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Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch                                                                                       ...
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Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch                                                                                       ...
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Policy statewatch23 en

  1. 1. Institute for Development andMOLDOVA’S FOREIGN POLICY STATEWATCH Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 23, MAY 2011LEONID LITRAHOW TO AVOID THEEU FATIGUE TOWARDSMOLDOVA? 1 NEXT TOPIC TO BE COVERED:T The stagnation wo years ago any political discussion in Mol- of economic dova or between the Moldova’s Western part- transformation in ners could be summarized to one question: Moldova Moldova quo vadis? Moldova was really at the crossroads. But nowadays it is perceived as the main success story within the Eastern Moldova’s Foreign Policy Sta- tewatch represents a series of Partnership. Indeed, Moldova has had remar- brief analyses, written by localkable achievements in the foreign policy since the AIE and foreign experts, dedicated(Alliance for European Integration) came to power. Ho- to the most topical subjects related to the foreign policy ofwever, Moldova is not yet a success story but has the Moldova, major developmentspotential to become one. The greatest challenge facing in the Black Sea Region, coope-Chisinau in terms of its leader status within the Eastern ration with international orga-Partnership and of the EU trust is to meet the EU ex- nizations and peace building activities in the region. It aimspectations by concrete reforms. What the Republic of to create a common platformMoldova has to offer so far look more like beginnings for discussion and to bring to-of reforms than durable and consolidated reforms. But gether experts, commentators,when the gap between the foreign policy successes officials and diplomats who are concerned with the perspecti-and the modest progresses in the internal changes be- ves of European Integration ofcomes too large, Moldova’s image as a success story Moldova. It is also pertainingcan burst like a soap bubble. This risk is not inevitable to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts a valuable tribunebut it still exists. Both Ukraine and Georgia have pas- for debating the most interes-sed through this experience of bubble bursts. ting and controversial points of view that could help Moldova to1 This policy brief is based on an article that was published by Leonid Litra in the Early Warning Report of find its path to EU.IDIS Viitorul.
  2. 2. 2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy StatewatchIn this context, the Republic of Moldova has to make considerable ef-forts in order to avoid a possible EU disappointment that could lead tofatigue. Ukraine and Georgia, as a result of revolutions, have passedthrough this cycle of “success story”, failure and disappointment. Whatis important for Moldova is to avoid the Ukrainian scenario that couldbecome possible because of two factors: constant political chaos andlack of reforms. If Moldova does not manage to boost and acceleratethe reforms process by offering some concrete results there is a sig-nificant likelihood that in 2012 Moldova will encounter the EU fatiguewhich, in turn, will cause a disinterest and will place Chisinau next to theformer success stories: Georgia and Ukraine.Regional context The greatest challenge Chisinau1 is facing in terms of its leader status within the EasternPartnership and of the EU trust is to meet the EU expectations by concrete reforms and I refer here tothe justice reform, law-enforcement bodies and the institutional capacity. The launching of the EasternPartnership has offered a new dynamic to the region in the EU Eastern neighborhood. In the frameworkof this regional initiative, the Republic of Moldova has managed to successfully integrate, despite anot very friendly start expressed by the former president V. Voronin who concluded that the EasternPartnership is the second CIS aiming at encircling Russia. 2 After the AIE came to power, the EU – theRepublic of Moldova relationship normalized and exceeded the traditional framework. Moldova, after ithad started approaching the EU, began being spoken about in other terms. If before the conferences andresearch headlines regarding Moldova were “Quo Vadis Moldova?” or “Moldova at the crossroads”, etc,now they have a positive tone and are rendered in a way proving the beginning of a success: “Moldova’sBreakthrough” or “Moldova – major European success in the EP?” 3. There are other processes taking place in the EU. On the background of an economic and financialcrisis, the EU wants fewer commitments to the “third world” countries. At the same time, the 2004 and2007 enlargements made the EU more cautious and added to the existing problems, in the context of thediscrepancy between the “old Europe” and the “new Europe”. All these make Europe slower and moreclosed and as a proof we can bring the statements of some important European leaders concerning themulticulturalism failure4 but mainly it refers to the migration from the southern neighborhood, howeverit includes the Eastern part as well. The term “enlargement fatigue” is as old as the EU itself dating atabout the 1960’s when France used its veto to block Great Britain’s access to the European Community5.The term was used during history, being massively mentioned after the 2004 and 2007 enlargements6.Recently the same term is adjusted in order to refer to the neighboring countries that are not officially inthe process of joining the EU but are in some sectors integrating in the EU.12 Voronin: Eastern Partnership is encircling Russia like a ring, 27/02/2009,, An example may be the study of Parmentier, Florent: Moldova, a Major European success for the Eastern Partnership? European Issue No186, 22/11/2010, Robert Schumann Foundation, The last half a year, several leaders declared that multiculturalism is a failure because it did not manage to successfully integrate the im-migrants. Among them we can find: Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, John Howard and Hose Maria Aznar. See Nicolas Sarkozydeclares multiculturalism had failed, The Telegraph, 11/02/2011, Beyond Enlargement Fatigue?, European Stability Initiative Series, Forgue, David G.; Kehoskie, Nicole Schude: Enlargement Fatigue in the European Union, American Bar Association, Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax
  3. 3. Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch 3 In the above-mentioned conditions it is hard to impress the EU in order to offer more than it isprescribed in the most optimistic documents regarding the Republic of Moldova as well. Nevertheless, theRepublic of Moldova has managed to generate great expectations in the EU and also a leader sentimentamong the Eastern Partnership countries. These expectations and successes were created when theAlliance for the European Integration came to power thanks to the change in the situation, especially, inthe area of human rights and mass media freedom and also owing to regional dynamic of the EP whichproves an obvious worsening of democratic standards. In the above-described context, the greatest challenge facing Chisinau in terms of its leaderstatus within the Eastern Partnership and of the EU trust is to meet the EU expectations by concretereforms. What the Republic of Moldova has to offer so far look more like beginnings of reforms thanreforms where it might state with certitude that it is in agreement with the EU requirements. In this context,the Republic of Moldova has to make considerable efforts in order to avoid a likely EU disappointmentwhich could lead to fatigue.Ukraine 2005-2010: from successstory to failure In the case of the Republic of Moldova the most relevant pattern to mold a scenario is certainlyUkraine. In spite of different geographical parameters and a more conspicuous polarization, Ukraine wasthe indisputable leader of the European Neighborhood Policy after the 2004 Revolution. The politicalforces that had come to power in Ukraine in 2004 constantly fluctuated politically without being ableto offer tangible results except for those related to press freedom and human rights. Those 5 years ofdemocratic governance in Ukraine were 5 years of political struggles of a maximum intensity as well. Thecontent of the political struggle was expressed by a blocked Parliament, relationships between forceswithin the Alliance where the commitments were not complied with, by a justice reform that was officiallysupported by the Alliance but was not actually being implemented in practice. Moreover, the conflictbecame so exacerbated that it embraced the institutions as well – the government bills were not acceptedby the Parliament. Finally, the EU – Ukraine relationships spoiled and a fatigue towards Ukraine tookshape in the EU and meanwhile, the fatigue towards the EU appeared in Ukraine on the background ofa pronounced Euro-skepticism7. At the base of all problems that emerged in the Ukrainian political life was, first of all, a lack ofconsensus among the Alliance forces, and also, in a broader meaning, a lack of consensus within societyregarding the reforms that had to be carried out, especially those related to the foreign policy. Just like inthe case of Moldova, the disagreements focused on the most fundamental issues such as constitutionalreform, which implied reducing the presidential powers whose Commission was severely criticized forbeing biased. At the same time, the struggle between the components of the Alliance that transferredto a struggle between institutions was very obvious. The best example would be the “decrees war” inwhich the second government of Iulia Timoshenko (2007-2009) received 881 directives, instructionsand requirements from the Presidency and its secretariat during the first 100 days in office, while thegovernment of Victor Yanukovych received 231 during the same period8. Undoubtedly, there was an enormous geopolitical stake, much bigger than that in the Republicof Moldova. The geopolitical stake did not consist only in keeping Ukraine within the Russia’s zone ofinfluence but also in neutralizing the risk of an orange revolution that could have been fomented in Russiafollowing the Ukrainian model. As for the Republic of Moldova, the geopolitical stake is perceived on thebackground of the fact that Chisinau is at the moment the only beginning of the EU success story in theeastern neighborhood.7 Popescu, Nicu: (2009), “Ukraine fatigue” vs “EU fatigue”, Euobserver Blogs, 3/12/2009, For a full description of power struggles in Ukraine see Gromadzki, Grzegorz; Movchan, Veronika et al., Beyond Colours: Assests and Li-abilities of “Post-Orange” Ukraine, International Renaissance Foundation, Kyiv 2010, Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw 2010. Str. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax
  4. 4. 4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy StatewatchMoldova’s “Ukrainization” dangerand international conjuncture   In the Republic of Moldova is observed, a smaller size “Ukrainization” of politics. The context inwhich this term is used derives mainly from the political crisis triggered by the non-election of the head ofthe state but also from the numerous elections taking place. Since the 5th of April 2009 till present there havebeen 4 elections and the 5th is going to take place at the beginning of the summer of 2011, thus, during 2years Moldova had 5 elections and could also have a referendum and anticipated elections. Despite a ratherfunctional government, in the context of electoral campaigns and political struggles, some adopted decisionshave a populist character and the ministries officials prefer to be less loyal because of the likelihood of powerchange, as an example we can bring the resistance in reforming the Ministry of Interior and the judiciary. Like in the case of Ukraine, the biggest problem in the Republic of Moldova seems to be the lackof a consensus concerning the developing pattern that has to be adopted. In a larger context, there is astruggle between the Alliance and the Communist party, the internal conflict within the Alliance and thesociety polarization in terms of the geopolitical vector of Moldova, while the biggest risk are the interminableelections and, even if they are considered being democratic, they will not bring palpable changes in realterms for the population. Besides these aspects is observed a struggle between the state institutions as wellwhich sometimes have divided opinions about crucial issues; these aspects being replicated from the partylevel to the level of the institutions led by the heads of these parties. At the international level the situation is not better either. The protests wave hitting Egypt, Tunis,Oman, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Libya, Bahrain, Nepal and Iran shifts the EU attention towards these regions.Moreover, the EU sees in this wave of protests an opportunity to be seized in order to take some action inthese countries. The European Parliament already examined the review of the European NeighborhoodPolicy southern dimension9 and the crucial fact is that some important countries, including France and Spain,are already pleading for reducing the funds granted to the former Soviet countries and their redirection tothe countries in the North Africa10. It is worthwhile mentioning that in this letter the Republic of Moldovawas explicitly given as an example by stating that in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy(2007-2013) Chisinau receives 25 EUR per capita while Egypt 1,8 EUR per capita which represents adisproportionate and asymmetric policy that nowadays is “difficult to justify and sustain.”PR vs. Results The above-mentioned internal and external nuances create the necessary conditions for a possibleEU fatigue towards the Republic of Moldova that will appear next year if Chisinau will not be able to offerconcrete results in order to meet The EU expectations. The EU has very big expectations towards Moldovaespecially on the background of the democracy decline in other Eastern Partnership countries and of theascension in the south of the EU and in the Middle East11. The need for a leader state within the EasternPartnership is not needed only in order to create a competition between the countries in the EU easternneighborhood but also because of the justification of the European initiatives success in this direction. The avoidance of the EU fatigue is closely connected to Moldova’s capacity to offer palpable results in thedomain of key reforms something more than just assurance that everything is going to be all right. For instance, theMinistry of Interior reform is an issue that not only the EU is tired of but the Moldovan society as well. Although thereis an understanding of the fact that carrying out reforms is not that easy and there are variables to be considered,however, states like Georgia, and we do not refer now to the consolidation of authoritarianism, managed to reformthe Ministry of Interior in a relatively short time with results appreciated by the EU partners. The same thing refers to9 European Parliament resolution on the review of the European Neighborhood Policy – Southern Dimension, Rettman, Andrew; France and Spain call to shift EU funds from east to south, 21/02/2011, Popescu, Nicu (2011): Of Eastern and Southern neighbors, EUobserver, 14/02/2011, Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax
  5. 5. Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch 5the antidiscrimination law that strolls through different institutions but is not passed, fearing that this would decreasethe popularity of that who would promote it. It is necessary to emphasize that this is one of the conditions for the visaregime liberalization, that is why a consensus among the stakeholders has to be reached. These aspects refer to the internal capacity of Moldova to successfully manage the process ofadjustment to the EU standards. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer be able to “sell” successes if theydo not really occur. Moreover, the part related to the foreign affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EuropeanIntegration has reached, roughly speaking, its maximal working capacity and this has to be appreciated. Butas for the European integration part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, it had poorerresults. The interaction between these two dimensions is going on in a disproportioned manner, taking intoaccount the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs marketing is a good one and makes the European partnersready to buy Moldova’s “product” but, because of much more poorer results in terms of internal changes, theproduct that has already been successfully promoted is not ready to be sold. In this context, the initiative ofsome experts to establish a Minister or an Agency for European Integration might be a good opportunity toarrange the matters the way to have a higher efficiency in coordinating the European Integration process.ConclusionsWhat we need now are examples of leader institutions that would maintain the EU interest in Moldovaalive. There are several institutions that have “started” like the National Center for Protection of PersonalData that could be served to lure the EU. Meanwhile, these institutions are capable of offering only somemore months of the EU attention and fascination. Currently, the European route of Moldova has to bestrengthened by the revival of some other institutions whose lack was felt during all these years. Anexample could be the Agency for Competition Protection that might improve the competition climate orthe Court of Accounts whose investigations have to be treated much more seriously than till now or theterms for preventive detention. These examples are connected with a very problematic phenomenon forMoldova – corruption and, in a more precise sense, with the visa liberalization process. The intensity ofoffering new results must comprise periods of 3-4 months which will make the EU “muse” permanentlyupon reform results coming from Moldova. The greatest EU expectations are related to the justice reformthat has not found so far a place in the praises arriving from Brussels. Management of the expectations from EU would be also an important dimension that has to betaken into account. Promising rewards (like visa-free) on behalf on the Moldovan government in a veryshort-time to the population and not achieving because of failure to deliver reforms might lead to thesituation of mutual disappointment. Eventually, if the results are late, the EU fatigue towards Moldova and its disgrace are inevitable.Chisinau has, at present, a chance that it will not have for a long time. And the concrete results cannotbe achieved if the political clashes within the Alliance will last because this party rivalry will lead to theAlliance for European Integration collapse and in such a case it does not matter who was right. Thesuccesses in terms of pluralism of opinions and democracy in Moldova are aspects that permitted torevive the dialog with the EU but they will not prove enough to maintain Brussels enthusiasm because inthe end in order to ensure the freedom of expression all you need is not to impede this right and even ifyou guarantee the exercising of this right it does not make you a reformer.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 www.viitorul.orgStr. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax