The strong point of the “Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of European integration”, which was signed in the meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia in Kiev a month ago is that it transmits a message to the EU, according to which time has come to think about more accentuated differentiation between the three EaP member states and to offer the three countries a much more ambitious perspective of integration into the EU, Victor Chirilă, executive director of the Foreign Policy Association, stated in IPN’s public debate “Associated Trio” of Eastern Partnership: necessity, obstacles and challenges for Moldova”.
According to Victor Chirilă, the main idea of this document is that the dialogue with the EU should be extended and that the EU should show increased commitment and openness to the European integration aspirations of the three states. However, the document lacks a component that would ensure a much closer connection between the three states. “It addresses the European capitals, but does not specify what we will do for this trio to be an association that would reflect the internal situation in our states, joint projects in the economy, regional security and reforms. This component is absent and I think this is the biggest shortcoming,” stated Victor Chirilă.
In another development, he noted the political instability will be a major impediment to this initiative and to the European integration processes in which Moldova is engaged. Civil society, the business community and other institutions should also be engaged so that they feel they are part of the associated trio. The placing of the associated trio on much broader institutional bases by the heads of state and government should be the next step. The experience of GUAM should be taken into account by the associated trio if it wants to be taken seriously by the EU.
According to the expert, the reservations of some of the EU member states that do not want the EaP format to be differentiated is also a serious obstacle to implementing the idea. But such an approach is incorrect as these three states want another future.
Victor Chirilă noted that as society is divided, those who support the European course will welcome the Memorandum, while those who look at the East more will treat the associated trio with suspicion. “Society is for now preoccupied with such internal issues as justice, corruption, the state of the economy and devote less attention to the European agenda promoted by the three states by the signed Memorandum. I don’t think there will be serious internal obstacles to this idea, including after the snap elections. A stable pro-European government should be formed then. However, even if there is a government that will pursue a balanced policy between the East and the West, this will anyway have to become involved in this trilateral agreement.”
The public debate “Associated Trio” of Eastern Partnership: necessity, obstacles and challenges for Moldova” is the 188th installment of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is implemented by IPN with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.