Moldova: O tempora, O Tories!
Britain’s Conservative Party has been at pains to distance itself from the mainstream of European politics in recent years, but seems remarkably comfortable in its murkier shallows.
The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE), the pan-European party of which the Tories are a founder member, has long been notorious for embracing some of the continent’s more extreme nationalists.
The choice of its newest ally, however, raises some rather different questions. In June, ACRE welcomed Moldova’s Shor Party to its ranks.
Not only that but – as reported in the UK’s satirical magazine Private Eye – ACRE chief executive Richard Milsom turned up on a campaign platform with party leader Ilan Shor in the Moldovan capital Chisinau in August.
Then in mid-October, ACRE held its second annual Liberty Summit in Moldova. The event featured Shor as keynote speaker and included a day trip to Orhei, the city of which he is mayor.
Also on the speakers roster – along with Tory MEP Rupert Matthews and Fleur Butler, the deputy head of the Conservative Women’s Organization – were three senior Shor Party members and the head of Avia Invest, the company owned by the Shor family that manages Chisinau Airport.
So, who is Shor, and why is ACRE so keen to provide him and his party with a platform? The former question is perhaps easier to answer than the latter.