The EU’s forgotten 1990 enlargement

Moldovan president Voronin claims in an interview with the Financial Times today that “No country has united with another one after joining the EU. It can’t be done.” Apparently his Soviet apparatchik ignorance allows him to overlook the 1990 case of Germany. It was east Germany (the German Democratic Republic) that not only acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany on 3rd October 1990 but also to the (then) European Communities on the same day.

While going back through the article/interview it strikes me how many (potential) parallels there are between east/west Germany and Romania/Moldova. Both Moldova and east Germany had been occupied by Soviet troops during or at the end of WW 2. Even though Moldova became formally integrated into the Soviet Union, there was little doubt that also the GDR (East Germany) was little more than a Soviet satellite state that could not do anything without Soviet support. Obviously in both cases the same language (Germany respectively Romanian) was spoken by the (big) majority. Now, let us assume for a moment that for some reasons re-unification in 1990 would have been delayed and east Germany would have had to go through similar economical, political and social developments as its neighbours Poland or the Czech Republic. Would then, by now, east Germans claim to have their own language and national identity at the end of the day?

Witout being in expert on Moldovan-Romanian relations I understand from every Moldovan I have talked to that Moldovans do practically speak the same language as Romanians. Why does president Voronin then put such an emphasis on differentiating between the two countries languages? Is it really for these reasons that he wants to avoid rapprochement to Romania or maybe more because he prefers to keep his people away from the path to the west and European integration?

From a Brussels perspective the question of Moldovan EU membership is an interesting point to look at. Even the enlargement-sceptic conservatives do rather see Moldova as an EU member than the Ukraine – or even Turkey. Will Moldova, once rid off its Soviet president Voronin, actually join the EU not through negotiations but through accession to Romania?

1 thought on “The EU’s forgotten 1990 enlargement

  1. Kosmopolit

    It is indeed an interesting thought to compare the Moldovan-Romanian situation with that of Germany.

    However, you do not mention the conflict in Transnistria which does complicate the whole issue. At the time the Transnistrian conflict was actually triggered by a reunification discourse. No similar problem occurred in Germany in 1989/1990. Furthermore, German has been the only language in East Germany,while in Moldova a significant minority speaks Russian.

    At the moment Voronin is busy negotiating the Transnistrian problem with the Russians and I guess that his comments must be seen in that context. Anyway, before we can talk about the possibility of Moldova joining the EU by unifying with Romania the Transnistrian issue has to be solved (which is unlikely to happen in the near future).

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