After the new Parliament and the new Government were formed in Moldova, radical changes occurred in Moldova’s relations with the European Union. This was stated repeatedly, at different levels and from different rostrums. However, the theme of the new Moldova – EU dialogue was discussed mostly narrowly, based on the momentary political interests of political forces. The experts invited to IPN’s public debate discussed the real content of the Moldova – EU dialogue, how it develops and what chances it has to advance further than it did during “the first success story of the Eastern Partnership”.
Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, said the dialogue with the European Union is a natural process given that the Republic of Moldova has implemented the Association Agreement with the support of the EU starting with 2014. In this regard, there are different platforms for communication with the European Union, both at the upper level and at sector level, between the state institutions of the Republic of Moldova and the European counterparts from the same field.
“The dialogue does not cover only the political aspect, but also such aspects as the green economy, energy, infrastructure. The dialogue can include political aspects, which are probably the most visible and most comprehensible ones in the conditions existing in the Republic of Moldova as there are very clear political speeches of officials of the new government that is pro-European,” stated Dionis Cenușa.
According to him, it is more difficult in the case of discussions that take place at sector level, such as the economy, trade and others. Here, it comes to invisible work that is yet very important for the relations between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union to be in the ascendant. “So, what’s visible is usually related to the political dialogue. In reality, there is a lot of invisible dialogue on sectors where a lot of work is to be done and where the Republic of Moldova needs considerable technical and financial support,” stated Dionis Cenușa.
Expert in political science Victor Stepaniuc, ex-Deputy Prime Minister, said the dialogue between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union has become more intense the past few months. The political and post-electoral euphoria of the current government the past few months showed that the dialogue with the political players is actually conducted with those from the West only. “We must understand that in fact, the Republic of Moldova is situated in an area on which other players also exert influence. I would first of all mention Russia here, but almost nothing was done in this direction,” stated the expert.
According to him, the meetings of the President, the Premier’s visit to Brussels were anchored in the main subject, namely the financial support. From economic viewpoint and in terms of creation of jobs, stopping of migration, no progress has been made and the Association Agreement with the EU didn’t help. “We should not be very critical of the current government. However, the President’s staff, the advisers on foreign policy who know the economy, the geopolitical realities should have advised the President and the Government to find time to go to Moocow as they found time to visit the neighboring states,” noted Victor Stepaniuc, adding the dialogue with the Russian Federation should be balanced.
Mihai Mogîldea, team leader, the Europeanization Program of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, said there are already the first signals in Brussels and in Chisinau showing that the Moldova-EU relations are special in character and the most noticeable ones are those related to the provision of €50 million in macro-financial assistance. It also goes to the €36 de million in support offered as part of the assistance program to the value of €600 million for the next three years. “The assistance comes to €86 million that was provided during this period of over two months since the formation of the new government. This is a first signal, a first step showing that the dynamics are positive,” noted the IPRE expert.
According to him, Chisinau already took particular action related to the ambitions of the new government with respect to the dialogue with the European Union. On the one hand, there are the Primer’s visit to Brussels and the meetings with European officials. On the other hand, there is the stimulation of the dialogue on trade. “Particular priorities related to the offering of export opportunities to the poultry industry, for example, were set for this year. There are also infrastructure projects that are to be advanced. What we have at the moment, in practical terms, are the discussions on the new EU – Moldova Association Agenda that will set down the priorities and this assistance of €600 million for the next three-year period, of 2021-2024,” stated Mihai Mogîldea.
The public debate “About what new EU-Moldova dialogue is, how it develops and what chances it has” was staged by IPN News Agency in the framework of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.