Institute for Development andMoldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 10, September 2010ARE THE MOLDOVANS WHOHOLD ROMANIAN PASSPORTS ADEVASTATING THREAT FOR EU?Leonid Litra Next topicsMoldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch represents a series of briefanalyses, written by local and foreign experts, dedicated to the to be covered:most topical subjects related to the foreign policy of Moldova,major developments in the Black Sea Region, cooperation with Foreign Assistance andinternational organizations and peace building activities in the region. Moldova`s developmentIt aims to create a common platform for discussion and to bringtogether experts, commentators, officials and diplomats who are opportunitiesconcerned with the perspectives of European Integration of Moldova. in Moldo-GermanIt is also pertaining to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts a relationshipvaluable tribune for debating the most interesting and controversialpoints of view that could help Moldova to find its path to EU. M oldova’s relations with the EU have advanced significantly over the past years. At the same time, in the European public space there are appearing many controversial discussions, some of them denigrating Republic of Moldova. These insinuations are mainly related to the acquisition of the Romanian citizenship and migration of Moldovans to EU. Even if Romania is not a special case in dealing with citizenship issues, the media attacks towards Romania and Moldova increased in the last months, being mostly observed in the European press. Their aim might be to slow down the rapprochement of Moldova to EU that seems to be a campaign orchestrated by some states, other than the EU states.
2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchThe media wave In July 2010, the German newspaper “Der Spiegel” published an article1 arguingthat Romania is pushing Moldovans in the EU through the back door. Ink was not dry yetand there have been published other articles – two in the British press, one in Italian press,one in French press and some others – that dealt with the same issues: offering Romaniancitizenship to Moldovans. Each of these newspapers have made statements that appearedto be exaggerated, at least for a part of Moldovan society and the media “bombardment”has made many officials, Romanian, first, to make statements and to search through lawsregulating citizenship acquisition for justifying their actions.Comparative approach In the context of Romanias accession to the European Union and the grantingof benefits resulting from membership, more and more Moldovans have applied forRomanian citizenship. Until this moment, according to Romanian authorities, the numberof applications reached 900,000, of which about 120,000 were offered. Basis for claimingcitizenship is Art. 10 from the Law on Romanian Citizenship that specifies that Romaniancitizens who until December 22, 1989 have lost their citizenship for reasons not attributableto them, and their descendants, have the right to ask for reacquisition of citizenship. If thecase of Moldova, it is related to the annexation of Bessarabia by the Soviet Union, whichfalls under this law. Authors’ arguments from the newspapers were that Romania is pushing Moldovans inEU through the back door, that Romania does not comply with EU legislation on the grantingof citizenship and that Moldovans will invade Europe and as a result crime will increase inthe Member States. Even if some of the arguments could be discussed, it is important to notethat Romania is not a special case in the European context. Other states are sinning withsimilar practices. But lets take them one by one. As the Law on Romanian Citizenship offers the possibility for citizenship reacquisition,the same possibilities are offered by the German constitution in the Art. 116 which stipulatesthat “former German citizens that in the period of January 30, 1933 to May 8, 1945 who losttheir citizenship due to political, ethnic or religious reasons, as well as their descendantscan reacquire, on demand, German citizenship”.2 In addition to this, a comparative researchpublished this year by European University Institute shows that at least 9 EU states arehaving over-inclusive policies for granting citizenships, including Germany, France, Spain,Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Luxemburg and Lithuania.3 This proves that Romania is not a specialcase and does not require a different approach. Moreover, the figures in the newspapers seemto be impressive, however, by comparison, the data related to Romania is lost somewhere atthe end of the list of those who offer the European citizenship. The 2009 Eurostat Yearbook4provides the data on 2006 (latest EU data available on citizenship reacquisition) that showsthat the EU-27 offered almost 700,000 citizenships. Out of the total number, Germany,1 Bidder, Benjamin: July 2010, Romanian Passports For Moldovans Entering the EU Through the Back Door, http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,706338,00.html2 MAE roman: Romania nu face exceptie de la normele europene, http://www.interlic.md/2010-07-16/mae-roman-romania-nu-face-exceptie-de-la-normele-europene-16794.html3 Dumbrava, Costica: 2010, How illiberal are citizenship rules in European Union countries; European University Institute, RobertSchuman Centre for Advanced Studies.4 Europe in figures: Eurostat Yearbook 2009, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/publications/eurostat_yearbookstr. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org
Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch 3France and UK offered 426,449, while the remaining 24 states offered 273,500 citizenships,out of which 203,715 were offered by Italy, Spain, Netherland, Austria and Sweden. Thus,despite the fact that in the new EU members since then some trends slightly changed, theirindicators are much lower than the indicators from old EU member states. As related to the chapter of European legislation that concerns citizenship, it is pointlessto dwell too much, because the European institutions are itself saying that «Citizenship»means the particular legal bond between an individual and his or her State, acquired bybirth or naturalisation, whether by declaration, choice, marriage or other means accordingto national legislation.5 Besides this provision, the European Convention on Nationality of1997, to which Romania is a party, provide the governing principles of this process, which iscurrently undergoing with no violations. The same convention enshrines the right for thosewho were denied citizenship to regain it through justice,6 a right to which people will appealin the case they will be unreasonably refused.Several articles – one author? Several signs illustrates that this series of articles would represent an orchestratedcampaign by someone, and there are couple of arguments showing this. The terms that areused in that publications are the same, all of them referring to the back door, all of them attackingRomania in the same way and on the same subjects. The political elite from Moldova alreadyprotested, and the ambassador of Moldova to Romania stated7 that those who are willing tokeep away Moldova from the EU and to maintain the former conflict relationship betweenthe Chisinau and Bucharest make these declarations. Most probably the ambassador Renitais right. The journalists’ offensive targets slowing down the rapprochement of Moldova andEU, implicitly Moldova and Romania. There is evidence that this message would comefrom Russia, and as a basis for such assumption is the information that during the visit inMoldova of the author of Der Spiegel, Benjamin Bidder, he acknowledged in a discussionwith a director of an NGO from Moldova that in Russia there is a great concern regarding thepossibility of unification of Moldova and Romania, and as a consequence he was writing inhis article that the head of Moldova is a “unionist” (reffering to M. Ghimpu). Another argument is that of the Italian journalist Gianni Boninsegna who states in anarticle8 of response to that published in “Il Giornale”9 that the author who wrote that articledoes not even know where Moldova is located and is not acquainted with the reality from thiscountry, saying that according to the data of Ministry of Interior of Italy and National ItalianInstitute of Statistics regarding the violations of law committed by foreigners living in Italy,the Moldovan migrants are the last in that list. Finally, the British apocalyptic predictionshave never happened, their articles are rather showing the disadvantage of their presencein EU and its allergy towards it. At least, the fact that calms Moldovan authorities is that the5 European Commission, Eurostat, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/migr_acqn_esms.htm6 European Convention on Nationality: 6/11/1997, http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/166.htm7 Reniţă: Subiectul “uşa din spate” este o chestiune inventată de cei care doresc să menţină starea conflictuală de altădată dintreChişinău şi Bucureşti, http://unimedia.md/?mod=news&id=218548 Jurnalistul italian Gianni Boninsegna: Situația descrisă în ziarul italian ”Il Giornale” este un borş moldovenesc condimentat cuprejudecăţi, http://unimedia.md/?mod=news&id=216319 Razboiul mediatic impotriva Romaniei ia amploare. Daily Telegraph si Il Giornale continua blitz-ul inceput de Der Spiegel, http://voceabasarabiei.net/index.php/stiri/social/9722-razboiul-mediatic-impotriva-romaniei-ia-amploare-daily-telegraph-si-il-giornale-continua-blitz-ul-inceput-de-der-spiegel str. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org
4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchstates from which the articles are originating think different, and moreover, they support atthe practical level the European integration demarche of Moldova.Moldova - target of a conspiracy? No, it is not about a conspiracy, it is about some messages which, accidently or not,look like the Russia’s desire to control the behaviour of Moldovan authorities. The evolutionsthat are taking place in the relationship between Moldova and Russia are showing a clearattack of Kremlin against Chisinau authorities. Even prestigious analytical agencies likeStratfor are indicating that Moldova will be Russia’s next target.10 Events such as the blockingexports of wine and agricultural products to Russia, the Russian MFA declarations related toTransnistria that are at least biased and the Kremlin reactions to recent decisions of Moldovanauthorities are indicating a behaviour in an electoral context. It is estimated that the earlyparliamentary elections will be held in November and the Alliance for European Integrationis considered mostly as a coalition hostile to Russia that does not meet the expectations ofKremlin’s leaders due to their pro-European and partially euro-Atlantic visions that do notconverge with the Russian plans in the region.Conclusions The slanderous media wave towards Moldova and partially towards Romania shouldbe perceived as ordinary actions of some external political forces that were deployedin an electoral context. The main aim of this campaign is to slow down the Moldova-EUrapprochement, especially in the context of the visa liberalisation dialogue and the coordinationof cabinet’s actions with EU institutions. In the last long, the Moldovan authorities should avoid confrontations with Russia,especially during elections, and taking into account the fact that these clashes are neithereasy nor clear. Also, the journalists from these newspapers didn’t study thoroughly the subject ofRomanian citizenship that is a expression of their professional attitudes to produce sensations.The promotion of Moldova remains an imperative to be achieved through Embassies in EUbut also through campaigns that demonstrate that migrants originating in Moldova do notrepresent a matter of concern.10 Moldova ar putea deveni următoarea țintă a Rusiei: 10/08/2010, Jurnal, http://jurnal.md/ro/news/moldova-ar-putea-deveni-urma-toarea-tinta-a-rusiei-191034/This publication was produced by idis “viitorul” with the financial support of soros FoundationMoldova and the national endowment for democracy. The opinions expressed in this publicati-on reflect the author’s/authors’ position and don’t necessary represent the views of the donors.str. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.orgstr. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org