New foreign policy strategy for Moldova

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Having set own ambitious tasks for the transformation of the country, the new leadership of Moldova needs to activate diplomatic resources in order to shape a favorable external environment, which is one of the key factors in the successful implementation of the scheduled transformations.
For several days now, the expert community both in Moldova and abroad continues thorough analysis of Natalia Gavrilita’s future government program named “Moldova in Good Times”. Some people saw enough common sense in it, other people found gave additional reasons to criticize the new government. However, only the practical implementation of this document will show how real is the Moldovan Success Story 2.0. Despite the fact that the new government is still awaiting its appointment, and the candidates for the ministers are in a silent concentration, one of the future key deputy prime ministers, the potential head of the MFAEI Nicu Popescu, has already named the main priorities of the country's new foreign policy. These are integration into the European Union, the strengthening of the strategic partnership with Romania, the expansion of good-neighborly relations with Ukraine, the maintenance of partnership with Russia and the resumption of political dialogue with the United States. The plans include also active cooperation with the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, development of interaction with NATO, assistance to active economic diplomacy, support of the diaspora, modernization of the diplomatic service in order to increase the effectiveness of foreign policy and European integration. It is known that the future head of Moldovan diplomacy has a sufficient personal trust from Maia Sandu. Unlike his future colleagues in the government, he will be able to implement the foreign policy program in a relatively independent mode, without undue interference of the PAS majority parliament faction. At the same time, it is clear that the MFAEI will be subordinate to the internal national tasks in one way or another and will become an additional tool to support a large package of reforms, which, if carried out effectively, can contribute to improving the country's image in the international arena and attract additional foreign investment. Procurement and sustainable supply of vaccines against COVID-19, as well as the earliest possible achievement of agreements with international financial institutions and partners to provide assistance to Moldova for recovering the post-pandemic economy, will be among the top-priority issues that Moldovan diplomacy, apparently, will have to solve quickly and efficiently. In addition, it is necessary to provide decent conditions and the opportunity for our people to return, first of all, to work in European countries. If talking about protracted tasks, then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should try to reduce in the next few years the level of tension in relations with a narrow circle of its main foreign policy partners as much as possible. Obviously,  the dialogue with the European Union expects not only a serious warming, but also a significant deepening of bilateral cooperation. The Association Agreement requires an updated long period implementation program, which will become a strategic guideline for the country's development in the next 5-10 years. In addition, the fateful summit of the Eastern Partnership is expected by the end of this year. Most likely, its new agenda will be determined, including filling with relevant content under appropriate financial support. For sure, individual programs will be worked out for each of the remaining participants, who decided to unite in the well-known Associative Trio in order to strengthen Brussels’ attention to their European integration aspirations. By the way, Moldova, against the background of Ukraine and Georgia, looks like the most stable and predictable applicant, so it can count on the greatest support from the EU. Some experts also believe that an additional upgrade and increased personality of the Associated Trio would help its participants to consolidate their efforts in the area of international security. This, meanwhile, opens up interesting opportunities for establishing a qualitatively different level of cooperation with Euro-Atlantic structures with the prospect of developing a conditional “regional NATO”. There is no doubt that such a project could take place firstly after a starting gun of Washington, which priority for the next time will be ensuring strategic global security. In addition, Chisinau has a very serious lack of political communication with the United States, because of which our country has acquired some relevance for Washington exclusively in the general context of complex regional processes and is practically not considered as a separate entity. Therefore, given the speed of resolving the issue of transferring the city stadium for the construction of a new building for the US diplomatic mission, most likely, Chisinau will try to “build bridges” with the American administration and try to form an individual program of Moldovan-American relations. Relations with Russia look the most difficult. Nevertheless, if you move away from the diplomacy of loud public utterance and tough calls, and at the same time show a rational approach when discussing even the most painful topics, then there is certainly a chance to achieve a mutually acceptable balance in bilateral relations. In order not to remain on the margins of regional economic and political processes, as well as to strengthen its transit potential, it seems that Chisinau will have to make in the upcoming years a serious leap forward towards not only expanding political and diplomatic ties, but also broad infrastructural and logistical connections to Romania and Ukraine. Having set large-scale tasks of Moldovan deep internal reformatting, the new national leadership needs a significant activation of the diplomatic resource to shape a stable favorable external environment as one of the key factors in the successful implementation of systemic reforms. Obviously, the set of the above tasks, which falls on the shoulders of Moldovan diplomacy, cannot be reflected only in the general program of the government. Therefore, a new view of Moldova's position in the international and regional system of coordinates, most likely, will have to be expressed in an updated foreign policy strategy and approved at the parliamentary level.