to Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo. In EU official documents, the Republic of Moldova is featured in the “neighborhood” section, alongside countries like Algeria, Belarus, Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Libya, Syria or Tunisia”.
NARRATIVES: 1. The EU doesn’t want the Republic of Moldova to accede to the community bloc. 2. Maia Sandu’s close friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, doesn’t want the Republic of Moldova to be a part of the EU.
BACKGROUND: Maia Sandu is a pro-European politician with a very good standing in the West, who’s succeeded in quickly restoring trust and relations with the EU. Brussels has expressed its support for her agenda of reforms and fight against corruption. In her few months in office, the head of the state paid visits to Paris, Brussels, Bucharest, Kiev, Berlin, Rome, Warsaw, whereas the presidents of Romania and Lithuania, in addition to the European Council president, have visited Chişinău. All European leaders have expressed their support for the Republic of Moldova’s European track. Maia Sandu enjoys good relations also with Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. She paid formal visits to Berlin, both as head of state, in May, 2021, as well as Prime Minister, in July, 2019.
On Sunday, July 11, 2021, the Republic of Moldova will host early parliamentary elections. The top favorites, according to opinion polls, are the Action and Solidarity Party, founded by Maia Sandu, and the Bloc of Communists and Socialists, co-led by Igor Dodon and Vladimir Voronin.
This election campaign saw numerous attacks against pro-European parties, the West, EU and US ambassadors, civil society and president Maia Sandu. More often than not, the attacks came from the Socialists’ camp, being disseminated through a plethora of media sources controlled by PSRM, a pro-Russian party led by former president of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon.
PURPOSE: The narratives are aimed at undermining voters’ confidence in Maia Sandu and pro-European parties, especially PAS, as well as the prospect of Moldova joining the European Union.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: In the news article Timpul takes over from Reuters, Germany’s Chancellor refers to six states in the Western Balkans: Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo. Angela Merkel never made any statement regarding the Republic of Moldova during the online conference held jointly with leaders of countries in the Western Balkans. The Republic of Moldova isn’t part of the Western Balkans, and the news bears no connection with the headlines promoted by both publications. States in the Western Balkans (former Yugoslav republics and Albania) represent a separate EU policy. Brussels has been working on a program to support the gradual integration of these countries. The first of the seven countries in the group of Western Balkans countries to join the EU was Croatia (in 2013). EU accession negotiations have been officially launched with Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, whereas negotiations with North Macedonia are currently being blocked by Bulgaria. Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo have been granted candidate status.
The Republic of Moldova is part of another European policy, the Eastern Partnership – together with other states in ex-Soviet space: Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. The Eastern Partnership was created in 2009 to support democratic transition, good governance, energy security and the economic growth of these countries. In 2014, the EU and the Republic of Moldova signed the Association Agreement, which strengthens economic and political relations with the EU. Under the agreement, Chişinău pledged to implement internal reforms in compliance with EU legislation.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said six states in the Western Balkans should become EU Member States, for strategic reasons. Nevertheless, her statement bears no connection with the Republic of Moldova.