Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

Opinion

How to fix Moldova

  • Chisinau: EU will not tolerate corrupt 'pro-Europeans' (Photo: BBM Explorer)

Major political and economic reforms require determined action, consolidation of the main political forces, and close involvement of civil society. 

This is the lesson that Lithuania learned in the course of its successful reform process in the 1990s. Strong support from international partners was another key factor in Lithuania’s success.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Today, Moldova urgently needs both a consensus on main reform priorities at home and strong, but conditional support from the EU.

The new government, led by Pavel Filip, faces an enormous task: society is divided, the public has little confidence in the government due to massive corruption, and the country will very soon face difficulties in paying pensions and salaries. 

European forces (even the European idea itself) have been compromised by so-called pro-European politicians, who seem unable or unwilling to fight corruption. 

Reformers must walk the walk

A billion US dollars stolen from Moldovan banks and the somewhat vague investigation of the case that followed were the last straw. 

Deeply rooted impunity and a lack of accountability have prompted the public to search for saviours.

Some of these saviours portray themselves as being “pro-Moldovan“ but, sadly, align themselves with Russia, a country that continues to occupy a part of Moldova’s territory and recently attacked Ukraine.

Russia’s troops in Transnistria are there in breach of international law. 

An intense information campaign, aimed at undermining Moldova’s pro-European choice, also makes the current government’s task harder.  

The protesters in Moldova keep demanding early elections despite warnings by a number of experts, who say that such elections could push the country into even deeper political and economic uncertainty. 

A temporary government would basically have no opportunity to negotiate new loans, which the country urgently requires.

First of all, Moldova needs genuine political stability based on the consolidation of major political forces determined and willing to implement the reforms that people demand.

The new government’s initiative, to start a dialogue with protest leaders, is a step in the right direction.

Secondly, Moldova needs vigorous reforms leading to tangible results. 

The new government has already made reform commitments. Its pro-European orientation is also critical. 

But if the country doesn’t implement reforms and continues to stagnate then its strategic orientation won’t make much difference.

Europe will not tolerate corruption or support the self-proclaimed “European forces” unless they walk the walk. 

Free movement

Reforms must be the new government’s calling card, or it will lose what little support it has among its own people, as well as that of international partners. 

The achievements of previous governments were important. Moldova was considered as a frontrunner among the EU’s eastern partners.

Severe and politically motivated sanctions imposed by Russia caused huge losses in Moldova’s eastern markets. But it managed to keep the economy on track and it is starting to feel the benefit of its EU free-trade accord. 

Today, Moldovan citizens can also travel visa-free to the EU’s Schengen area because Chisinau met strict EU benchmarks. 

This is also an important incentive for the reintegration of Transnistria. But as a result of poor public information, few of these achievements are being attributed to the government. They’re taken for granted. 

Corruption battle

There’s a sense of deja vu in Moldova’s recent protests.

In April 2009, the EU stepped in to persuade opposition parties to accept the outcome of disputed elections and to work with a new government.

Today, civil society is calling for a more active EU role in facilitating dialogue with politicians.

The EU must not hesitate to act, to try to stop Moldova from sliding into deeper economic and political crisis. But EU support depends on Moldova’s performance in rooting out corruption. 

Moldovan people have clearly chosen a European future. But when all’s said and done, that future lies in the Moldovans’ own hands.

Linas Linkevicius is Lithuania's foreign affairs minister.

Bringing Moldova back on track

Brexit is part of EU "ups and downs", Moldova's foreign minister writes. "The benefits of being part of the EU family remain very clear to us".

How to refresh the EU's eastern policy

The EU's Eastern Partnership policy, now seven years old, is approaching maturity - Moldova's foreign minister suggests five ways to make sure it stays relevant.

How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?

Russian domestic television - the only source of foreign news for most Russians - consistently shows Europe over-run by immigrants, beset by terrorist atrocities, and on strike. This has serious consequences.

More commitment to renewables from Council, please

More and more consumers are likely to invest in solar panels in the future as it becomes simpler to produce one's own electricity, writes Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  2. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  3. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  4. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  5. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  6. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law
  7. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP
  8. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  3. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  6. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  7. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  8. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  9. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  10. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  11. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations