Moldova lacks competent staff able to swiftly enter talks on European integration, thinks the political pundit Igor Boțan. “After obtaining (EU) candidate status, the current government should have called on the political forces, the academic circles to create a dialogue and send a very clear message that the government is open to attracting competent people who support the process of European integration”, he said during an IPN debate on the topic.
The expert said he is skeptical about the government’s capacity to get involved in the process of accession and negotiations on European integration before reviewing its capabilities. “Experts in Romania drew my attention to the fact that both in a small state and in a large state, government agencies and other public structures need about the same number of people. It is one thing to find competent people and involve them in all processes in a medium-sized state, and it is quite another to do the same thing in a small state, on the understanding that the share of competent people is about the same. I hope that Romania will help us greatly and we will overcome this persistent staff crisis and I hope that this staff crisis will be overcome very soon”, said Igor Boțan.
According to him, although the opposition parties understand that they cannot offer a proper alternative to Moldova’s European integration, they send messages that are in line with the expectations of their electorate. “If you ask (the opposition) directly what the alternative to European integration is, they will certainly avoid answering this question. Moreover, I believe that over the past half year opposition representatives refuse to participate in debates on the same platforms with government representatives or with those who share the opinion that Moldova’s development vector should be the European one. They do this deliberately to avoid answering tricky questions, such as their attitude towards Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the implications of this aggression. And the second tricky question - what is the alternative to European integration? The opposition can challenge the vector of European integration, but it cannot offer another credible alternative and possibly supported by the majority of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova”, the expert noted.
Polls conducted domestically show that almost 56-60% of citizens support European integration, but with the diaspora included Boțan estimates the total share of supporters to be about 70% of Moldovans. “It is true that the 400,000 citizens living in Transnistria are not counted here, but this is a different story. For the European Union, the Transnistrian issue is not an impediment, because the integration process will certainly last, and during that time the situation might be solved”, said Igor Boțan.
The debate was the 254th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.