Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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.

Lagarde's ECB must modernise

Christine Lagarde will succeed European Central Bank president Mario Draghi at a time of deepening polarisation among eurozone member states. It will take all of her skills as a leader and communicator to safeguard the institution's independence.

Facebook has to answer some tough questions about Libra

German MEP and member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Markus Ferber, warns of four separate threats from Facebook's Libra. A good moment to kick off the debate would be this week's G20 summit.

Six takeaways on digital disinformation at EU elections

For example, Germany's primetime TV news reported that 47 percent of political social media discussions were related to the extreme-right AfD party, when in fact this was the case only for Twitter - used by only four percent of Germans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us