Twenty years after becoming independent, Moldova’s independence, sovereignty and democracy are still in danger. The threats have not been removed from the country’s agenda. They continue to be powerful and can influence the internal and foreign policy course, Victor Chirila, executive director of the Foreign Policy Association (APE), said in a meeting of the Association’s Press Club.
According to Victor Chirila, the first challenge for Moldova is the Russian military presence on its territory. “That presence can be argued neither from the angle of the international law nor from political viewpoint. Surely, in 2002 Russia succeeded in interweaving the pullout of its troops with the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict. It was the failure of our then diplomacy,” he stated.
Another risk, according to the APE director, is the fragility of the status of neutrality. Victor Chirila said this status has been violated for 20 years by Russia. This is a reality that not even Russia can deny.
The separatism of the Transnistrian region is another challenge. Victor Chirila said that separatism is controlled by an authoritarian, Soviet and anti-Western regime and until this is a reality, the Transnistrian region remains a center of instability not only for Moldova, but for the entire Europe.
“Any reintegration of Transnistria into Moldova must be accompanied by the region’s democratization. This democratization cannot last for a week, several months of a year. It is a process that must start now and continue until a viable political solution to the dispute is found. The European Union should more actively involve in the promotion of democratic changes in this region. Until an authoritarian, nondemocratic regime governs in Tiraspol, it is very risky not putting into practice any compromise solution. On the contrary, there can be a solution that would endanger the independence, sovereignty, democracy and European integration process,” said Victor Chirila.
The energy security can be another challenge with a serious impact on the internal policy and social cohesion. According to Victor Chirila, the essential role played by Moldova’s western neighbor Romania has been permanently neglected during 20 years. “Romania is the country that can help us even up the balance of energy influence in Moldova. Unfortunately, this thing was ignored by the largest part of the Moldovan political class. Owing to dialogue problems between Chisinau and Bucharest, which were mainly created artificially in order to divide society, energy, transport and infrastructure projects have been ignored, but they might have ensured relative energy stability and energy independence from Russia in 20 years,” said the APE executive director.
Victor Chirila also said that during 20 years, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry achieved results that contributed to Moldova’s establishment as subject of international relations. The most important accomplishments include Moldova’s joining of the most important regional cooperation initiatives that promote the European integration idea. The internationalization of the problem of the illegal presence of the Russian troops and munitions on Moldova’s territory, with the Western partners’ support, is also important.
“The European Union is more and more active and present in the Transnistrian region, either in the political dialogue or when providing assistance to the measures aimed at building confidence between the two banks of the Nistru. It seems that the EU intends to increase its presence in the region the next years and to take part in the financing of a modernization or post-conflict assistance project there,” said Victor Chirila.
The fact that the EU recognized Moldova’s European aspirations is also an accomplishment. Thanks to the Moldovan diplomacy, the European integration objective became a strategic one, said the APE director.
The Press Club is organized by the Foreign Policy Association in partnership with the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.