“Walking the Tightrope Towards the EU: Moldova’s Vulnerabilities Amid war in Ukraine”, Bob Deen and Wouter Zweers (Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands)

When the Council of the European Union decided on 23 June 2022 to grant Moldova the status of EU candidate country, it boosted the morale of a beleaguered government in Chișinău trying to circumnavigate a daunting series of crises. Since Maia Sandu ousted Socialist President Igor Dodon in the presidential election in 2020 and her reform-oriented Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) obtained a parliamentary majority in 2021, Moldova has barely had a chance to catch its breath. In the year that followed, the country experienced an energy crisis that almost deprived it of gas in the winter of 2021-2022, a budding economic crisis with rampant inflation, and a security and refugee crisis as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The central question of this research report therefore is to what extent Russia’s influence over Moldovan domestic politics as well as the regions of Transnistria and Gagauzia poses risks to the internal and external stability of Moldova 

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