Igor Boțan: Association Agreement with EU is most important document

The Association Agreement is the most important document that the Republic of Moldova ever signed and there are no areas of public life, either economic, social or of another kind, that would not be covered by this document. High-ranking European officials repeatedly said the Association Agreement with the EU is based on values and Moldova, by signing this document, agreed to abide by these values, the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said in a public debate entitled “Year 2018: accomplishments, failures and challenges in Moldova’s European integration” that was the 99th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates” staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova.

Igor Boțan noted it is important to take into account the fact that 27 years after the Republic of Moldova declared its Independence, the country is actually engaged in the European integration process. The Declaration of Independence clearly says that the Republic of Moldova embraces the European values. The starting point was August 27, 1991, when the European course of the Republic of Moldova was set. Later, the governments that followed in their foreign policy concepts stipulated that the European integration is one of Moldova’s perspectives. Even the current leaders of the Party of Socialists said there is no alternative to Moldova’s European integration. This thesis was announced when Zinaida Grecheanyi was running and when she became Prime Minister.

The expert said the Republic of Moldova as a state accepted to embrace the European values, not vice versa. It is not right to sacrifice democratic freedoms and to rank justice among the so-called successes for the sake of relative socioeconomic achievements. This compromises the whole European integration process.

Speaking about the institutions of the sovereign state Moldova, Igor Boțan said the ombudsman’s office is one of the reference institutions that condemned the human rights violations in Moldova, namely the expulsion of Turkish citizens by flouting all the norms and the case of Andrei Brăguța, which is outrageous. “This case revealed the state of human rights in the Republic of Moldova, which looks serious to me,” he stated.

According to the expert, the European Parliament’s resolutions on the situation in the Republic of Moldova take into account the appraisals carried out by specialized institutions, primarily the Venice Commission and the OSCE, which had clear opinions on the way in which the electoral system was modified and these opinions cannot be ignored.

The referendum on the recalling of MPs is another aspect related to documents and the European values inserted in the Agreement. “In general, how can such an issue be put to a referendum if we have an Association Agreement and we know the European Union’s attitude to imperative mandates. This attitude is based on the Council of Europe’s opinions that were presented by the Venice Commission – any imperative mandate is null. If the Republic of Moldova intends to ask the citizens if they want to return to the Soviet system of electing and recalling MPs, why is this done? I’m concerned about this from this perspective,” said Igor Boțan.

The expert noted the citizens want clear perspectives for the current and future generations deriving from a normal process. “It is not about criticism for the sake of criticism, but about the fact that the citizens want a predictable government that arranges things so that there are individual freedoms and economic growth and the people do not have to leave the country,” he stated.

The debate “Year 2018: accomplishments, failures and challenges in Moldova’s European integration” forms part of the series of public debates staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova as part of the project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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