1 – Europe keeps losing Moldova
BSSB.BE ceps.eu/ 06.05.2016
As anti-government demonstrations continued in Chisinau, EU foreign ministers reaffirmed their support for Moldova’s political association and economic integration with the EU in the Council conclusions of 15 February 2016.
- The ministers also confirmed that all 28 EU member states have ratified the Association Agreement between Moldova and the EU.
- Despite this progress, Moldova’s European integration project is in tatters. According to an authoritative survey commissioned by the National Democratic Institute in November 2015, only 40% Moldovans support European integration;
- 44% are in favour of Eurasian integration, however. As Russia steps up the pressure on Moldova, these trends are worrying for the EU.
At first sight, it is puzzling that Moldova should lose the support of its population for integration with Europe. The country has received considerable financial support and political backing from the EU, and is governed by an elite that proclaims itself to be pro-European. An analysis of domestic and external factors might shed some light on this question.
Moldova’s self-serving elite
Moldova’s elite has consistently lacked the will to reform a political system that primarily serves its own interests, yet the EU has turned a blind eye to the abuses of successive governments for years.
- Ever since 2001 when the Communist party returned to power, Moldova’s political system has been dominated by strongmen who utilise the country’s resources for personal gain. The coming to power of the Alliance for European Integration, after a re-run of the 2009 parliamentary elections, raised hopes that the new Moldovan government would finally reform.
- For years following the elections, the Alliance for European Integration, composed of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the Democratic Party and Our Moldova Alliance (absorbed by Liberal Democratic Party in 2011) was successful in its declared pro-European orientation.
- Yet corruption and oligarchic interest have continued to define Moldova’s body politic. When attempting to analyse Moldovan politics the names of personalities such as Vladimir Plahotniuc, Vlad Filat, Vladimir Voronin, Igor Dodon or Renato Usatii are often bandied about, but more as names, not for the policies they stand for.
Weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law-enforcement agencies all form the breeding ground for capture by oligarchs who have infiltrated Moldovan politics.
- Instead of fighting corruption, as true statesmen should, Moldovan strongmen have fought each other and exacerbated the chronic instability in the country.
- Not only were ministers’ portfolios divided between coalition members, but whole ministries and their revenues were carved up too.
- Frequent clashes for control of state institutions and revenues between the main oligarchs have been a feature of successive Moldovan governments. Two oligarchs in particular have been settling scores.
- The Democratic Party leader Plahotniuc had the upper hand over the Liberal Democratic Party leader and former Prime Minister Filat in a longstanding battle. Filat has now been detained and investigated for corruption.
Cosmetic reforms have been carried out to create the illusion that the country is making progress, primarily to secure aid from donors, but in a climate of increasing instability Moldova’s parliament has had to approve three prime ministers in under a year. The forthcoming presidential elections are likely to plunge the country into crisis yet again.
The opposition of Russia to Moldova’s European integration has made the project far more challenging. The Kremlin has supported those Moldovan factions that oppose European integration, and aided traditional parties with ties to Russia, such as the Communist party. Moscow also extended its support to new political actors such as the Party of Socialists, whose leader, Igor Dodon, met President Putin before the 2014 parliamentary elections in Moldova.
Russia has utilised links with the Gagauzia regions to put political pressure on Moldova’s leaders to abandon the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.
In particular, the Kremlin exploited divisions within Moldova through supporting a non-binding referendum in the autonomous region of Gagauzia on a Eurasian Customs Union (now Eurasian Economic Union) in 2014. Russia managed to secure 98% of the votes in favour of the region joining the Eurasian Customs Union.
- In response to the signing and implementation of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, Russia sought to inflict economic damage on Moldova by introducing sanctions. Russia cancelled the tariff-free preferences for 19 categories of products under the 2011 Russia-Moldova Commonwealth of Independent States (CSI) Free Trade Agreement.
- By introducing import duties and import bans on Moldovan products (namely in the agricultural and food sector) with a high export volume to Russia and high employment, the Kremlin exploited the vulnerabilities in Moldova’s economy.
- The EU countered Russia’s action by adopting decisions to grant greater market access for Moldovan exporters to the EU. In the short term, however, this did not compensate for the harm caused by Russia’s sanctions, mainly because of the limited competitiveness of Moldovan products and the existence of non-tariff barriers.
Conversely, the economic downturn in Transnistria forced that region to negotiate a partial application of the DCFTA because autonomous measures were due to be phased out at the end of 2015.
Euroscepticism Geopolitics Nations Video Conflicts
* jurnal.md – Global sentiment in the Moldovan politics –
The Republic of Moldova needs reforms, and the Government have to assume itself engagements. Law must be one for all, the politicians should think more about national interest. Now does not matter the definitions with which you juggle at the meetings with the partners – it matter whether you are pro-Moldova, whether you are pro-your own people, whether you are pro-democratic society
* VIDEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqWwVhZJ1no – Why Journalism Is Important: Christopher Hitchens on Media– Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky proposed a concrete model for the filtering processes (biases) of mainstream media, especially in the United States, called the propaganda model. They tested this empirically and presented extensive quantified evidence supporting the model. Communication scholar Robert W. McChesney, inspired in part by the work of Chomsky and Herman, has linked the failures of the mainstream press primarily to corporate ownership, pro-corporate public policy, and the myth of “professional journalism.”