International players more and more frankly desire to remove the political regime established in Moldova at the end of last year.
The new 2020 year is likely to be difficult for Moldova in terms of international relations with major development partners. Judging by the incoming signals, they began to phase out project activities and assistance to the current Moldovan authorities. That is why Igor Dodon’s government main “donation hopes” associate mostly with Moscow.
Chisinau’s partners begin to view clearly the general situation in Moldova and the prospects for further interaction with the authorities in the electoral context. Of course, at the angle of presidential election scheduled for the end of the year first of all. It is clear that all domestic political processes, and resources disposable for the main players will struggle for the head of state chair. Despite the absolutely insignificant in terms of official functions presidential post, the contest for it acquires a traditional for Moldova geopolitical color. A symbolic, but no less important task for all pro-European forces is the displacement of the “pro-Russian” Igor Dodon and the further political “liberation” of the country.
The first one already launching the process of rethinking and tightening relations with Chisinau seems to be Brussels. At the end of last year, the head of the EU Delegation in Moldova, Peter Mihalko, gave a detailed interview to one of the Moldovan publishers. There, he rather harshly and accentuated pointed out the Brussels key question outlining the conditions for continued macro-financial assistance from the European Union.
Meanwhile, Romania is the most active initiator of the European Union position changes openly expressing dissatisfaction and concern about the situation in the neighboring state. It should be recalled that at the end of 2019, speaking to the EU foreign ministers, the head of Romanian diplomacy Bogdan Aurescu proposed to establish external activities oversight within the new Moldovan government and recommended to Chisinau itself not to expect much help from Bucharest.
The tough Bucharest line towards the new Moldovan authorities continues this year. Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, who paid a working visit to Brussels this week, told openly the EU leadership that everything happening in Moldova constitutes “a disturbing devolution”. According to him, Bucharest cannot consider the current Moldovan government a serious partner in this regard. At the same time, Orban called on the European Commissioner for Enlargement together with other EU officials to closely monitor what is happening in Moldova and react accordingly if the country’s obligations to the European Union are not respected.
The first castling moves justified by the need for closer attention from Brussels to the general Moldavian context occurred, oddly enough, in the Transdniestrian direction. The experienced European politician Franco Frattini was replaced by the Austrian diplomat Thomas Meyer-Harting as the OSCE Special Representative for Transdniestria. He is hardly new to the negotiation process – it is known that Meyer-Harting represented the EU in the 5 + 2 format for several years. And unlike his predecessor, often vastly thinking, he apparently is much better oriented in the specifics of Moldova’s domestic policy.
No less significant in all these situations is the position of Kiev to its Moldovan neighbor. A significant personnel decision also took place here – as known last year, the President of Ukraine signed a decree appointing Mark Shevchenko as ambassador to Moldova. According to biographical data the Ukrainian diplomat already has working experience in Moldova. Thus, judging by his political views general nature we can conclude that he will broadcast a quite tough and implacable Kiev position to both domestic and foreign Chisinau policies.
Beyond all doubts, the current leadership of Moldova will face difficult tests this year, since a rather complicated and sometimes even aggressive environment is being formed around the country, and Chisinau’s western partners are no longer trying to hide their true motives. Therefore, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the current year will become decisive in many respects for the future fate of the state, at least in the midterm.
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