Little support for ex-Soviet state's merger with EU neighbor

The idea of Moldova’s merging with Romania does not have enough support among the people, President Maia Sandu has admitted

Little support for ex-Soviet state's merger with EU neighbor

Little support for ex-Soviet state's merger with EU neighbor

Moldova will seek EU membership as an independent country, President Maia Sandu has said

The prospect of Moldova acceding to its EU neighbor, Romania, does not have sufficient popular backing inside the country itself, the nation’s president, Maia Sandu, admitted in an interview with the Geopolitique news portal this week. 

Some in the post-Soviet state even find such plans frightening, the president added. "There is support for reunification with Romania, but not enough," she told the news portal. Moldovans back the idea of joining the EU but as a separate nation, she insisted. 

"There are also people who fear reunification, there is indeed a discussion that’s been there for a long time, but again, there is not enough support for this to happen," the president said. Instead, her nation aims to join the EU, adding that her government hopes "to convince the EU Member States and the EU institutions to start the negotiations as soon as possible."

According to Geopolitique, one million Moldovans, roughly a quarter of the nation’s total population, already hold Romanian passports. A poll conducted by the Institute of Public Policies in Moldova in December 2022 suggested that only 35% of Moldovans support the idea of unification with Romania, which has been floated ever since the post-Soviet state gained its independence in 1991. 

A poll conducted by Avangarde research group in April showed that Romanians are even less keen on such a prospect. Over half would oppose such plans, and only about a third would support a merger, the survey suggested. 

More than half of Romanians also oppose helping sending troops to Moldova in case of a conflict with Russia. The idea of providing Chisinau with military equipment in such a case was opposed by 35% of respondents. 

Moldova is a former Soviet republic with a population that is mostly ethnic Romanian. Sandu has consistently implemented pro-Western policies since her election in 2020. Moldova has actively cooperated with NATO in recent years, sending troops to participate in the military bloc’s force in Kosovo. The country was also granted EU candidate status last June.