The first five years of the creation of the Eastern Partnership almost 12 years ago were very active, but what happened next can be described as stagnation. In the second half of 2020, the EaP was marked by elections in Belarus, in August, and by an unprecedented conflict in the past 30 years witnessed in South Caucasus. In this connection, Moldova, alongside the neighing country Ukraine and Georgia, occupies a more prominent place in this partnership, while the Czech Republic lays emphasis on this EaP “trio”, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Aleš Chmelař, who is in Chisinau on a visit, stated in a public event, being quoted by IPN.
According to the official, given the presidency of the European Council that the Czech Republic will hold next year and the relationship with the EaP, a balance will have to be found between the associated trio of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia and the other EaP countries, based on the individual approach of these countries.
The Czech official noted that the Eastern Partnership Summit is to be held in Brussels in December and the six countries are expected to come with a joint statement to which all the six will subscribe. The EaP policy will remain very important for the EU either it goes to the associated trio, to all the six countries or to each country apart.
In another development, Aleš Chmelař said the Czech Republic will attentively follow what happens after the snap parliamentary elections in Moldova, especially because it will have accredited observers. The elections should be free as only in this case the final results will be perceived as legitimate and accepted by everyone. Civil society is asked to keep a close eye on the elections and the Czech Republic will support it in this regard.
According to the Czech official, given that Moldova is one of the priority partners of his country on the bilateral dimension as well, it is expected that Moldova will remain in the center of the agenda after the elections that will be held in the Czech Republic. There is great potential of cooperation between Moldova and the Czech Republic on the bilateral dimension. It is expected that a Government will be formed in Moldova immediately after the elections so as to see its priorities and to then agree the bilateral agenda.
Attending the event, Lilia Carasciuc, executive director of Transparency International-Moldova, said that starting with 2014 Moldova has stagnated within the EaP. This is explicable as the bank fraud was committed in that period and all the money laundering schemes were revealed. There were also the frustrations of the pro-European voters because the EU kept silent. The situation was massively exploited by Russia. The security is a big problem, primarily when a foreign army is present on the country’s territory.
Promo-LEX executive director Ion Manole related that the Association has been monitoring the elections in Moldova since 2009. From 2014, the country has been in a difficult reformation and democratization process. The key problem is the hybrid war waged by Russia, including through the agency of domestic parties. The EU has an offer for Moldova and the rest of the EaP countries, but everything depends on these countries. The instruments used by the EU in Moldova are different from those used by Russia, which resorts to propaganda and dissemination of fakes news in Moldova and not only. It is seen that civil society is more often attacked by local politicians and the press affiliated to them, by the Russian model. It is important that the EU support it not only financially, but also politically as the practices in relation to Promo-LEX in the Transnistrian region have been gradually transferred to the right bank of the Nistru.