The 2019 European Parliament elections will not only test the European Union’s capacity to ensure progress in the ongoing policies, but will also measure the participation of the European citizens in elections. The elections are an instrument showing how the people understand the developments in Brussels, how much the EU’s decisions influence their daily life and to what extent they can influence the EU’s decisions, Mihai Mogîldea, expert of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, stated in the public debate “2019 European Parliament elections: impact for Moldova” that is the 110th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates” staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova. The expert gave the example of Slovakia where the voter turnout at the last elections was of only 13% and such a tendency was also kept by other countries that joined the EU after the 1990s.
Mihai Mogîldea said that in general, the 2019 European Parliament elections definitely have a bigger potential compared with those of 2014. “The figures of national polls show the populism in Europe regrettably continues to grow. There were also examples of elections in such counties as Italy, which showed the populist wing has relevant voters. It is not important by percentage, does not have a majority, but these options are not only of parties, but also of the voters who oppose particular policies of the EU, European values, actions of the European institutions and their interaction with ordinary people. There is a particular rupture at this level of relations between the European leaders, European institutions and people from EU member states. And this thing has been criticized by for over 20 years inside the European Union as the citizens do not have direct mechanisms by which to influence the decision-making process in the EU,” noted the expert.
According to him, particular changes were made, especially after 2009, by introducing the citizens’ initiative by extending the powers of the European Parliament. It is important to note that the EP is practically the institution that should ensure indirect communication between citizens and the European Commission, which proposes policy initiatives inside the EU. The powers of the EP were modified in time so as to transform this into a supranational institution. The EP represents the interests not of the member states, but of the EU and is a supranational body that is somehow different from the European Council. It provides an interesting example as to how families of European parties manage to communicate and ensure a functional, stable institution.
“So, we can see there groups with different ideological views – Socialists, members of the European People’s Party, Liberals and sometimes Reformists - that manage to communicate on cases of major importance. I think in the next Parliament, we will witness the situation when the EPP members, the Socialists and the Lib-Dems will also ensure this functional majority on subjects of major importance for the EU,” stated Mihai Mogîldea.
As to the solutions that could improve the relations between Moldova and the EU, the expert said these reside in Moldova’s capacity to deliver better results and the country has the instruments needed for the propose, but their implementation depends on political will. “It is so because the way in which the EU will look at Moldova’s European future depends directly on the capacity of the Government, the economy and society to deliver better results in the cooperation with the EU, reformation of institutions in Moldova, struggle against corruption.”
As regards Brussels’s view on the region that includes Moldova, Mihai Mogîldea said there are a number of stages that need to be covered in the European integration process. “We are at the stage of implementing the Association Agreement. At this stage we cannot even discuss the submission of an application for membership, not speaking about its acceptance by the EU. It is unrealistic to discuss this thing,” he stated, noting Moldova should undertake the integration example of the Western Balkans as this model is the most recent one, adjusted to the European and international problems that exist at present and this would be a solution at the moment.
The debate “2019 European Parliament elections: impact for Moldova”, which is the 110th installment, forms part of the series of public debates held by IPN News Agency Radio Moldova in the framework of the project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.