As Moldova prepares (along with Georgia) to sign trade and cooperation agreements with the European Union by September, both countries face military and economic pressure from Russia to reverse course and instead join the Russian-led Customs Union that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to establish among states of the former Soviet Union.  In an interview March 3 at the Atlantic Council, Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca described how he plans to handle relations with Russia as his government pursues the policy that Moscow so vehemently opposes.

Diplomats and policy analysts at an Atlantic Council forum with Prime Minister Leanca suggested that the date for signing Moldova’s Association Agreement and trade deal with the EU should be advanced, to give Russia less time to try to engineer their defeat.  But Leanca said in his interview that he wants as much time as possible to build domestic consensus, in advance of this year’s elections, for his government’s choice of a Europe-aligned future for Moldova.