RIGA - Latvia does not see obstacles for the European Union (EU) to open accession talks with Moldova already this year, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity), who together with the Baltic and Nordic (NB8) foreign ministers visited Moldova on Thursday, told LETA.
Rinkevics indicated that the aim of the NB8 foreign ministers' visit was to affirm support for Moldova as an EU candidate state on its path to EU membership. The Latvian minister noted that Moldova has carried out and is still implementing important reforms in strengthening the rule of law, public administration and in combating corruption.
"Moldova is in close proximity to the war started by Russia. The country has managed to hold out and has been fighting against Russian propaganda and attempts to destabilize domestic politics," Rinkevics said, adding that the talks in Chisinau focused on how to step up assistance to Moldova to strengthen its sovereignty and resilience.
The officials also discussed practical assistance in creating a strategic communication center in Moldova and sending experts who will help implement various reforms. The foreign ministers discussed a number of issues related to the current situation in the region, but from Moldova's perspective.
Rinkevics noted that this is a second visit of NB8 foreign ministers to this region, which this time was organized by Latvia as the coordinating nation of the NB8 format. The first visit, which took place in November 2022, was to Kyiv, Ukraine.
Asked about Moldova's prospects of becoming an EU member, the Latvian minister said that this is an unanswerable question at the moment as it depends on the fulfillment of membership criteria. According to Rinkevics, it is necessary to wait for the European Commission's report on the progress achieved by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
"The opening of accession talks is only the beginning of the work, not the completion. If the talks are started this year, it will enable the EU to support Moldova even more both practically and financially," the Latvian minister said.
LETA was told at the Latvian Foreign Ministry that the NB8 ministers met with the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the President of the Moldovan Parliament, Igor Grosu, the Prime Minister Dorin Recean, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicu Popescu.
The officials expressed conviction that the EU civilian mission in Moldova, as well as the EU’s assistance to the Moldovan army through the European Peace Facility would significantly help Moldova strengthen the country’s resilience.