Impact of EP’s Resolution on Moldovan political class and society. IPN debate

The European Parliament on November 14 adopted an important document t on the Republic of Moldova and this aroused different, even contradictory reactions. In a short period of time, the EP and other institutions of the European Union also adopted other resonant documents concerning Moldova. This could mean that Moldova entered or is in a more specific phase of its relations with the EU that is incontestably the most important partner of the Republic of Moldova. All these, taken together, can or already significantly impacted the country, society and the life of each citizen of the country. The issues were discussed by participants in the public debate “Impact of the European Parliament’s Resolution of 14.11.2018 on Moldovan political class and society”, which was the 96th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates”, staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova.

The standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said it is very important to understand the context in which the document was adopted. Four years after the signing of the EU – Moldova Association Agreement, the European Parliament came with a resolution on the implementation of the provisions this Agreement and this stipulates very important things. The resolutions are very important political documents, but we must understand that the presence at the debates of the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, who forms part of the EU Executive, means a lot as the Republic of Moldova remains in his focus.

The expert noted two important things that happened in the European Parliament and that can be deduced from the resolution. “The first thing refers to the ascertaining of a state of fact, in a succinct manner. During the last few years of the crisis of the stolen US$ 1 billion, particular progress was made in the banking system, trade, economy, but things regrettably backslid on the democratic dimension and this is worrisome. This thing became more evident after the annulment of the Chisinau mayoral elections. The second important thing is related to the perspective. The European Parliament transmitted a very clear message – the Association Agreement is a mandatory document. The European Union wants to help the Republic of Moldova, especially its people, but for this to happen the Republic of Moldova should return to normality. The return to normality in the Republic of Moldova is possible only if the parliamentary elections scheduled for February 24, 2019 are free and fair. Afterward, the financing for the Republic of Moldova can be resumed,” stated Igor Boțan.

Political analyst Anatol Țăranu said the EP’s Resolution definitively turned the page related to what was called “the honeymoon” of Moldova’s relationship with the EU and Moldova is now definitely not a success story. The resolution is very critical, unparalleled in the Moldova – EU relations. It points to serious departures witnessed in Moldova in the functioning of democratic institutions and this is a reason for concern. The resolution was greeted with satisfaction by the Moldovan opposition forces and this is explainable. The government hasn’t yet reacted and this could mean that it is concerned because of such a document and is very careful to its reactions in relation to what is going on in Brussels.  

“The European Union is the main development partner of the Republic of Moldova and the worsening of the relations with the EU means nothing else but decline in the intensity of the economic, political and other kinds of relations. This surely has an impact on the life, quality of life of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Any government would be concerned about such developments,” stated Anatol Țăranu, noting the impact of the resolution will be yet gauged. As to public opinion, he said this is to yet comprehend the main provisions of this document, but the real impact will be seen in time only.

Political analyst Cornel Ciurea said this resolution deepens the criticism formulated in the resolution issued by the European Parliament in July 2018, when it was decided to suspend the provision of macro-financial assistance and it was announced that the future electoral process will be monitored. “Actually, this resolution brings nothing new except for the extension of the critical part. The criticism is much harsher and refers especially to political aspects of life in the Republic of Moldova. Surely, I’m tempted to believe that the European Parliament and, in general, the European bodies dominated by the European Peoples Party started to excessively politicize the approach towards the Republic of Moldova and not only. We saw that the day before yesterday they discussed a lot in Romania the European Commission’s report within the cooperation and verification mechanism and saw the same somehow unclear reaction in Romanian society and particular anger on the part of the ruling police class there. We witnessed the same in our country,” he stated.

Cornel Ciurea said that when it is about politicization, particular assessments come in the spotlight and generate confusion as the criticism is not clearly aimed. For example, the European Parliament suggests reallocating funds to civil society, the independent press and not only, but such a move is strange and reveals particular politicization tendencies. Also, the EP asks to publish the second Kroll report and the appropriateness of such a suggestion is disputable. “The criticism of the political developments is yet unilateral and, from my viewpoint, betrays the vision of the parties of the right. For me, it is clear that there is a powerful influence exerted by our parties of the right on the EPP. The parties ruling in Romanian said the same thing. A somehow similar situation is witnessed in Poland and in other states of the European Union, but the attitude to the Republic of Moldova is harsher, I repeat,” stated the analyst. He added he does not believe that this criticism will turn into concrete actions to penalize Moldova and this is rather an intention to build a favorable passageway for the parties of the right in the upcoming elections.

According to political analyst Valeriu Pașa, one can juggle with terms – it is suspension of blocking, political or non-political – but there is a reality that is perceived in the offices of European functionaries and politicians, representatives of embassies of the EU member states, the EU Delegation in Chisinau, as to what the European Union means in the broadest meaning . Any position expressed by the EU is political a priori. “It is not true that the issue is politicized because the opinions stated in this resolution come only from a parliamentary group that is indeed the most influential one, the EPP. The resolution was adopted by the votes of much more MPs than those of the EPP and the diversity is great. Let’s try to interpret the approach as support for our opposition parties. Let’s be realistic. Anyone in the European Union would prefer the current pro-European opposition to rule in the Republic of Moldova than those who rule now. And no serious analysis is need to realize something that is absolutely evident. This does not refer to the Social Democratic Party of Romania, which will be on friendly terms with Mister Plahotniuc till the end,” stated Valeriu Pașa.

He noted the resolution is rather mild. Gradually, the EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament, started to have the same perceptions of the developments in the country as the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. The resolution says it clearly: “Dear government of Moldova, we see, know and understand in detail what is happening in the Republic of Moldova, but we leave the door open, which is we offer you the opportunity to review your behavior and to calm down, but don’t continue in the same way by annulling elections and democracy in itself, by daily flouting the Constitution and common sense. So, the resolution contains all the positive things that could be identified in the recent period and what the government did in the Republic of Moldova. There were included even things that are nor interpreted by everyone as exclusively positive, but the European Parliament tried to find any positive development and to present it as a very big accomplishment even if this is, in essence, not a very positive reform, with an impact in the long and short runs, especially for the people, compared with the rest of the processes in the Republic of Moldova,” he stated, adding the language in the document is very diplomatic.

Political analyst Roman Mihăeș said particular positive things can be indeed seen in the resolution. The European Parliament welcomed particular economic, fiscal and financial reforms and even congratulated Chisinau for the policy adopted towards the Transnistrian region, mentioning six protocols in this regard. It also approved of the law on the disciplinary accountability of judges, which clearly stipulates the procedures for promoting judges and holding them accountable. But the criticism of the justice sector, corruption and the rule of law prevail. In political terms, it is a report without evidence. A proof is the inaccuracy as to the fact that the mixed electoral system was introduced by the votes of the Democratic Party and the Party of Socialists only as the Parliamentary European People’s Group also voted in favor. The author of the report based on which the resolution was adopted was somehow influenced in his assessments of the parties in Moldova. Even so, the Republic of Moldova and the government should learn the lesson of this document, especially as regards the fight against corruption and the investigation of the banking fraud.

The analyst stated he did a calculation of the votes by which the resolution was adopted: 396 MPs voted in favor, 76 voted against and 186 abstained. The number of those who voted against and of those who abstained is close to that of those who voted for, not as in the case of Georgia, where the ratio was of 600 to 30. The EPPP and ALDE Groups in the European Parliament united against the Democratic Party of Moldova and the Social Democratic Party of Romania. “For now, we have two governments led by two Social-Democratic parties in Moldova and Romania and both of these were criticized by the European Parliament as no one in the EP hides that coalitions ate formed there, as in any other parliament,” stated  Roman Mihăeș, noting what is important is for the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held in accordance with the OSCE standards and to be free and democratic as they will be an important indicator that could unblock the financing for Moldova.

The debate “Impact of the European Parliament’s Resolution of 14.11.2018 on Moldovan political class and society” forms part of the series of public debates held 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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