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EU: Future member states must hold democratic elections

February 1, 2019
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European Union Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini, left, gestures at the end of a joint press conference with Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, right, during a Gymnich meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The European Union’s foreign policy chief says would-be member states from the former Soviet Union must hold free and fair elections to be eligible for future membership.

Federica Mogherini was referring to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia who signed association agreements with the EU in 2014, amid sharp criticism from Russia.

She said while the EU doesn’t get involved in domestic political agendas, “free, fair elections, this is our compass,” in comments made Friday in Bucharest.

Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu called free and fair elections a “red line” for the EU. Romania currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Moldova holds parliamentary elections on Feb. 24 where pro-European parties will face parties pushing for closer ties with Moscow.

Under the association agreements, nationals of the countries involved were allowed visa-free travel to the bloc.

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