Will Moldova meet the expectations?

Natalia Stercul, Foreign Policy Association of the Republic of Moldova (Moldova, Chisinau)

Subscribe for Newsletter

Download PDF

The Moldovan domestic environment is getting more tense, while the political manipulation is becoming a determining factor in fighting for the power. The only way for the country to get out of the crisis is with the EU’s macro-financial assistance, which in its own way is yet another vote of confidence expressed by the European partners in order to support the modernization of the country. It remains to wait and see if Moldova will to meet those expectations, especially taking into consideration the President declaring the nature of the European integration as delusional in the aftermath of the Eastern Partnership summit.

Domestic Policy. Manipulations, political games and coalition alliances

Some heated discussions followed the 19, November referendum on dismissing the Chisinau mayor (primar) Dorin Chirtoaca, initiated by the Socialist party. While the socialists called for supporting the referendum, the pro-European parties called for boycotting it. The political background of the referendum was getting more and more obvious, and this is exactly what led to its failure. Only 17.54% of population took part in it, with a minimal political turnout of 33.3%. As a result the Central Electoral Commission declared it as void. The citizens are tired of the manipulations, political games of the local authorities, and avoid expressing their political preferences openly, which is quite a worrying signal.

The coalition alliances are being created inside the Moldova’s party system before the 2018 Parliamentary elections. The Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) and the political party Dignity and Truth Platform (PPDA) declared creating of a European anti-oligarch forces platform aimed to join the efforts of those taking integrity and meritocracy for their main criteria. According to the PAS Head Maia Sandu, this will allow to get rid of the binomial Plahotniuc—Dodon.

Economy. The EU’s macro-financial assistance as vote of confidence

The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström visited Chisinau on 67, November to take stock of the progress made in the EUMoldova relations and the challenges of the EU-Moldova trade relations. According to its results, not all advantages of the Association Agreement and a free trade zone were entirely examined, with an acute necessity to provide the sectoral thematic explanations for some of the national economy fields and the real examples of the entire range of the EU’s trade area opportunities for Moldova. It is important to the EU to be able to rely on the agreements reached and invest into the country without any concerns that such commitments may not be fulfilled. There is an acute feeling that former trust to the Moldovan authorities is lost.

It is important to the EU to be able to rely on the agreements reached and invest into the country without any concerns that such commitments may not be fulfilled

Keeping in mind the positive results of implementing the priority reforms reported by the International Monetary Fund, the EU decided to provide the macro-financial assistance worth 100 million euros to Moldova, with 40 million euros provided as a grant and 60 million euros representing a loan. This financing will help to develop the banking system, improve the business climate, help in fighting corruption, money laundering and embezzlement. However, this support will be provided under the certain conditions, which have to do with the implementation of the guiding principles and the recommendations given by the Venice Commission. The vote of confidence expressed by the European partners should be supported by concrete practical steps and results of the Moldovan side.

Foreign Policy. President and prime minister polar positions
The most standing out development of November, 2017 was, most probably, the Eastern Partnership summit, raising the issues of the European reforming agenda promoting and the renewal of the “5+2” negotiations on the Transnistria conflict settlement. On the sidelines of the summit the Prime Minister of Moldova called on the European officials  to keep the political commitment and continue their participation in the relations with the Eastern neighbors. The President’s reaction was yet again dramatically polar. In his declaration  he highlighted the illusory character of the European integration and the futility of the Moldovan chances to enter the EU in the nearest decades. His rhetorics yet again included contrasting the pro-European course of the country’s development and its strategic partnership with Russia, however, it is difficult to understand viewing the Eastern Partnership from an anti-Russian point. 

After a lengthy pause on 27-28, November another round of “5+2” negotiations on the Transnistrian conflict settlement took place in Vienna. Special attention was paid to the agreements reached by Chisinau and Tiraspol, and the considerable progress made in the negotiating process. Launching a bridge near the villages Gura Bîcului and Bicioc  is an important step in the Transnistrian conflict settlement, which will provide some positive changes for the local population and will have a good effect on the entire OSCE zone. However, there is a different opinion that the documents signed in Vienna will further complicate and delay the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict. The decision of the troops withdrawing  cannot be taken in haste.