Opinion: PAS Has Big Problems with European Integration

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The government has so far failed to implement the action plan that was given to Moldova by Brussels after it was granted candidate status for EU accession. At the same time, the current level of financial support from the West seems to be far from the country’s real needs    
Semyon ALBU, RTA: This week for PAS could be called a week of small joys: the parliamentary faction of the party did not collapse on account of scandals with leaked messages, the Gavrilita government was saved with only minimal changes, and the concession for the Chisinau airport was taken from the worst enemy, Ilan Sor. Even the protest wave in the capital has subsided a little. The cherry on top was to be the next “European concert” in honor of Moldova. The show this time took place in Paris where all who wished to financially stimulate our long-suffering republic gathered. It is true that everything did not turn out as planned with the “Platform to Support Moldova”. Not only that the pompous event with traditionally encouraging appeals was overshadowed by a massive blackout across the country. And the results of this regular “outstretched hand” campaign were more than modest. The picture seemed nice – the Moldovan guests were patted on the shoulders and the words of solidarity were not spared. Money was even promised – dozens of millions from France, Germany and Romania. However, things are not so simple with the last one. Either our media got confused, how much and from whom Moldova received on all these platforms, or the authorities present the information in such an interesting way that nothing is clear. In any case, it is worth looking not at the triumphant speeches in the official press releases, but at what is glimpsed, as it were, between the lines. And then it turns out that things are far from being brilliant. For example, Nicu Popescu in the interview to the influential BBC suddenly starts to implicitly threaten with “a humanitarian crisis in Moldova, which allegedly the whole Europe will feel.” It is clear how – through the wave of refugees fleeing from the energy crisis. The minister knows exactly where to hit: after the Arab Spring and the conflict in Ukraine, Europeans have developed a strong phobia of hordes of migrants. But why should our chief diplomat frighten the continent with an influx of Moldovan refugees all of a sudden? Maybe because the money allocated by the West is not really very much, and doesn’t even cover the minimum needs? Some deputies of the ruling party are already quite bluntly voicing our “rider” – more than a billion euros to survive the winter. And as it seems to me, our partners are in no hurry to give such money. Therefore, the President, probably, has to include Moldova in the general context of the Ukrainian conflict by all means, including the creation of the military-logistic center from our country, in order to get the necessary money from EU, by hook or by crook. And it is not only a question of money, but also of integration prospects in general. After obtaining the status of a candidate for accession to the Union in a short period of time, many people had an impression that the process will really start by leaps and bounds now, and from both sides as well. But it didn’t. This week, Maia Sandu reported on the implementation of the plan given by Brussels after granting the status. Of the 35 actions specified there, which had to be carried out by the end of the year, we have implemented 8 (!). Another 11, perhaps, will be done in time, but 16 of them will definitely have to be postponed to 2023. In total, by the way, there are 60 such actions. In general, our bureaucracy, as usual, is not very fast, although Sandu firmly wants to invite the EC’s assessors to look at our progress as early as next spring. However, as they say, they can dream on. All the more so because everybody can see the real progress of all the “transformations” and “reforms” with the naked eye – and it is zero. And, rather, it is even negative, especially when you get a look at the contents of the officials’ leaked messages, where each of the participants deserves a criminal case and even more than one. But okay, things don’t go well on the inside; this has been the custom since the noughties – in fact, even the most devout believers in European integration are vaguely aware that the “modernization” of the country is not going well. But we have a lot of political support of the EU this time and, taking into account the war in Ukraine, we will be admitted to the Union even with problems, right? Actually, no. Our media loves to pick up the news about another Euro-institution’s “support for us”. For example, this week, the news that the European Parliament voted in favor of an appeal to accelerate the accession of candidate countries, including Moldova, to the European Union was widely circulated. But few care about the opinion of European bureaucrats, far more important is the position of the member states, especially those geographically located in Western Europe. And things are not so simple there. Europe is frankly exhausted by the passing year. The conflict in Ukraine has led to record inflation, industry outflows, and a decline in production. Europeans are beginning to understand how they have been economically “robbed” during the crisis and are beginning to grumble. In this context, there is a growing perception that the real prospect for membership for all of today’s official applicants is very slim. No one wants to take on a pile of hungry mouths with a troubled fate. Even if the European Commission praises Moldova a hundred times, and even if Scholz and Macron say a bunch of pleasant words. Until the transformation of the EU takes place, the position of any of its members can block the road to the EU. To what extent the dissenting opinion of even one country can slow down the movement of another in the field of integration, you can clearly see at least at the example of our big brother Romania – which for many years now cannot enter the Schengen zone because of the position of individual states. And this year, Bucharest has already gained the support of the European Parliament and the European Commission, and even France and Germany. But the Netherlands is still against it, and so far, sorry, no Schengen. I think there will be much more debate on the much more multi-dimensional issue of the accelerated adoption of new problematic members. That is why the whole story of the European integration success of the “good times” period looks more and more like a farce or an outright hoax. What prospect can there be, when due to the idiotic policy of the PAS, the country is already so tightly hooked on Western money, that it will simply collapse without it? Opinions are already freely expressed that Moldova will not be able to survive as an independent state. And the ruling party understands something and starts to express discontent, including to the western “partners”. As they say, we gave you the geopolitical loyalty for all hundred percent and got a lot of problems from it, and we still haven’t seen the big money. So there is something rotten in the State of Denmark. As we predicted, getting the candidacy did not lead to any breakthrough into the European embrace. On the contrary, there are more than enough problems right now. Both in order to implement this European integration inside the country, and in order to find support for the process on the external borders at the same time.