Candidate status and irreversibility of European integration rely on society’s wish: What does this depend on in current conditions? IPN debate


The decision to grant the EU candidate status to the Republic of Moldova on June 23 is primarily due to the war in the neighboring country and also to the wish of the EU institutions and states and the existence of a pro-European government in Moldova. Nothing would have happened if Moldovan society hadn’t mandated a pro-European government to advance the European integration course. Also, no development in the European integration process can take place if society withdraws this mandate from the current or any other government. The experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Candidate status and irreversibility of European integration rely on society’s wish: What does this depend on in current conditions” discussed the guarantees and risks related to the given wish of society.
The standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said that the power is a criterion of the political regime. Therefore, it is considered that there are pluralist, totalitarian or authoritarian and mixt political regimes. In Moldova, there is a pluralist political regime, but Moldova is considered a defective democracy. Therefore, it is very important to realize that democracy is an institutionalized freedom and the measurement is made in elections (parliamentary, presidential and local ones) that are ordinarily held once in four years.

“So, once in a year and a half, we can ask the citizens to state their opinion about the government, either we elect the President, Parliament or district councils as these, from political viewpoint, are the most representative ones,” explained the expert. The legitimacy of the power is the most important condition for ensuring the efficiency of a state institution according to several criteria – constitutional, electoral, and the legitimacy of the political power that represents the capacity of the state institutions to solve the political problems experienced by the citizens, etc. “All the things referring to legitimacy should be regarded as a whole from the angle of those legitimacy criteria to which I referred,” stated the expert.

Political commentator Nicolae Negru said the European integration, as the pro-Eastern one, is a strategic move of the Republic of Moldova, which depends on the decisions taken by the political class, state institutions and voters as well. But there are median voters who support the European integration, but swiftly choose the opposite direction on the first “stumbling block”. “This competition between the two ideas, two strategic directions makes the components – the government, the political class, the state of voters - be variable somehow,” stated Nicola Negru. According to him, the problem of problems resides in the method of perception between the “parallel universes” that exists everywhere in the world. Some of the politicians also migrate from one camp to another.

“How shall we deal with this isolation? What shall we do for the people not to live in parallel and to communicate? This is the problem of the problems. It seems to me that the Internet, the social networking sites can help now. But such a situation exists also in the European states and in the United States. The politicians try to work with these migrating voters, with these citizens for whom the policy orientation does not actually matter if it brings benefits,” stated Nicolae Negru.

Mihai Mogîldea, team leader of the Europeanization Program at the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, said the experience of the last few years shows that the foreign partners’ attitude depends on a number of factors, especially two factors – government and the parties’ and functionaries’ capacity to deliver results for the citizens, for developing and modernizing the country by developing relations with the foreign partners and the European Union.

“I think the second factor is related to the integrity of the administration as, either we want it or not, the relations of the European Union with the Republic of Moldova actually are considerably marked politically. The stimulus for developing this relationship is given by the European Union member states even if the role of the technocratic institutions in this process is important. It is very important that these EU heads of state and government trust a lot those who are responsible for the management of the state and of the whole decision-making process,” stated Mihai Mogîldea.

He noted that the credit of trust give to the current government a year ago was based on the integrity of these people who are responsible for governance. As a result, a dialog was initiated with the European partners and this brought important results for obtaining the EU candidate status. “We must be aware of the fact that besides the results expected by the EU in the implementation of the Association Agreement, on the nine conditions for opening accession negotiations, all these decisions refer also to the Republic of Moldova’s capacity to accelerate the process of modernizing and Europeanizing the country through the agency of political figures who are popular not only in the country, but also outside it,” said Mihai Mogîldea.

The public debate titled “Candidate status and irreversibility of European integration rely on society’s wish: What does this depend on in current conditions?” was the 258th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.