Igor Boțan: Moldova has big chances to become EU candidate country

There are big chances for the Republic of Moldova to obtain the status of candidate country and there is openness on the part of the EU. “If Ukraine manages to become an EU member, we will ride the wave,” Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, stated in a public debate on the issue hosted by IPN News Agency.

“Let’s hope that we will succeed or the EU will have many problems related to security, trafficking, migration. We must be fully committed to this process as this is very important,” stated Igor Boțan.

The expert noted the process of entering the EU is accelerated in the case of Moldova. “We know the experience of other states. The questionnaire for the Western Balkans contained thousands of questions. For the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, it was simplified and contains about five to ten times fewer questions. I don‘t think the European Union started this process to say “No” at a certain moment. The situation is difficult, but we know how the European Union reacted in its own interests after the war in Yugoslavia. Experts of the European Union came to Chisinau and took part in the working out of the strategy for the stabilization and association of the Western Balkan countries,” said the expert, noting the decisions were then, in 1999, taken in a crisis situation and that strategy functioned well as the EU expanded in waves, while Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine can form part of the fourth wave.

According to Igor Boțan, the questionnaire is like a university admission exam and its questions should be responded honestly. “We should now engage in this process so as to be accepted as a candidate country. The process of implementing the chapters later will be difficult. Chances appeared and we should mobilize the whole society. The motivations is considerable now,” said the expert, noting Moldova will be assessed based on the Copenhagen criteria to see if it has a market economy, democratic institutions and capacity to implement the community acquis.

Igor Boțan reminded that the Moldovan authorities signed the Moldova-EU Association Agreement in 2014. After the destabilization caused by Russia’s intervention, owing to the separatist regimes it hatched in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and after the current war, it became more evident that the EU’s strategy for the Eastern Partnership does not work. The EaP was planned as an EU strategy that would ensure, after the expansion waves, a security belt from Murmansk up to Casablanca. But this belt does not work on the European side. The EU should therefore decide what to do next – to leave this area as a zone in which Russia claims rights, which means the European Union will not enjoy stability, when there is a war on its borders and the Baltic States, Moldova, Ukraine are under threat, or to attract these three ex-Soviet countries that want to be European into this European integration process, which would be the best solution. The most important thing for Moldova is to become a candidate country. Russia can be later regained as an economic partner of the EU and the Transnistrian issue and other problems could be solved then. 

The public debate titled “EU Questionnaire: What it offers and what is asks instead, how are chances assessed inside and outside?” was the 237th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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