FAKE NEWS: In the EU, only the founding members have rights

President of Moldova Maia Sandu (R) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) attend their joint press conference in Chisinau, Moldova, 12 October 2023.
© EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU   |   President of Moldova Maia Sandu (R) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) attend their joint press conference in Chisinau, Moldova, 12 October 2023.

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Integration into the EU means vassalage, according to a false narrative promoted by the Russian press, which also writes that the Republic of Moldova will not be accepted into the EU anyway, because the latter is facing a crisis.

NEWS: A political analyst believes that the president of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, is using the referendum on supporting "European integration" as a springboard for re-election.

[...]

In her view, united Europe is not ready for enlargement, as it is torn by internal contradictions and in a state of deep economic stagnation. The European Union is currently suffering from illegal migration and unemployment. The expert does not understand how Moldova will be accepted in the EU under such conditions.

"In the European Union system, the main role is played by the founding countries alone, and the other states go under vassalage, without the right to vote and without initiative. We shouldn’t forget that the budget of the European Union consists of the sum of the taxes of all countries. In the words of Maia Sandu, the pie is shrinking, but the number of mouths is growing," said Sokolova.

NARRATIVES: 1. The EU is facing a deep economic crisis and is unable to assimilate the Republic of Moldova. 2. New EU member states have their rights suppressed within the EU bloc.

LOCAL CONTEXT/ ETHOS: Following the victory of pro-Europeans in the 2020 presidential and 2021 parliamentary elections, the Republic of Moldova has taken important steps towards EU integration, and the process was accelerated after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The two countries and Georgia submitted their applications for accession in March 2022, in June of the same year the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine obtained the status of candidate countries, and 18 months later the European Council decided to open accession negotiations.

On December 24, President Maia Sandu requested Parliament to initiate a referendum  on EU accession. The pro-presidential PAS majority has amended the Electoral Code so that referendums are allowed to be held on the same day as the elections; most likely the referendum will take place together with the presidential elections in the fall of this year.

However, the European path of the Republic of Moldova is being undermined from within by pro-Russian political forces supported by the Kremlin. On the other hand, some reforms, especially in the judiciary, are moving with difficulty, also because of the system that opposes change. The current government is also criticized for lowering the living standard, caused by inflation and post-pandemic crises and the one associated with the war in Ukraine.

PURPOSE: Increase Euroscepticism among the population by presenting the European Union as a weak and crisis-ridden structure, where the new members are marginalized.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Claims of "deep economic stagnation" are obviously exaggerated. The EU is indeed facing economic issues, caused by the post-pandemic crisis and amplified by the consequences of the war in Ukraine, such as the significant increase in the prices of energy resources. However, the EU economy has grown all these years, and according to the October 2023  forecasts of the International Monetary Fund,  last year, the GDP of the Eurozone (which represents 20 of the 27 member states, including the largest economic powers in the EU) would increase by 0.7%, and in 2024 - by 1.2 percent.

The European Union remains the most important market in the world and one of the largest producers worldwide.

The Kremlin propaganda associates the EU with poverty and migration to feed the fears of a part of the population in the region, but also to reduce the number of supporters of European integration. In fact, European integration implies trade liberalization and access to the richest common market in the world. The ex-communist states that were welcomed into the European Union had clear gains following EU integration and quickly saw not only an increase in the population’s living standards and incomes but also a clear distancing, in terms of prosperity, from the former socialist country who did not take this step.  

As for the current "crisis" facing the EU, which would prevent accession, at this stage the integration of the Republic of Moldova is not even discussed, an approximate date, accepted by the EU leaders, being the year 2030, together with the candidate countries from the Western Balkans, and in 6 years the economic situation of the EU can change a lot. Anyway, the economy and population of the Republic of Moldova do not account for even half a percent of those of the EU, so that enlargement in this sense will not be able to affect the community block.

The statement that in the EU the new member states do not enjoy the same rights as those of the founders is also false. The EU saw its greatest enlargement in the early 2000s when 12 states joined, the vast majority from the former socialist bloc. All member states enjoy the same rights, including the right to veto on certain issues, which Hungary, for example, has repeatedly used recently.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The EU’s economic growth has been slow in the past years.

  • Publication / Media:
    pravda.md
  • Date of publication:
    15/01/2024
  • Target audience:
    EUROSCEPTICS
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The EU is facing a deep economic crisis and is not in a position to assimilate the Republic of Moldova, which aims towards integration

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