Oscillating character of foreign policy does not bring many benefits to independent Moldova

The Republic of Moldova reached the 22nd year of independence. The IPN Agency decided to present the accomplishments and failures in the country’s development in a number of articles. Representatives of the current government, experts, former and current politicians stated their views on the steps taken by Moldova after August 27, 1991.

Article No. 10 of the IPN series “Moldova-22. Steps forward and steps backward”, on the occasion of the Independence Day

During the 22 years of independence, the Republic of Moldova was often forced to cope with strategic choices at foreign level. This fact determined the oscillating character of the foreign policy during many years. But today such an approach does not bring many benefits. Moldova’s foreign partners from the West and the East – the neighbors – surely want Moldova to have a transparent, predictable and coherent foreign policy, considers Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Natalia Gherman. She was asked by IPN to characterize the foreign relations in the 22 years after the proclamation of Moldova’s independence.

Executive director of the Foreign Policy Association (APE) Victor Chirila said that in the 22 years of independence, Moldova’s foreign relations developed in a sinusoidal way owing to the absence of a consensus about the foreign course that Moldova should follow in society, especially in the political class.  “That’s why the foreign policy didn’t have a coherent development path and clearly formulated objectives. It always oscillated, depending on the internal situation in the country. There was no political will to carry out things that were started successfully, such as the making of the European integration policy a national objective in 2005. This policy was practically abandoned by the Communist Party in 2007 because the internal party interests dictated a different kind of alliance and different foreign policy support. Consequently, the foreign policy’s path was full of unexpected turns and was uncertain,” stated Victor Chirila.

Moldova’s diplomatic agenda in 22 years

Among the important events are the recognition of Moldova’s independence and the joining of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The start of the Transnistrian conflict and then the conflict settlement process also marked the diplomatic service‘s agenda at foreign level, considers the foreign minister. Another important event is the establishment of legal cooperation and partnership relations with the EU in 1994. Today, the relationship between Moldova and the EU develops rapidly. Over the last four years, Moldova managed to hold the lead in the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

“During these years, we managed to establish diplomatic relations with over 100 states. Today we have embassies that are active in most of the EU member states. We have 37 embassies and representative offices of Moldova abroad and 32 embassies and representative offices of international organizations in Chisinau. In 21013, Moldova opened embassies in the Netherlands, Canada and Qatar. The Embassy of Slovakia was recently opened in Chisinau. I consider this is an important result,” said Natalia Gherman.

Victor Chirila underlined that the foreign policy has been efficient over the last four years, as regards the European integration. The goals set by the government in this area are close to being achieved. “We began and completed the negotiations on the Association Agreement. We also closed the negotiations on the creation of a free trade area with the EU so as to economically integrate Moldova into the EU. We initiated the process of liberalizing the visa regime with the EU and are close to completing the second and last stage for obtaining this regime. We expect that the Association Agreement will be initialed at the EaP Summit in Vilnius. The financial and technical assistance of the EU to Moldova increased almost twice in the last six years and this growth has been visible starting with 2009,” said the expert in foreign relations.

Victor Chirila also said that the EU became a rather present political player in Moldova. The European integration agenda that Moldova agreed with the EU stimulates the structural changes in our country and forces the politicians to accept and make changes that are not in the party or group interests. Thus, the foreign policy, especially in the European dimension, was the area where Moldova and the political class excelled, despite the sinusoidal course,” considers the analyst. In the last four years, owing to a consensus about the country’s future at governmental level, the foreign policy has furnished palpable results and promoted a more determined European integration agenda.

European Union - Moldova

Natalia Gherman said that Moldova now maintains a profound and extended political dialogue both with the EU institutions and the EU member states. She made reference to the recent visits paid by the Council of Europe President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the visit made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There is a permanent dialogue with European Commissioners and high-ranking officials of EU member states. We have even a Group of Friends for Moldova’s European Action at the level of EU foreign affairs ministers, headed by Romania and France. Moreover, we established a new cooperation framework on the security and defense policy between Moldova and the EU. We thus can take part in the EU crisis management mission and to benefit from assistance in implementing reforms in the internal affairs and the justice sector,” said the minister.

Victor Chirila noted that steps forward are being taken in Moldova’s relations with the EU. The Association Agreement that will model the relations between Moldova and the EU during the next at least ten years will strengthen our relations in the economic sector too. Moldova is initiating a process that will lead to its integration into the EU’s economic market. “This thing is very important, especially if we take into account the fact that the EU opened the negotiations with the U.S. to crate a transatlantic free trade area and Moldova, owing to the Association Agreement, will become an integral part of this process. The Moldovan businessmen and companies will benefit from new economic opportunities. But, in ordered to reach this stage, Moldova must reform its economy and prepare its companies and the business community for cooping with stiff competition on the European market,” said the expert.

Romania - Moldova

The APE executive director said that steps forward were also taken in the relations with Romania. Moldova finally started to build more powerful bridges than the flower bridges that disappear quickly. “We build interconnections of the high-voltage power lines that will join Moldova to the EU’s electric power system through Romania. We start to build the Iasi - Ungheni gas pipeline that will connect Moldova with the natural gas network of Romania and the EU. Over the next five years, Moldova will have new possibilities of importing natural gas, not only from Russia, but also from the EU, depending on the price of gas. We will surely enjoy advantages,” said the expert.

Ukraine – Moldova

Victor Chirila said the last democratic governments that ruled after 2009 unfroze the political relations between Moldova and Ukraine. The minor problems that affected the political dialogue with Kiev started to be solved. Despite the positive developments, problems continue to be faced and the government should realize that until these problems exist, they will affect the credibility, coherence and quality of our dialogue with Ukraine.

“Chisinau and Kiev haven’t yet formulated a new European integration agenda that would meet the new realities. The reasons are different. One of them is the lack of major interest on the part of Chisinau, which wants to swiftly make progress on the path to European integration. Some think that if they detach themselves from Ukraine, they will do this quicker. I have a different opinion. The EU is first of all interested in Ukraine, even if it pays garreteer attention to Moldova. Owing to the negative developments as regards democracy in Kiev, the EU would like to make Moldova a success story that would motivate the other capitals of the Eastern Partnership, for example Kiev. But Ukraine remains the EU’s top priority in this region,” said Victor Chirila.

That’s why a better coordination between Chisinau and Kiev in the European integration process and a more intense and consolidated political dialogue will help Moldova to obtain the political integration prospect. “I doubt that Moldova will obtain this perspective by itself,” he stated.

Russia – Moldova

The relations with Russia witnessed a complicated and unpredictable development, said Victor Chirila. Following the limitless love shown by the Communist Party in 2001, these relations were close to collapsing in 2003. “We entered an ice period that lasted for six years after President Vladimir Voronin offended personally the President of Russia Vladimir Putin by not signing the Kozac Memorandum. Moscow then boycotted the Moldovan wines and products and we witnessed the natural gas war between Ukraine and Russia that affected our country too,” said the expert.

He also said that though we have had a regular political dialogue since 2009, the level of confidence between Moldova and Russia didn’t increase. “A series of problems remained unsolved, especially the illegal presence of Russian troops and munitions on Moldova’s territory. Chisinau wants to modify the format of the peacekeeping operations in the Transnistrian region so that it contributes to building confidence between the two banks of the Nistru River. But the interests and visions here are again divergent,” stated the expert.

Our policy on Russia should be thoroughly reviewed and this is essential for understanding how Moldova can better ensure its security and internal stability. “The provocations launched by Tiraspol over the last few months showed how fragile the security of our country is and how unprepared we are for such challengers,” said Victor Chirila.

Moldova must continue reform agenda

Natalia Gherman considers that Moldova must continue the reform agenda that contributes to the country’s transformation, based on the best and most efficient development model at present – the EU. “We are close to initialing the Association Agreement and to creating the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The agreement may be signed next year. This is a qualitatively new stage in our relations with the EU,” she stated.

Another objective on which Moldova has worked over the last few yeas is the liberalization of the visa regime. “If we manage to do the last homework over the next fee months, by the Vilnius Summit, we have chances to meet the conditions so that the EU launches the procedures for taking a decision on the abolition of the short-stay visas for Moldovans in 2014,” said the minister.

Victor Chirila said that the ensuring of own security is now one of the key objectives of Moldova. “The European integration, as the countries from the Central Europe and Western Balkans showed, needs security that would guarantee internal political stability that is crucial for implementing reforms and ensuring its irreversibility,” he said, adding that a security system should be created, based on agreements of cooperation in regional security, first of all with the neighbors, Romania and Ukraine, and an active security partnership with the NATO, by observing the neutrality principle. “It’s time to understand that Moldova needs pro-active, not passive, dying neutrality”.

Irina Ursu, IPN
August 2013

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.