Moldova on 26th anniversary of independence: between sustainability and Europeanization, Op-Ed



Europeanization contains in itself the ingredients needed to modernize the country and, respectively, to eliminate the fragilities that make Moldova unattractive for the own citizens...


Dionis Cenuşa


The country’s independence, celebrated on August 27, is the most suitable moment for assessing the maturity of society and sustainability of the state construction. The improper functioning of institutions, more dispersed social cohesion or colonization of democratic institutions by the obscure interests produced a series of systemic fragilities. These are often confounded by the public opinion with a state of failure or collapse of Moldova as an independent state. This confusion should not be underestimated at all. Any perception crystalizes based on concrete fears deriving from not at all simple personal experiences into daily Moldovan realities.

Sustainability of country project and migration

Migration, especially by young people, is the major factor that fuels the negative perception of the country’s sustainability in the long run. This diminishes the predictability of the future. The temptation to leave the country could have been smaller if the methods of leaving the county hadn’t been diversified and simplified so powerfully during the last few years. The proximity to the EU labor market and hastening of the process of restoring the civil relations between the citizens of Moldova with Romania (regaining of nationality) are natural circumstances that facilitate migration. The objective causes reside yet in the poor quality of governance, the inability of the economy to create well-paid jobs and, newer, in the wear and tear level of the social and urban infrastructure at the local and central levels. The moving to more prosperous countries for the young families represents an investment in the children’s future.

Evidently, migration in Moldova is extremely varied – from permanent, usually to the West, to seasonal, traditionally to Russia. On the one hand, the reduction in the volume of remittances points to the anemic state of the economy of the countries from where Moldovans transfer money home. On the other hand, the data show that seasonal migration loses ground to the permanent one. (See Table)

Transfer of money from abroad





Total amount of net transfers, millions, USD
















   Share (%)




















Source: National Bank of Moldova

The emancipation of the Moldovan diaspora with regard to Moldova reveals particular signs of integration of Moldovans into the new adoptive countries and an energetic interest in maintaining and promoting the ties with the country of origin after departure. This strengthens the argument that Moldova is in a fragile state and needs assistance to gain resistance.

Even if the practical contributions of the diaspora (for example, crowdfunding for social projects, business projects, etc.) can increase the level of confidence in the country project among the population that remained at home, these should not replace the state and the government. The latter should be improved through a complex process of renewing the political class, including by realizing the human potential of the diaspora. The removal of fragilities depends on the strategic view for the country and the elite, which should ensure its crystallization. The strategic view exists and is incorporated into the European integration process. But there is no elite that would implement this unconditionally and fully.

Europeanization as a solution for strengthening country project

During 26 years of independence, the Moldovans witnessed different European integration speeds proposed by the European Union. The Association Agreement that enables the country to advance by borrowing the good European practices is the most progressive method available so far. This is the most ambitious process ever assumed by Moldova, which, if it is implemented correctly, on time and fully, can radically improve the state of affairs in the country.

Through the Association Agreement, the country and society are subject to a complex process of Europeanization that is “successfully” bypassed by the absolute majority of political parties. Therefore, the European integration is superficial and powerfully associated with the mechanic transposition of the European legislation. This explains the state’s failure to use the European model to improve the living standards and discourage thus migration.

The European agenda can be incorporated into the daily life of Moldovans only if there is sufficient public support. The pro-European feelings have always been more powerful among the young people. However, their perception of the EU changed radically after 2012, when political corruption related to the pro-EU parties started to dominate the public sphere.

Figure. Evolution of attitude of young people aged 18-29 to EU



Able to freely leave, the Moldovan young people tend to use this opportunity more often, being thus excluded from the political processes that can help remedy things in the country.

“Islands” beneficial to the country’s Europeanization can be found in the integral parts of civil society, the mass media and the business community that promote and demand to ensure such European values as the rule of law, good governance and human rights. These “islands” risk being depopulated owing to the restrictive measures planned by the government as regards the limitation of external financing.

Even three years after the signing of the Association Agreement, the European integration is an idea that is powerfully incompatible with the agenda of the majority of political parties, in particular the ruling ones. The extra-parliamentary opposition is in the process of Europeanization, but hasn’t yet proven that it wants to embrace all the European values, including those that are inconvenient, dangerous and unattractive for traditional societies. In such conditions, there is a risk that Moldova’s Europeanization will be more powerfully supported by the EU than by the Moldovan citizens.

Instead of conclusion...

Europeanization contains in itself the ingredients needed to modernize the country and, respectively, to eliminate the fragilities that make Moldova non-attractive for the own citizens. But Europeanization cannot be ensured by the EU, but with its assistance and can be effected by the Moldovan political class.

Besides the fact that migration helps the Moldovans avoid the multiple fragilities witnessed in the country, this also reveals a major challenge faced by Moldova, which is the depopulation of the country by the supporters of the European integration. On the one hand, the citizens who see clear prospects in the proximity to the EU emigrate. On the other hand, those who remain in the country adopt a Euro-skeptical position owing to the pro-EU parties that turn out to be corrupt.

After 26 years of independence, Moldova can yet recover some of the lost development opportunities, but only if the citizens manage to replace in a qualitative way the political class so that the country’s Europeanization is not mimicked, diluted, postponed or, in general, abandoned. The pro-Russian forces can insist, but there is no other more successful development model in the region for a country interested in democracy than the instruments that represent the European integration.



Dionis Cenuşa


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.

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.