Veaceslav Berbeca: Candidate status offers Moldova a European perspective and EU support

The European Commission’s questionnaire that will evaluate Moldova’s readiness to open negotiations for accessing the European Union offers our country a “European perspective” and important support, says the political commentator Veaceslav Berbeca of the think-tank IDIS Viitorul.

“Within the European Union, there is this thing called the instrument for pre-accession assistance, and through this instrument, the candidate countries are given significant support so that they can overcome their issues and eventually comply with the values of the European Union and are worthy of accession. I believe that a consensus will be reached between the government, the opposition and civil society, and we will be able to fill in the European Commission’s questionnaire, which gives us all these prospects”,  Berbeca said during an IPN debate.

The EC questionnaire contains about 400 questions and focuses largely on the functioning of state institutions and the justice system. This is the first part of the questions that the Republic of Moldova is going to answer. Veaceslav Berbeca believes that Moldova has the capacity to fill in this questionnaire, considering that the country already had such experience when it signed the Association Agreement with the European Union.

“We should not forget that the Republic of Moldova has implemented and continues to implement the Association Agreement. There is a structure that accumulates information and manages the processes of this Agreement. Within the ministries of the Republic of Moldova, there are civil servants who have worked and know the process well. Capacity in general is not a problem. My understanding is that there will be help from civil society as well. Moreover, Romania has also expressed its support for providing the necessary assistance to the Republic of Moldova. We know that Romania is a member of the European Union and has gone through the same process of joining the EU. They must know very well all the details of filling in the questionnaire”, said Veaceslav Berbeca.

According to him, the government, civil society and academia can work together and reach a certain level of consensus needed to fill in the questionnaire, but also for further steps. However, in the case of the opposition, the situation is a bit more complicated. The expert noted that an important part of the Moldovan opposition is advocating for the Eurasian Union, “which is the total opposite to the current course”.

“I do not see how the Socialist Party and the Communist Party will get involved and whether they will want to participate in this process at all. But in any case, it is not a goal in itself for all parties to participate. It is important that the parties reach consensus with the side that supports the process of European integration”, said Berbeca.

The expert said that the biggest vulnerabilities in filling out the questionnaire are related to the justice sector and the frozen Transnistrian conflict.
“The Transnistrian region is a big problem for our country, because when we talk about joining the EU, obviously we are talking about accession of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders. A few years ago, when there was talk of other states joining the EU, it was said that the EU would no longer accept a state with uncontrolled regions. Most dramatic in this case is the fact that all three states that have now applied have uncontrolled, separatist regions. However, the Republic of Moldova is in a slightly better situation in the sense that no one has recognized the separatist region as an independent state”, he explained.

The debate was the 237th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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