On 15 and 16 July 2022, the EU-funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA) and enhancement of the legal approximation process for the Republic of Moldova” organised a two-day event on the topic of “Next steps for Republic of Moldova after submitting the application for EU membership and receiving candidate status”. Altogether, 85 participants from different institutions participated in the event along with representatives from the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, discussing topics related to the EU accession negotiation process and the next steps on Moldova’s EU accession path including the shared experience from other EU Member States’ accession to the EU.

This event was organised for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) and representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Moldova which had participated in preparing Moldova’s responses to the EU Questionnaire.

The event first focused on the MFAEI’s experience in organising the process for preparing Moldova’s responses to the EU Questionnaire, which the European Commission had delivered to Moldova in two parts in April 2022. Moldova prepared and submitted its responses to the EU Questionnaire within an extremely short time period (within 12 days for Part I and within one month for Part II).

MFAEI State Secretary Mr. Vladimir Cuc elaborated on the messages sent to Moldova by the EU, EU’s expectations after the 23- 24 June 2022 European Council Summit meeting as well as the next steps to be taken by Moldova after receiving the European Commission’s Opinion and the status of a Candidate country. Mr. Primož Vehar, Project Team Leader, moderated this discussion and shared Slovenia’s experiences during its EU accession negotiations.

In the second part of the event, Project experts presented various practical aspects of the EU accession negotiation process, from opening the negotiations to the ratification of the Treaty of Accession. Specific examples from the EU accession negotiation process were provided from Slovenia, Serbia and Latvia.

In addition, the participants discussed about the main steps in EU accession negotiations, the dynamics of the negotiations and the major lessons learned from the ongoing EU accession negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia which are applicable for Moldova. Additionally, there were explained the various documents which are used in the negotiations (both EU’s and Moldova’s documents) and the impact of the newly-adopted EU methodology for accession negotiations.

In conclusion, Mr. Vehar, based on experience from all Central and Eastern European countries as well as all those from Western Balkan, emphasized the need for Moldova to prepare and adopt the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) as its key strategic planning document and the importance of Moldova creating an internal coordination mechanism for its EU Integration process and later accession negotiations.

In conclusion, Mr. Vehar, based on experience from all Central and Eastern European countries as well as all those from Western Balkan, emphasized the need for Moldova to prepare and adopt the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) as its key strategic planning document and the importance of Moldova creating an internal coordination mechanism for its EU Integration process and later accession negotiations.

EU-funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova” aims at increasing the capacities of the Moldova Government and other key national institutions in implementing the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. The Project’s work consists of four main components: 1) contributing to the further enhancement of structured policy dialogue with civil society; 2) improving policy development mechanisms for adequate budgeting of strategic documents; 3) supporting the legal approximation process by providing technical expertise and capacity-building; and 4) upgrading the IT systems in public administration to support the implementation of the Association Agreement.