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Eastern Partnership summit: Moldavia's train derails from European track

Moldavia will be facing a hard task at the Eastern Partnership summit taking place in Riga on May 21-22. The Chisinau delegation headed by President Nicolae Timofti hopes to persuade the EU leadership to ease terms for exports of the Moldavian goods to the European market. During his visit to Latvia, the Moldavian leader will official meetings with Latvian President Andris Berzins, French President Francois Hollandes and other European officials.

Analysts divide on the issue. Most of them cast doubt that Brussels would open European market for Moldavia and other Eastern Partnership countries. For instance, expert of the Moldavian Foreign Policy Association Lina Griu says Moldavia lost its chance for success in Riga. “Moldavia’s train has derailed from the European track,” she said.

“Total exports of Moldavian goods in January-March 2015 was $488.2 bn, which is by 14.8% less than in same period last year,” says member of the experts council at the Russian State Duma committee for CIS affairs Innokentiy Adyasov. The drastic decline is connected with non-tariff barriers and certification standards.

According to Moldavia’s National Statistics Bureau, exports to the EU has grown by 0.3% up to $320 bn. However, it should be taken into account that the statistics cover the goods made from European raw materials as well.

At the same time, Russia’s embargo for fruits and vegetables and wine from Moldavia resulted in cutting the supply by 42.4%, which is about $104.1 bn and is 21.3% of the total exports.

“Another EP summit allows seeing the true picture of rivalry between Russia and the EU in the post-Soviet territory,” Adyasov says. In this connection, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier announced Moscow was not going to impose decisions on the European Union, but wanted other countries developing their relations with the EU not harming Russia.

“Sooner or later, Moscow will have to interact with the EU and EP regarding Ukraine’s membership in two free trade areas: the CIS free trade area and the same one in the EU, and access of the European goods to the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union,” commented Innokentiy Adyasov.

Up-to-date, the EP program envisages political association and economic integration of the European Union with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine. The three latter countries signed treaties on associated partnership with the EU last year.

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