Moldova is moving simultaneously to the East and to the West

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Author: Dionis Cenușa

The concomitant movements in the East and West directions made during the first 100 days of government are producing results for Moldova, writes the political researcher Dionis Cenușa in an analytical article for IPN Agency.

The political researcher refers to the renewal of the EU-Moldova relationship, which brings with it some major benefits, revealed within the 5th EU-Moldova Association Council.

First, the European part is open not only to disburse macro-financial assistance (two installments by the end of 2019), but also to seek new financial sources in the EU budget for 2020. The availability of old and new money overrides any objections about the lack of financial coverage for complicated reforms. At the same time, the presence of sectoral conditionality and political preconditions are increasing too, points out Dionis Cenușa.

The second qualitative evolution noted by the political researcher is the individualization of the mechanism for monitoring the reforms in Moldova by creating the “Project Team for Moldova” (PTM). The competences of the new entity are still unknown, but to have an impact it must combine local expertise and political recognition within the European institutions and in Chisinau. If the entity suggested for Moldova would have at least half the responsibilities of the Support Group for Ukraine, which has been operational since 2014, then the European integration of the country may gain even more visibility and steadiness, Dionis Cenușa thinks.

Last but not least, the EU’s major focus is in fact captured by the structural reforms initiated by Sandu’s government in the field of justice and the prosecutor general office. The political commitment of Chisinau and the close supervision of Brussels are increasing the pressure on this reform and reduce the chances to trick.

He believes that against the given the emerging Urusa von der Leyen European Commission and the drafting of the new Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027), pro-European Moldovan forces must use their credibility to place the Moldovan case high on Brussels’s agenda.

In the eastern direction, several other tendencies take root, writes Dionis Cenușa.

In his opinion, the Government of Maia Sandu intends not only to resume, but also to substantiate the content of economic relations with Russia. During her visit to Moscow, scheduled for October 2019, Prime Minister Sandu will select the directions of intense cooperation within the Moldova-Russia Intergovernmental Commission. In the opinion of the political researcher, foreign trade and energy dialogue are among the most essential, as they provide for the facilitation of Moldovan exports and the renewal of the contract for gas deliveries. It also includes the transposition of the legislation related to the 3rd Energy Package in the Transnistrian region.

While the government cautiously manages the thorny relations with the Russian side, President Dodon announced, during the summit of the Eurasian Union in Yerevan, that he would implement the duties deriving from the observer-status in the organization. Thus, Moldova is going to delegate a permanent representative to the Eurasian Commission. For this, President Dodon will have to identify money from the budget and cover the costs for the activity of the permanent representative’s apparatus, comments Dionis Cenuşa.

He anticipates that, from a technical and political point of view, the Socialists will have to persuade the ACUM bloc not to impede the participation in the Eurasian Union. The activity of the permanent representative cannot be other than symbolic and without legal effect. However, it requires framing in the existing diplomatic system to have minimal political significance. In any case, President Dodon plans to produce socialization, at least at the level of officials subordinated to the presidency, with the institutional framework of the Eurasian Union, points out the political researcher.

The Eurasian integration propagated, in a quieter form, by the Socialists does not endanger the implementation of the Association Agreement so far. However, the political reseacher is convinced that the contact with the Eurasian structures and the circulation of the ideas produced by them feed the Eurasian alternative for the external orientation of the country.

Once the European integration is not irreversible and can suffer at any time failures, the political class, along with the population, will be confronted with a Eurasian alternative, available and increasingly clear, concludes Dionis Cenuşa.

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