Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome to the front garden!

A casual observer would have missed the significance of today's announcement by the EU's Swedish presidency that the Union is to negotiate an 'association' treaty with Moldova.

Under the Communist government, Moldova and the EU signed an agreement under which the EU gave some limited concessions (e.g. trade access for certain goods) in return for Moldovan progress on democratisation and reform.  This agreement expired during the summer and was due for renegotiation following the formation of a new government in the weeks and months following the July 29 election.

What is significant about today's announcement is that, instead of renewing the old, limited agreement, the EU has instead decided to award Moldova 'associate' status on the successful completion of treaty negotiations.

Now have a look here at the status of 'associated states'.  They are small countries which have decided to become protectorates of a larger political entity.  Moldova is becoming a protectorate of the European Union, moving definitively out of Russia's sphere of influence and into the EU's  (...thanks to the courage of the students, the steatfastness of the AIE and a intercession of a certain former sea captain)

It's still a long road to membership.  The EU hasn't fully opened its doors to Moldova.  It will, however, let the country hang around in its front garden, enjoying a degree of protection from the violent gangs on the other side of the fence.

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