- Title: In Russia, Moldovan president says may scrap EU trade pact
- Date: 17th January 2017
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JANUARY 17, 2017) (AGENCY POOL) RUSSIAN AND MOLDOVAN DELEGATIONS PUTIN AND DODON SHAKING HANDS VARIOUS OF KREMLIN
- Embargoed: 31st January 2017 17:18
- Keywords: Russia Moldova Transdniestria Igor Dodon Vladimir Putin EU trade agreement
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0035ZGYA7T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Moldova may scrap a trade agreement with the European Union after the country's next parliamentary elections, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Tuesday (January 17) during his first state visit to Russia.
Speaking in Moscow at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dodon said it was "curious" that Moldova's trade turnover with the EU had wilted since signing a political and trade pact with the bloc in 2014.
"And I do not exclude that after the next parliamentary election there will be such a position and I will support this position by the parliamentary majority - and I hope that the Party of Socialists will get the majority in the parliament - and this agreement will be cancelled," he told reporters.
Dodon was elected in November with just over 50 percent of the vote after calling in his campaign for a referendum on Moldova's relationship with the EU, which came at the expense of ties with Russia. No referendum has yet been announced.
Moscow imposed retaliatory trade restrictions on Moldovan farming exports, and Dodon's promise to improve relations with the country's former Soviet master found favour with many Moldovans who have been hit financially by the bans and a broader economic downturn.
"Today I came up with the initiative to sign a framework memorandum on cooperation with Eurasian Economic Union. We have agreed that in the upcoming weeks we will start consultations so that it is signed in the nearest months. It won't contradict the agreements signed between Moldova and other partners at this stage. But it is the first step to move towards coming closer," Dodon said.
Eurasian Economic Union which is seen by Putin as an embryo of a new geopolitical bloc.
Dodon's win and move away from the EU reflects a loss of trust in pro-European leaders in Moldova and Russia's increasingly assertive influence over ex-Soviet states.
Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, is expected to return to growth in the near future after contracting 0.5 percent in 2015. But its exports have yet to recover to pre-crisis levels, falling 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016.
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