German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 3, 2023. AP
The German leader will meet first with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, for bilateral talks focussed on security, economy, and energy. They will also discuss defense cooperation on NATO’s eastern flank and security in the Black Sea region.
Iohannis’ office said the aim of the talks is to ensure “close coordination” within the European Union and NATO, as well as ways to support Ukraine and Moldova, both of which were granted EU candidate status last June in the wake of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Other topics will include helping Ukrainian refugees and facilitating the transit of Ukrainian grain to the global market as the war drags on.
Later on Monday, Iohannis and Scholz will be joined by Moldovan President Maia Sandu for trilateral meetings. The three leaders will discuss European integration for Moldova, which is not a NATO member and has faced a protracted series of crises over the past year.
Iohannis’ office described Moldova’s European integration as “the only option capable of ensuring a democratic, prosperous and stable future for its citizens," and said the trilateral talks among the leaders Monday would send “a clear message regarding the continuation of firm and unwavering support” for Moldova.
“The Republic of Moldova is subjected to systematic hybrid pressures, including attempts to undermine the constitutional order,” his office said.
Last month, Moldovan police said they foiled a plot by groups of Russia-backed saboteurs who were specially trained to cause mass unrest against the country’s pro-Western government. That came days after U.S. intelligence officials said that people with ties to Russian intelligence aimed to use the protests as a basis to try to topple Moldova’s government.