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The Gagauz people are not against Europe

European Economic and Social Committee - CES/14/10   21/02/2014

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CES/14/10

21/02/2014

The Gagauz people are not against Europe

This is the result of the official visit, on 20th February 2014, of Henri Malosse, President of the Economic and Social Committee, accompanied by the Ambassador of the EU in Moldova, Pikka Tapiola, in Comrat, capital of Gagauzia, an autonomous region of Moldova.

This visit was organized following the recent referendum of 2nd February in Gagauzia, where 95% of voters supported the integration into the Customs Union with Russia.

The EESC President found that the question asked in the referendum asked an erroneous choice because the European perspective is a matter of values, not of choosing between Brussels and Moscow. In this regard, Henri Malosse expressed his wish that the Association Agreement opens a clear perspective of EU integration for Moldova.

The visit included meetings with the Bashkan (Governor) of Gagauz Yeri, Mikhail Formuzal, the President of the People's Assembly, Dmitry Konstantinov, and students of the Comrat State University.

"The Gagauz population is not against European integration, but demands respect for autonomy, a fairer distribution of resources, including EU funds, a greater commitment to the fight against corruption in the country.

And it is against all this that we voted on 2nd February", stressed Bashkan Mikhail Formuzal.

The Bashkan added that European integration could raise concerns about the respect for the territorial integrity of Gagauzia and Moldova, in particular on the part of Romania. Henri Malosse reassured his interlocutor and encouraged him that he will raise the question very clearly in his talks with Chisinau, Bucharest and Brussels.

The EESC President considered that the outcome of the referendum, although controversial, speaks for the legitimate attachment of the Gagauz people to the relations with their great eastern neighbour, Russia. This is the reason why the EESC will undertake to find ways to enable that a possible customs union with Russia and the commercial aspects of the Association Agreement with the EU are made ​​compatible.

For more information, please contact:

EESC Press Unit

E-mail: press@eesc.europa.eu

Tel.: +32 2 546 9406

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The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 353 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.

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