on the organization of the debate ”EU’s calculations in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – navigating between political crisis, reforms and influence of Russia”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 12 March 2021, Debate No.177 brought together: political analyst Ion Tăbârță, international relations expert, Natalia Stercul, programs coordinator at the Foreign Policy Association and Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany.
The state of affairs in Moldova at present is very complicated and should be also analyzed from the angle of the complex context of the international relations, relations with the strategic partners and in contrast to the state of affairs in a series of states with a status similar to that of the Republic of Moldova. The quality of the Moldova-EU relations based on comparative studies was discussed in IPN’s public debate “EU’s calculations in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – navigating between political crisis, reforms and influence of Russia”.
Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences of Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany, said the European Union signed Association Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. These are extremely important documents that ensure economic integration into the EU and political association with the EU. “If these agreements are implemented, the three countries can struggle for a clear European perspective. These three countries, compared with other countries, have the closest relations with the European Union as the EU didn’t sign Association Agreements with any of the countries that are not in its neighborhood. That’s why Moldova also enjoys geographical proximity and geopolitical proximity to the European Union,” stated the expert.
According to him, from juridical or legal viewpoint, the European Union frequently uses the “partner” status, the associate countries being described as partners of the EU, while the EU appears as the partner of Kiev, Tbilisi and Chisinau. Where there are more objections related to the quality of reforms, Brussels is more rigid and uses only the diplomatic and legal terminology. When the quality of reforms is higher, it uses also such qualifiers as “friend”.
Dionis Cenușa noted the role of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, who recently paid visits to Chisinau, Tbilisi and Kiev, is important as he represents the EU’s institution that brings together the heads of the member states. His role in the European affairs is important because he, together with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, is responsible for the representation of the EU in foreign affairs and for the achievement of the EU’s objectives. That’s why the official came to the three capitals as the high representative of the EU who promotes the EU’s political and geopolitical agenda in the region.
Natalia Stercul, programs coordinator at the Foreign Policy Association, said the visit paid by the President of the European Council Charles Michel to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova was an important signal as regards the readiness to make progress in the political association, economic integration and close rapprochement between the three Eastern Partnership countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia). “At the same time, it should be noted that the EU has a differentiated approach to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova compared with the other three countries of the Eastern Partnership, where the EU’s agenda is not very successful. If it manages to consolidate the idea of this “trio”, especially as regards the implementation of reforms, the European integration could become more attractive also to Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan,” stated the expert.
“The EU’s attitude to the three countries was also evident through the statements made by the European official and the order in which he visited the countries. In Moldova, the most important is the emphasis placed on the necessity of ensuring the rule of law and the fact that the European Union supports the democratic reforms and will help and will cooperate with the Republic of Moldova if all its actions are based on the rule of law and the observance of the law. At the same time, the support for incumbent President Maia Sandu could be seen in the EU’s approval of her efforts in the fight against corruption, implementation of the reforms about which she speaks. There was no emphasis as regards the Transnistrian region. The greatest stress was laid on the existence of the political crisis generated by the contradictions between the President and Parliament and the wish to reach constructive decisions for triggering snap parliamentary elections.”
Political analyst Ion Tăbârță, international relations expert, noted the common emphases placed by the European officials on the three countries refer to reforms and the fight against corruption. In Ukraine, the message given to the Ukrainian state by Charles Michel is that the EU is ready to financially support the Ukrainian state. “Without speaking about geopolitics, it should be clear that Georgia and Moldova are small states with multiple problems. Ukraine is a complex state that is maneuvered with difficulty. That’s why it needs greater assistance from Brussels in that progress for change,” he stated.
“In Ukraine, the interests of the oligarchic clans are great and the European official’s emphasis was aimed at this, which is the interests of those clans that dominate should be narrowed. The Ukrainian state’s interests should prevail in the actions of the political players. Emphasis was also placed on the fight against corruption, strengthening of state institutions and, from this viewpoint, the European official came with the message that the EU is ready to support the intricate mechanism of the construct of the Ukrainian state at the moment so that this is helped by the EU, including by consistent financial support.”
The Agency published 4 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 12.03.21, „EU’s calculations in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova –between political crisis, reforms and influence of Russia. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/eus-calculations-in-ukraine-georgia-and-moldova-between-political-8004_1080284.html; „Dionis Cenușa: Greater transparency in implementation of EU projects in Moldova is needed” - https://www.ipn.md/en/dionis-cenusa-greater-transparency-in-implementation-of-eu-projects-in-8004_1080285.html; „Ion Tăbârță: In Moldova, there is a black and white dispute between political forces” - https://www.ipn.md/en/ion-tabarta-in-moldova-there-is-a-black-and-white-8004_1080288.html; „Natalia Stercul: Authorities should assume responsibility for implementation of reforms” - https://www.ipn.md/en/natalia-stercul-authorities-should-assume-responsibility-for-implementation-of-reforms-8004_1080289.html.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN