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Official Says Moldova Frustrated With EU 'Waiting Room'

Moldovan Economy Minister Valeriu Lazar

Moldovan Economy Minister Valeriu Lazar

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Economy Minister Valeriu Lazar said his government is unhappy with the degree of integration offered to the country by the European Union.

Lazar, who is also the country's deputy prime minister, warned in an interview with website that unless Moldova is given a clear perspective of becoming a full-fledged member of the EU, it could opt to deepen its integration with the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Lazar said the EU's Eastern Partnership -- which offers closer ties with six former Soviet states without promising them EU membership -- is not enough for Moldova and is "just talk," while Russia has a "clear idea" of transforming the CIS into a functioning union of states.

He said that although the EU is "closer to Moldovan hearts" than the CIS, his country will not be happy to be kept in the EU's "waiting room" forever.

Lazar added that the association agreement Moldova is negotiating with the EU also does not envisage membership and that Brussels will not abolish visas for Moldovans, as many had hoped.