The article examines EU–Moldovan relations from the perspective of the external governance framework. It reveals some considerable progress in the procedural engagement of both parties. However, the internal instability experienced by Moldova in 2009 is seen to have disrupted these relations, stalling further negotiations and even questioning Moldova's true commitment to Europe. To understand this ostensibly sudden change in Moldova's allegiance to Europe, it is argued that analysis needs to go beyond conventional governance framework(s). Premised on the notion of ‘constitutive boundaries’ a ‘partnership’ perspective offers a more nuanced understanding of the boundaries of ‘the other’, thus revealing the salience of geopolitics and culture in Moldova's relations with the outside world.