It`s worth to remind that Republic of Moldova initialed the Association Agreement with EU during the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on 27th of November, 2013. Meanwhile even the very last surveys recently published in the media show that there is no consensus in the Moldavian society about the dimension the country should go in. According to the survey done by the Slovak Atlantic Commission in the partnership with the Center of Independent Journalism (Moldova) in the framework of the project “Enlargement of the European dialogue in Moldova” 44% of respondents are sympathisants of the EU and 40% of participants of the survey think that it`s better if Moldova goes with the Customs Union – the organization set up by Russia where Belarus and Kazakhstan already joined.
The topicality of the conference is indisputable also because of the fact that it was held right after three days passed from the referendum held in the autonomous Moldovan region of Gagauzia. People had to choose whether they want Moldova to become a member of EU or the Customs Union. Within the turnout more than 70 percent in a separate question 97.2 percent were against closer EU integration.
The panel of speakers on the conference was quite impressive: EU diplomats, Moldavian politicians, journalists, political analysts and economists, the philosopher and writer from Romania Vasile Ernu, the head of the Association “Suppliers of the Customs Union” Oleg Noghinskii.
James Whilson, director of the EU-Ukraine Business Council and one of the co organizers of the event told that the Agreement signed in Vilnius is much more an economical issue and not a political one. “The agreement will help Moldova to overcome unemployment by attracting more international investors. Unfortunately corruption remains a huge problem for Moldova so there is a lot of changes needed for improving and supporting the rule of law” – he said.
The Moldavian political analyst Bogdan Tirdea wasn’t` the same optimistic. He expressed his regrets in regard to changes of the primary aims of the EaP : “What is the sense of inviting the country to become your partner without offering a chance to become a member? ” – asked him the EU representatives. He made a conclusion that EaP isn`t a partnership structure but only a geopolitical one. Accusing the European diplomats in a professional failure when demanding the CES countries to make a categorical choose between Customs Union and European Union which led to the collapse situation in Ukraine he also remembered about the three Moldavian TV channels excluded from the broadcasting right after the month has passed from the Vilnius Summit – the unique case in the 20 years of Moldavian independency.
As a response to this critique the next speaker, head of the Political and Economical department of the EU delegation to Moldova Wicher Slagter proposed not to talk in the framework of the failures and success in the geopolitical view point. He proposed to discuss about the concrete benefits of the agreement instead of going into the deep into DCFTA and EaP. Mr Slagter underlined that the benefits can be achieved only if they be implemented and nor remain only at the paper. Among the benefits mentioned there were such points as increasing the job places within the economical access to the European markets. “Fears, that DCFTA will ruin previous economical ties of Moldova are unbiased. Of course, the competition will be higher but because of this the Moldavian economy will become stronger. I`m sure, that our investors will prepare Moldova for European market”. At the same time he prevented about the economical consequences Moldova can experience if go with Customs Union. “Economical ties of Belarus and Kazakhstan ”with the rest of the world has decreased considerably while DCFTA proposes you to become part of the economical globalization” – said the of the Political and Economical department of the EU delegation to Moldova.
Among the tens of emotional and argumentative speeches there were even some very personal statements. “To be sincere till the last I was the supporter of the idea of European integration for Moldova but now I`m forced to say that I`m disappointed with the policy EU helds in Moldova so I guess that Customs Union could be more beneficial for our country” – political scientist Ernest Vardanyan said. He explained that EU doesn`t react to the violations of democratic values in Moldova such as closing of the private TV channels for example is. “European values aren`t the same anymore. Europe forces Moldovans to live under the pressure of the oligarchy governors only because they`re afraid that the Communists will come again to the power” – expressed his regrets Mr Vardanyan.
Unfortunately this statement wasn’t the one which hurt feelings of those who believe in the European future for Moldova. As the moderator of the conference the executive director of the Helsinki Civic Assembly of Moldova Alexei Tulbure mentioned there were several representatives of the governing pro-European coalition but no one came to defend their view point and debate in front of the cameras. Instead of this the floor has been occupied by the representatives of the only party who came to the event – the Communists who are in opposition.
As people say it`s “laugh and cry”: while MP from the Communist Party Mark Tkaciuk and Iurie Muntean have been having their speeches about the Customs and European Union in the hotel "Leogrand", the Prime Minister of Moldova Iurie Leanca have been presenting the new program of the Government in the neighboring hall in the same hotel. So why do we wonder about the results of the surveys on the external dimension of the Republic of Moldova when even the politicians enter the same door but different rooms?! More conferences and debates on this topic needed (smile).