Moldova’s signature on an association agreement June 27 with the European Union keeps it on a path that has, over the last five years, brought the small, former Soviet republic increasingly into the EU's orbit, despite strong objections from Moscow.
For this landlocked country of just 3.6 million, sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania on the eastern edges of Europe, there is hope that the agreement will lead to greater prosperity, and perhaps, eventually, to full EU membership.
Yet over the short term, the country has to push forward with implementing tough reforms demanded by the EU, aimed at bringing the country more in line with EU standards. It also must brace for fallout in its relationship with Russia over signing the agreement. On a visit to Chișinãu, the Moldovan capital, last September, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned that Moldova was making a “grave mistake” in pursuing closer ties with the EU, and hinted that Russia might cut Moldova’s gas supply, on which the country is 100-percent reliant.
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Kit Gillet is a freelance reporter based in Bucharest, Romania.