Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Iurie Leancă is optimistic. In the program “In the focus” broadcast by Publika TV channel on November 25, 2019, he expressed his confidence that the European Union could resume the provision of macro-financial assistance to our country after the parliamentary elections of February 2019. The optimism is based on a solid argument: “We fulfilled all the technical conditions. We now should do so that the upcoming elections and the preparations for them are held correctly and no one questions the legality of these elections”.
It’s good that the high-ranking officials emanate optimism and share this with the people. But it seems that Deputy Prime Minister Iurie Leancă omits the modification of the context. He was one of those who built the success story in the European integration of the Republic of Moldova when he was minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, in 2009-2013. On June 27, 2014, as the Prime Minister, he signed in Brussels the Moldova – EU Association Agreement on behalf of Moldova. In a solemn atmosphere and in a historic moment, Iurie Leancă said then: “Firs of all, this means institutions that will work much better, according to the European model, an economy that could even better integrate with the European one, access to a market with 500 million consumers with a high purchasing power, investments in the economy of the Republic of Moldova”.
In less than half a year of that solemn event, in December 2014, we learned that the Republic of Moldova was actually on the verge of a precipice and the success story was an imitation of reforms, in particular in the justice sector. This way, the success story suddenly changed into a regression story and the culminant point of the decline in the relations with the EU was witnessed this year. The two resolutions of the European Parliament, of July and of November, leave no room for interpretations – the regression in Moldova’s relations with the EU reached the critical point and this happened when Iurie Leancă accepted to take up as Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration.
Anyone who will read the last Resolution of the European Parliament can convince themselves of this, namely of the fact that the relations between Moldova and the EU, which is a union of values, are based not on the fulfillment of technical conditions. It would have been preferable if the democratic standards came before the technical standards. In such a situation, the EU showed that it found means and instruments for remedying the technical conditions.
That’s why Deputy Prime Minister Iurie Leanna’s optimism that the parliamentary elections of next February would be free and fair and would legitimize the new pro-European government is premature. Firstly, it is hard to hold free and fair elections in a regressing democratic context. Secondly, the negative tendencies that marked the electoral process in the last four-year political cycle weren’t inversed. The reports produced by specialized institutions of the development partners show:
- the election runners can be removed from the race right before the elections based on suppositions that aren’t confirmed later;
- clone parties that use the symbols of other parties are allowed to steal voters and are removed from the political circuit only after the elections;
- the people’s constitutional right to initiate a referendum is hampered for invented reasons of a technical character;
- the election results can be annulled in an arbitrary way;
- the provisions of the electoral legislation can be modified right before the election campaign, ignoring the Code of Good Practices;
- the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the OSCE based on which the EU formulates its attitude to the democratic processes in Moldova are easily ignored by the Moldovan authorities, etc.
This is the context and tendencies that make Deputy Prime Minister Iurie Leancă believe in a free and fair electoral process and in the possibility of creating a pro-European majority after the elections. Moreover, the Deputy Prime Minister is convinced that this is actually the pro-Moldova project.