IRI Event Recap: Insights from Moldovan Foreign Minister Popescu on the Future of the Nation

  • Hayley Haas, Mark Sawyer

On Wednesday, June 19, the International Republican Institute hosted the new Moldovan Foreign Minister, Nicolae Popescu, for a conversation on Moldova’s future following the recent (and dramatic) change in government.

Popescu described how a last-minute agreement between the center-left Socialist Party and center-right opposition ACUM block brought an end to months of failed negotiations and ousted the formerly ruling Democratic Party. However, the Democratic Party refused to cede power for a week and only capitulated after significant diplomatic and domestic pressure. According to Popescu, the United States’ diplomatic engagement during the crisis was pivotal in ensuring a peaceful transition of power.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Minister’s remarks concerned the question of how Moldova’s new government plans to navigate its relationship with Russia and the European Union (EU). Popescu pointed out that while Moldova’s population is split between those who favor relations with one of these countries over the other, there is a widespread feeling that the country must be friendly with all neighboring nations. Moreover, due to the importance of strong economic ties with Europe, he explained that it is vital to pursue closer ties with Europe: “We don’t have a multi-vector policy: we have one vector—Europe.”

While recent events brought an undeniable sense of optimism to Moldova-watchers, Popescu reminded the audience that there is still much work to be done. When asked about Moldova’s future, he remarked that “For now, I see a strong on-the-ground commitment to make a difference for the way the country is run. We need to move fast to change the facts on the ground.”

To this end, Popescu shared insights on the new government’s priorities, including extensive anti-corruption work, unlocking foreign aid, reforming the justice and security sectors, and providing an environment where pluralistic media and healthier businesses can flourish. The United States is a vital partner in making this happen, and the Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude to IRI for the Institute’s years of work strengthening Moldova’s political parties and helping to close the gap between citizens and politicians.

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