The Moldovan Authorities Are to Show “Proper Unionism”

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Sergei CEBAN
Bucharest is ready to take up the guardianship of Moldova in the process of European integration and rapprochement of the two banks of the Prut in full mutual understanding with the new leadership of the republic
The epic with the signing of the next gas supply contract and the next mini-crisis that followed a month later due to late payments for consumed energy resources became a convincing confirmation of Moldova’s extremely vulnerable position and its strong ties to Russia remaining in some strategic sectors. The expert won’t stop discussing what happened for the second month in a row. Most of them openly appeal to the country’s leadership with a proposal to thoroughly comprehend Moldova’s current situation and make decisions that will expand its capabilities and allow it to go into an accelerated European integration. At the same time, despite all the theories on the Moldovan-Romanian relations, it is already becoming quite obvious that building a conscious policy of rapprochement with neighboring Romania is the most natural and realistic way to accomplish this task. Our newly appointed ambassador to Romania, Victor Chirila, has already publicly stated that due to the presence of a stable pro-European and pro-Romanian majority in Chisinau, we are fully open to multifaceted communication with Bucharest and have a unique chance to get closer to the European Union, since Romania remains Moldova’s most important advocate in Brussels. He, in turn, is echoed by the Romanian Ambassador to Chisinau, Daniel Ionita, noting that our country enjoys consolidated party support in Bucharest, and in the program of the new government, in almost all chapters there are explicit references to the Republic of Moldova. We are talking about projects that can be developed between sectoral ministries in the interests of citizens, which will further strengthen the special relationship between the two banks of the Prut. And, indeed, the program of the newly appointed Romanian Cabinet of Ministers Nicolae Ciuca states that Romania will give priority to supporting Moldova’s European integration and its pro-democratic reform program. The Government, in particular, will focus on promoting “strategic bilateral projects”, especially those aimed at the integration of Moldova with the EU through Romania and the popularization of Romanian identity and values. As the main foreign policy priority, Bucharest will continue to actively support the efforts of our republic to develop relations with Brussels. Thus, the Romanian Foreign Ministry will promote the creation of a Support Group for Moldova in the European Commission, which, together with the Romanian delegation to the European Parliament, will contribute to the effective implementation of the Association Agreement by Chisinau. An equally important element of the program of Ciuca’s Government is the support of partnership programs between the administrative-territorial units of Romania and Moldova in order to provide expertise in attracting European funds and implementing joint projects aimed at the development of local communities. During the entire 30-year period of the country’s independent existence, a cautious pragmatic approach prevailed in our political dialogue with Bucharest. Fortunately or not, Chisinau did not seek to qualitatively fill these relations and distanced itself in every possible way so as not to fuel unionist phobias within Moldovan society. However, the continuing need to revise the existing format of cooperation and the logic of the processes taking place in our regional space, apparently, pushes the Moldovan leadership to more decisive measures. Bucharest, for its part, seems to be ready for something more, including the strategic interest to make Moldova a zone of stability and security on its eastern borders. Moreover, they continue to proceed from the idea that reasonable close cooperation with elements of energy, trade, economic, foreign policy and cultural integration is the most realistic option to achieve Moldova's full entry into the European family. Certain hotheads in Chisinau are already speculating that Moldova has begun to appear in official documents of the Romanian government, and this allegedly gives grounds to draw some parallels with the history of the reunification of Germany. In fact, inclusion in the program does not mean anything at all, and the fundamental difference is that today the Romanian Constitution does not contain separate provisions that existed in the basic law of the Federal Republic of Germany (which eventually led to the formation of a unified state entity). As Ukraine’s experience shows, if Chisinau fails to convince the Kremlin that there is no alternative to its European path, then it will not be easy to break out of Moscow’s strategic embrace, and the process of disintegration with the post-Soviet space will become very painful and conflictual. This can explain the increasingly loud calls from individual politicians and the expert community on the need to seriously think about more pronounced cooperation with Romania in security – up to the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on military guarantees. It is absolutely clear that Moldova is now in an extremely complex and unpredictable region, where the status quo can change unpredictably at absolutely any moment. Bucharest is also clearly aware of this, insistently waiting for clarity from Washington on the further strategy of US actions in the Black Sea region in order to properly adapt to it. However, in the current conditions, in addition to deepening bilateral cooperation, it would be highly desirable for Chisinau to have a common vision with Bucharest of responding to non-standard options for the development of the situation and to prepare several alternative plans of joint action.