on the organization of the debate “Moldovan society and politicians after Vilnius: between cooperation and confrontation”, the 24th installment of the “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” Series; Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Debate 24 closed the series of debates devoted to the development of political culture in 2013 and confirmed the Project's necessity and utility. Over the last year, the Project enjoyed enough visibility to count on having earned a separate status among the multitude of platforms used by the Moldovan society to debate their most stringent problems. The Project has gained recognition and popularity with the Moldovan press and politicians. The speakers, both experts and political actors invited to the debates, adapt themselves easier to the topic of political culture, contributing, with the help of the press, to a better understanding of such issues within the Moldovan society. In this sense, the debates held under the Project have become a school which facilitates in an accessible manner the understanding of the rather complex political processes going on in the country. This in turn facilitates the development of the society's capacities to make political decisions. This is a necessary and useful thing at any times, but especially in an electoral year, like the year 2014 is expected to be in Moldova.
The speakers of debate 24, which was held shortly after Moldova initialed its Association Agreement with the EU at the Vilnius Summit, agreed that this represented a new stage for our country, when the society and the politicians should consolidate their efforts, reforms should be advanced, and the politicians should remain alert to overcome potential obstacles of internal and foreign nature on the path of European integration.
Liberal Democratic Party president Vlad Filat stated about the Agreement's initialing: “It was a long awaited event for which a lot of work was done and it is the result of the involvement of whole society in the European integration process. It is about 1,000 workdays transformed into almost 1,000 pages of the agreement that will bring benefits to the people”.
He also said that a responsible period is approaching, the next stage – the signing of the agreement. “The discussions we had at the European’s People’s Party Summit in Vilnius showed that the immediate period must be administered responsibly, not only as regards the translation of the texts into the 23 official languages of the EU, but also the implementation of reform. The deadline we agreed with the EU partners is end-September. The signing may take place sooner, depending on how we work,” said the leader of the Liberal-Democrats.
The politician added that the initialing of the Association Agreement with the EU is a reason for joy, but the work must be continued so as to achieve the objectives. “Now, after the Summit, we need unity more than ever. I mean unity not around a party or a doctrine, but around the European integration process. We must contribute to the Europeanization of the country so as to enjoy better living conditions. I’m confident that the state will cope with the challenges coming from inside and outside”.
National Participation Council chairman Sergiu Ostaf said that the events that took place in Vilnius were expected by society. “This agreement is an instrument for making the government responsible. It is an important result that is appreciated by my colleagues. I think it is an instrument that can mobilize the government to be more efficient and to have one more chance in the next elections,” he stated, adding that only the current political configuration made the initialing of the agreement possible.
Director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT Igor Botan, who is the permanent expert of the IPN project, said the major goal of the Vilnius Summit wasn’t achieved as Ukraine didn’t sign the Association Agreement with the EU. “I hope that this will not happen in the case of Moldova. In a period of uncertainty, everything depends on the responsibility in the next period and how the political leaders behave. We will have to make effort and to be attentive to the possible obstacles. The political class should take a decision as regards the Transnistrian region. It would be better for this problem to be frozen.”
He added that there are stages after the initialing that must be covered. “It is very important that the document be signed. Moldova must send messages not only to the Europeans, but also to society. The benefits must be explained to the people. The promise to liberalize the visa regime should be kept. The agreement must be also ratified. The road is clear and we must be attentive and prudent and able to act swiftly,” said the expert.
The Agency published 5 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 02.12.13, “Moldova after Vilnius: There is yet a lot of work to be done, while government must be vigilant” - http://www.ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/58634 ; on 03.12.13, “Vlad Filat: Entire society must contribute to next steps” - http://www.ipn.md/en/politica/58648 , “EU rapporteur will assess Moldova’s preparedness for visa regime liberalization” - http://www.ipn.md/en/politica/58649; on 04.12.13 “After Vilnius, government must take decision about Transnistrian region, opinion” - http://www.ipn.md/en/dosar-transnistrean/58674 , “Visa-free regime with EU may attract skilled labor force to Moldova, opinion” - http://www.ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/58673.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN