The Prime Ministers of Georgia and Moldova have called for faster accession to the European Union in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The leaders view acceptance into Europe’s security architecture to be vital steps in deterring further Russian encroachment on their borders.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili noted, “We need to see action—now and today. Because it’s a different world today. What has happened in Ukraine is not a challenge only to Ukrainian security. This is a challenge to the entire European security architecture.”
Both Georgia and Moldova were formerly parts of the Soviet Union. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia to support separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. After the war, Russia recognized the two breakaway regions as independent states. Recently, the leader of South Ossetia, Anatoly Babilov, said the unrecognized statelet will take legal steps to initiate the process of joining the Russian Federation.
“We, the Georgians, have paid a very high price since we regained our independence,” Garibashvili added.
Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed inflation in Moldova to 27%. It has also resulted in the small country taking in Ukrainian refugees totaling 3.5% of its population.
“We believe there is now this standoff between values of democracy, rule of law, European values, and the values of autocracy, dictatorship,” Gavrilita said. “We don’t know when this next moment of historic unity will arise.”
“We don’t want to miss this window of opportunity and several years from now look back and say, ‘What happened to this extraordinary sentiment?’” she added. “Will the EU be an exporter of peace and stability?”
Russian troops are currently stationed in the Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria. The statelet declared independence from Moldova in 1990. Russia supports the separatist regime in the region, and refers to the presence of its troops as a “peacekeeping operation”. However, the international community recognizes Transnistria as part of Moldova.
Both Georgia and Moldova applied for EU membership in early March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.