It is probably difficult to find a more disastrous project in the Moldovan history, than European integration, which thundered over the republic, shook the public, but eventually subsided and dissolved in the depths of internal political clashes. However, this failure will remain not only on the account of Chisinau, but also in the archives of the European Union. After all, Europe received flows of Moldovan migrants who made attempts to arrange European life for themselves already in the Old World.
It is impossible to look one-sidedly at this situation, since the European way of Moldova affected too many people, which means we will take a look at the problem from two positions at once, and start, perhaps, with the Moldovan one.
When European integrators appeared in the political field of the republic, they skillfully attracted the attention of the public. This, of course, was not difficult to do. The Democratic Party, headed by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, promised the Moldovans a paradise with a standard of living comparable to that of the European Union countries. Who would not want to «peck» on such promises? Such is the nature of a human — he is always ready to hope for the best, even in anticipation of a trick.
What do we see in the end? Of course, it cannot be said that Moldova was devastated completely. The country’s market is rich in abundance. That’s just not everyone can afford it. The overwhelming majority of people are simply not able to join the “European standard of living” that they were promised years earlier. At the same time, the results of the reforms, which the authorities, who called themselves pro-European, had to deal with, demonstrate disappointing indicators of income, economy, demography, migration. The latter generally becomes a sore subject for the EU, but more on that later.
What was the catch? The Democratic Party did not just deceive people, skillfully scattering populist promises. This is probably not even the most offensive. More importantly, the authorities, having clearly considered the people, to put it mildly, to be dimwit, have replaced European values with their populism, at times simplifying their lives.
European values include the fundamentals of democracy, but the main thing is the personal responsibility of every citizen. Moldova, however, has serious problems with it. First, the Democratic Party, ironically, trampled democracy in its country, and secondly, Moldovans are not eager to take on that very responsibility to society. Citizens entrusted the fate of the country — that is, their own — to a group of people who turned out to be little interested in keeping promises. Instead, the Democratic Party, allegedly embarking on the European path, began to usurp power in the country. The result is obvious: the pace of European integration is so pitiable that, given the destructive tendencies of the European Union, Moldova may not have time to become a full member of it. If you look at the situation from the point of view of the West, then a quite logical question arises: does it have any chances at all?
The Moldovan point of view, as we have already noted, was not unambiguous itself. It combined the hopes and dreams of ordinary people, as well as the greed and thirst for power of politicians who put on the masks of European integrators. At the same time, the position of the West is much more pragmatic.
Ten years ago the notorious Eastern Partnership appeared not for nothing. Huge texts of the projects convinced the reader of how this organization would work on regional development, responding to “common challenges”, but by discarding all this, the true meaning of the idea becomes clear — to create a buffer zone in countries that do not make sense to delay in NATO, but where you can not allow the influence of Russia. Moldova has become one of those countries.
The problem is that the Eastern Partnership itself has not been set, since each of the countries continued to follow own course, not wanting to merge into one single channel. Actually, the Chisinau authorities are an excellent example of how to distort this course for personal gain. Local European integrators have repeatedly come to the attention of Brussels due to the fact that they are “cronies” only in words.
Moldova’s European integration was supposed to be a success story, an example for other countries, but the project failed and is ready to destroy the whole Eastern Partnership. Europeans got only a headache and new flows of migrants from Moldova. The visa-free regime, which is so much praised in Chisinau, allowed the citizens of the country to flee without looking back. And they run, of course, to the countries of the European Union.
Thus, we can already notice a curious coincidence. In 2020, will take place the Eastern Partnership Summit, which, as experts predict, may be the last. And also in 2020, the notorious “visa-free” will be tightened, forcing Moldovans to pay a fee for the opportunity to enter the EU. Therefore, it is possible that the protracted European dream of Moldova will soon come to an end.
By Mikhail Borodin, Republic of Moldova