Snagov Pact in Moldova between intention and reality. Op-Ed by Anatol Țăranu



And the presidential election and the European referendum of this October will be the first serious test for the European cause. The results of these two ballots will demonstrate the true attachment of the majority of the Republic of Moldova’s citizens to the choice of European civilization, as well as the sincerity of the parties that signed the Pact for Europe regarding their political attachment to the European cause...


Anatol Țăranu

On June 21, 1995, 14 of Romania’s most influential political parties, along with civil society and the Church, at a villa on the shores of Lake Snagov signed a declaration in which they assumed the objective of bringing the country into the EU and NATO by 2000. At that time, there were no political forces and important segments in Romanian society that opposed this civilizational choice for Romania that had recently exited communism. Already the next day after the signing, Romania submitted, in Brussels, the official application for accession to the European Union. Even so, time showed that the Romanian politicians’ optimism about the length of the period of accession to European institutions was slightly exaggerated. Romania joined NATO only in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Differences are on the surface

In the Republic of Moldova, the Snagov initiative has been a topic of debate for many years. But only now, on May 26, a document purportedly similar to the one signed in Snagov, called “Pact for Europe”, was signed in Chisinau at the National History Museum by 12 pro-European political parties. Although it was mentioned that it is part of the list of signatory parties, the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova didn’t delegate any representative to the signing event.

The Pact for Europe was initiated by the “Together” bloc of four parties - the Dignity and Truth Platform, the Coalition for Unity and Welfare, the Party of Change and the League of Cities and Communes - and was proposed for signing to other political parties, civic entities and well-known people from the academic, cultural field, etc. The signed document, which according to the initiators represents a pact similar to the Snagov one, involves supporters of the Republic of Moldova’s integration into the European Union, but also those who condemn the war of aggression and the occupation of the territories of sovereign and independent states.

Regardless of the wishes of the signatories of the Pact for Europe to find similar features between the value of this document and the Snagov Pact, the differences are on the surface. Unlike the Snagov initiative that was based on a broad consensus in Romanian society, the Moldovan Pact for Europe gathers the support of only a part of the Moldovan political class and society, even if this part is slightly in the majority. The Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU is the top priority of the current government, which aims to achieve it by 2030. However, the irreversibility of this process doesn’t seem to be guaranteed, as the main opposition parties do not share this desideratum of the majority of citizens. At least, achieving a consensus like the one in Snagov in Romania in 1995 still seems impossible.

Chisinau Snagov without NATO

Even more striking is the difference between the initiatives in Snagov and Chisinau regarding NATO. Romania’s European path included accession not only to the EU, but also to NATO as a guarantee of security and irreversibility of the European course. While the Pact for Europe in the Moldovan version excludes even the most innocent mention of NATO, the subject being a reason for a categorically conflictual approach between the signatories of the document. Some of the participants in the Moldovan Pact put their signature only after the text was edited to exclude any mention of the Euro-Atlantic area, thus prompting other potential adherents to give up signing the document.

The Snagov Declaration meant obtaining the necessary consensus among the Romanian political forces about the country’s integration into the Western civilization space, which made the transition of power from right-wing to left-wing forces and vice versa to no longer be treated as a return of the “Eastern danger”. While the Chisinau Pact for Europe doesn’t guarantee that the coming to power in the Republic of Moldova of pro-Russian left-wing political forces would mean a natural change and succession to power of democratic parties without changing the development paradigm as a choice of civilization. And this means that as long as there is a possibility that anti-European forces will come to power in the Republic of Moldova, which will rely in their policy on the argument that they have the mandate of the people to reverse the European course, any statements about the existence of a national consensus on EU accession represent an error capable of distorting the process of identifying a correct political solution to perpetuate the course of European integration.

Consensus shaken from the start

On the day the Chisinau Pact was signed, the press published the interview of PAS party chairman Igor Grosu, who described the co-signatory of this document, the leader of the MAN party Ion Ceban, as “a Kremlin can taken out by the Socialist Party from Soviet history, packaged and scented with European, even pro-Romanian perfume. In reality, he is an exponent of the fifth column, meant to be activated when it is necessary, when it is best for them.” The hazard of the situation lies in the fact that both of these parties are signatories of the Pact and, therefore, formally recognize each other as allies in the cause of the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU. The fact that among the signatories of the Pact there are suspicions of disloyalty to the central cause announced in the document significantly diminishes the principle of cohesion that all the participants in this action should have been guided by.

Among the omissions in the text of the Pact is the attitude towards the Euro-Atlantic factor as a guarantor of security and a safety element of the European path. The position of the party led by former Prime Minister Chicu is known. This insisted on excluding any mention of the Euro-Atlantic area in the preliminary text writing stage. The acceptance of this omission, as well as of the omission of the thesis about two ways of accession of the Republic of Moldova to the EU – as a sovereign state or by implementing the project of union with Romania – made the unionist parties not to actively manifest themselves by willfully joining the Pact. The PNL tried to save the appearances. In his speech when signing the Pact, the party’s chairman said that the union with Romania remains yet the shortest path to EU accession for the Republic of Moldova.

Test of sincerity, in October

In particular, it should be noted that the Snagov Declaration of June 21, 1995 was preceded by the working out of the “National Strategy for preparing Romania’s accession to the European Union”, which was designed by a Special Commission made up for this purpose. It consisted of representatives of parliamentary political parties, of the Government, of the academia, of Romanian civil society. Therefore, the Snagov Declaration was based on a detailed plan of actions that were to be taken to ensure Romania’s accession to the EU. In the case of the Pact for Europe signed in Chisinau, the action plan element is missing, giving the content of the document a formal declarative value with the characteristic of a declaration of intention.

However, if there can be no political consensus like the one in Snagov in the Republic of Moldova at present, a limited consensus within the pro-European parties is already an achievement for the European cause. Along with the mobilization of the pro-European political segment, the irreversibility of the Republic of Moldova’s EU accession can be guaranteed by the efficiency of state institutions’ policies and civil society’s activism in promoting the reform. And the presidential election and the European referendum of this October will be the first serious test for the European cause. The results of these two ballots will demonstrate the true attachment of the majority of the Republic of Moldova’s citizens to the choice of European civilization, as well as the sincerity of the parties that signed the Pact for Europe regarding their political attachment to the European cause.

Anatol Țăranu
doctor of history, political commentator

IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.

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