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Public Discussion: Eastern model vs. Western model for Moldova. Is there a third way?

on the organization of the debate
“Eastern model vs. Western model for Moldova. Is there a third way?.  Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”

Held on 14 September 2017, Debate 77 brought together Sergiu Sîrbu, Democratic MP; Vladimir Golovatiuc, Socialist MP; Mihai Popșoi, vice president of PAS Party; Ilian Cașu, vice president of Partidul Nostru Party; and the political pundit Igor Boțan as the Project’s standing expert.

As in the previous debates, the selection of speakers ensured that a large variety of views were represented, down to the level where opinions differ inside a group holding the same general views about the matter at hand.

The subject was selected because the process of choosing between the two models appears to be at the core of many sociopolitical processes, while also being influenced by many other processes, both domestic and foreign.

The issue is topical because very recently the dispute around the country’s strategic orientation has resurfaced with renewed vigor, as the proposal to introduce an explicit European integration reference into the Constitution has been met with harsh criticism from the opponents of this idea. The Project used this occasion to facilitate a better understanding of this confrontation of ideas “pro-East” vs ”pro-West”, or “anti-East” and “anti-West”, and the speakers were encouraged to bear in mind the instructive component of our Project to discuss the similarities and differences of the two models, the advantages and disadvantages of each of them, going beyond purely political and geopolitical considerations.

Astfel, the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Botan said the Republic of Moldova oscillates between the East and the West and this is a cross that the Moldovan people carry in virtue of a number of circumstances. Being a small state, Moldova is actually an island between two tectonic plates: the European one and the Eurasian one and when these plates oscillate, the small island has to react or can be even crushed. That’s why it is somehow understandable why Moldova oscillates between the East and the West. The expert made reference to a number of official acts signed by the governments that ruled in the independence period. In general, these show that the orientation was 60% to 40% in favor of the European development course. However, regrettably, during the last eight years those who promised the integration into the EU didn’t manage to produce many interesting things and what they did led to a reduction in the European integration support level from 70% to 40%. “After the citizens were disappointed, how can one make them believe in the integration into the EU so that this idea is not challenged?” asked the expert.

In the same connection, Socialist MP Vladimir Golovatiuc said Moldova should not choose between the Eastern and Western models that are actually inexistent. Moldova should follow the Moldovan development model that would center on quality standards, social security of the people, etc. “We can borrow what’s best from the East and the West, things that work better, but Moldova should yet follow an own path and should develop the economy so that this meets the realities here,” stated the MP, noting that laws that meet the European norms are often adopted, but ultimately these do not work in the realities in Moldova because an individual country development model is needed.

Deputy head of the Political Party “Our Party” Ilian Casu said the party he represents pleads for a pro-Moldova model based on a functional state, democratic values, the rule of law and observance of human rights. “The European integration conception should be contrasted with the political situation in Moldova and the people’s welfare. Since the ostensible pro-European parties appeared, the money that comes from the EU has been provided for the ordinary people. However, hypothetically speaking, if the money hadn’t been stolen, Moldova would have been in a different situation now,” he stated.

Sergiu Sarbu, MP of the Democratic Party that announced it would initiate the procedure for amending the Constitution so that this stipulates that the European integration is Moldova’s strategic orientation, said the government wants to eliminate any speculation about the country’s course and wants the split in society to disappear. “That’s why we want to transpose the Constitutional Court’s judgment of September 9, 2014, which says that the orientation to the European democratic system of values is a defining element of the constitutional identity of the Republic of Moldova, to the Constitution and nothing more,” he stated, noting that the government wants also to be a good partner of everyone, including the CIS.

Deputy chairman of the Party “Action and Solidarity” Mihai Popsoi said that what counts is the democratic values, which represent the European Union’s foundation, such as the rule of law, political competition, freedom of the press, functional and non-politicized institutions, non-selective justice. “What we see now in the party that boasts of the find to amend the Constitution and to stipulate the irreversibility of the European course is lack of wish to fight corruption and this fight is actually superficial, but this is not an EU value. The people, regrettably, die in detention and such things are also not among the European values,” stated Mihai Popsoi.

The Agency published 6 news stories on the debate (see the English version of on 14.09.17, „Eastern model and Western model for Moldova: differences, advantages, disadvantages. Chances of “Third Way”, IPN debate” -; „Sergiu Sarbu: European integration no way goes against good neighborhood” -; on 15.09.17, „Mihai Popsoi: Democratic values are European Union’s foundation” -; „Vladimir Golovatiuc: Choice is not between East and West, but in Moldovan economy’s future” -; „Igor Botan: Moldova is on third way, of stagnation” -; „Ilian Casu: PPPN pleads for pro-Moldova development model” -  -.
IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.

Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN


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