The Republic of Moldova has always had a balanced foreign policy even if the ruling political forces oscillated. After declaring its independence, the country always looked for a kind of balance between geopolitical centers of attraction so as to resolve its problems. Currently, the initiative concerning the foreign policy, which is presented as a balanced one, can take Moldova to stagnation that can be followed by an outburst and dangers can be faced here, expert Igor Boțan stated in a public debate entitled “Balanced foreign policy: capacities, advantages, risks” that was staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova.
The standing expert of IPN’s project said that attempts are made to present the Republic of Moldova as a bridge between the East and the West and the current government thus pleads for the so-called balanced foreign policy even if in 2013, when the Party of Socialists was taken over by Igor Dodon, the emphases were somehow shifted to the Eurasian integration of Moldova, but this party’s viewpoint changed following its coming to power.
According to Igor Boțan, the representatives of the ruling political forces oscillate given that there is an unsolved conflict, the country is energy dependent, there is governmental instability and half of the citizens are for the European integration, while another half are for the Eurasian integration. These factors keep Moldova stagnant.
The expert explained that after the country declared its independence, its foreign policy was influenced by three factors related to the economic interests of the state and here Moldova oscillated between two centers of attraction – the Commonwealth of Independent States and the European Union. The unsolved Transnistrian issue is another factor that determined the foreign policy. Moldova’s special relations with Romania are the third very important factor. Currently, the unionist current is dissipating. “The centenary passed and this current within which particular players imposed a political behavior is also disappearing. The unionist dimension is extremely important,” he stated.
Igor Boțan said that after the independence was proclaimed, the foreign policy concepts developed in stages. In 1991-1994, 1995, for economic reasons, Moldova decided to sign the Astana Agreement on the entry into the CIS economic area. The Parliament’s incapacity to ratify that agreement led to the dissolution of the legislature and holding of snap elections in February 1994, after which the agreement was ratified.
The expert noted that after the adoption of the new Constitution, all the governments pleaded for a balanced foreign policy and the relations with the strategic partner Russia were good, while the developing relations with the EU were very good. The given period produced the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU that was signed in 1994 and ratified in 1998. Since then, practically all the governments laid emphasis on the necessity of coming closer to the EU. The country always looked for a kind of balance between the two geopolitical centers of attraction so as to solve the three problems.
Igor Boțan considers the biggest risk of the currently pursued foreign policy is the fact that this policy can take Moldova to stagnation. The statements about the possibility of the relations with the international backers being frozen can result in the loss of interest in reforms, especially in the justice sector. “The repercussions will be those we already know, namely the absence of serious investors in the Republic of Moldova. It is curious how the promises will be fulfilled, including about the transformation of the Republic of Moldova into a building site following the provision of a loan by the Russian Federation, under unclear conditions,” he stated, noting all the promises and statements come in a pre-electoral year and it’s clear that the task of the new technocratic Government is to pave the way for the campaign prior to the presidential elections.
The debate titled “Balanced foreign policy: capacities, advantages, risks” was the 122nd installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the German foundation Hanns Seidel.