Moldova is first country to sign a security and defence partnership with EU

Moldova is first country to sign a security and defence partnership with EU
Prime Minister of Moldova Dorin Recean with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Brussels. / EU Council
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 22, 2024

Moldova has signed a security and defence partnership with the European Union to increase its intelligence sharing, carry out joint military exercises and be included in the bloc’s joint weapons procurement. Moldova is the first country to ink such a pact, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

It gives Moldova — a small country of 2.5mn seen as Russia’s potential next target after Ukraine, given its position — the opportunity to be part of European defence and security instruments.

In a draft of the document, consulted by Free Europe Moldova, it is provided that Moldova could participate in the future, if it wishes, in the new European crisis management structure called Rapid Deployment Capacity, and in EU military exercises.

Other areas of cooperation are civil defence, extensive information exchange, cybercrime combat and helping Moldova promote its interests in international forums, including the UN.

It is also envisages the possibility of participating in the EU projects in the defence industry and in joint procurement of armaments within the bloc as a guest, given that for now the country is only a candidate for accession.

The EU would support Moldova more in guarding its borders, including to combat illegal migration and people trafficking, as well as organised crime and arms smuggling.

"This partnership will strengthen the country's resilience. It will allow for a joint approach to security challenges, make our engagement more effective, and explore new areas of cooperation," Borrell said.

Moldova, led by pro-EU President Maia Sandu, has expressed hopes of joining the EU and has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, the country has to overcome the obstacle of integrating the unrecognised separatist republic of Transnistria — a strip of land where the former Soviet-era industry is concentrated, as well as nearly 2,000 Russian troops.

Moldova has signed critical security and defence agreements with the European Union since 2012. Despite its constitution forbidding Nato membership, the former Soviet republic also signed a Partnership Action Plan with the Alliance in 2006 after being the second CIS country besides Ukraine to sign the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992. It will move to the Individually Tailored Partnership Program (ITPP) with Nato in 2025.