The united Europe is experiencing an existential crisis due to the suicidal policy of the Euro bureaucracy. But even this does not affect the manic desire of the current regime in Moldova to integrate into the EU
The current authorities have turned the issue of the EU membership into the only meaning of their rule and the condition for the Moldovan political establishment to survive. For the sake of European integration, the current regime is ready to destroy the economy, drowning it in a debt hole for decades, to abandon many democratic principles and freedoms, up to accepting the loss of territory. But won’t accession to the European Union be a Pyrrhic victory, achieved against common sense and the country’s vital interests?
Yesterday, amidst the Arab-Israeli war, which left many Moldovans in dire humanitarian conditions, the parliament approved the withdrawal from the CIS agreement on cooperation in evacuating citizens from third countries in case of emergencies. Earlier, the Russian aviation had repeatedly rescued our people, taking them out of hot spots, for example, in African countries. Of course, the authorities can refer to the fact that the evacuation of compatriots has now been outsourced to Ilan Shor. However, in the current circumstances such a decision resembles bullying and sabotage against own citizens.
This is a vivid example, but by no means the only case when, for the sake of European solidarity, the ruling regime implements a policy that contradicts the state interests or the objectives for the development of certain areas of the economy. Thus, the sanctions imposed against Russia and the opening of the internal market for agricultural products from Ukraine had a devastating effect on the Moldova’s agricultural sector.
Nevertheless, the authorities do not reckon with the losses, believing that they can compensate for them with generous donor funding, which, judging by the results of the Moldova Support Platform’s last meeting, keeps shrinking. Moreover, most of the resources for last-resort aid began to come in the form of loans. But Maia Sandu expects that the repayment of these funds will not bother her – either future generations or Brussels will deal with it.
Meanwhile, the European Union itself is at a crossroads today. Financial indicators point to an economic recession triggered by erroneous, politically opportunistic decisions. This fact was underlined by the news that the euro this year, for the first time in history, lost its position to the Chinese yuan as the international settlement facility for Swift transactions.
The simultaneous rejection of cheap Russian energy resources with the destruction of Nord Stream and nuclear power under the so-called “green agenda” imposed by one of the coalition partners has become a stress test for the German economy, the EU traditional frontrunner.
Dependence on Qatari and Azerbaijani gas has significantly limited the freedom of EU countries’ political maneuver in the Karabakh and Palestinian-Israeli wars. France, which supported Armenians for many years, could not overcome Brussels’ inability to confront Turkey and Azerbaijan and prevent a catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the other hand, this logically fits into a whole series of foreign policy fiascos of Paris in recent months - the French presence is systematically pushed out of post-colonial Africa with maximum reputational losses.
The European Union has failed to resolve the long-standing ethno-political conflict in Cyprus, i.e. on its own territory. Moreover, recently a huge delegation of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus visited Baku - there were statements about one Turkic nation and three states. Recep Erdogan will actively pedal the topic of the TRNC secession without considering Brussels’ opinion and taking advantage of the fact that the UK, which has military bases in Northern Cyprus, is also not bound by any obligations to the EU.
All in all, the issue of EU membership remains a headache for the European bureaucracy and the capitals of the community’s founding countries. The UK’s withdrawal from the union has become a colossal blow to the very concept of European integration and still periodically provokes controversy in Northern Ireland. The current pause in the enlargement process (since Croatia joined the EU in 2013) seems to be maximally justified, but it does not coincide with the geopolitical ambitions of certain officials in Brussels. Now there is a long string of countries in line to join the EU, from war-torn Ukraine to Muslim Albania. Then there’s Kosovo, still unrecognized by five EU countries. Whether the community will be able to “digest” the new members and on what terms they will join the union is absolutely unclear.
The EU traditionally has its own “Fronde”. Romania and especially Poland are openly US-orientated. The Polish leadership defends traditional Catholic values and often opposes Brussels, while being in permanent conflict with neighboring Germany. Politicians in power in Hungary and now Slovakia aim to maintain contacts with Moscow and are criticized by the Euro bureaucracy. Budapest is even restricted in its access to EU funding for projects.
The situation with the Schengen Area remains uncertain – a number of countries, especially Austria, are blocking Romania and Bulgaria from joining it. In many countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, the transition to a single European currency has not yet taken place.
The political landscape and values of the EU are undermined not only by internal contradictions, the prevalence of Eurosceptics, the growing electoral appeal of right-wing parties and uncertain enlargement prospects. The migration crisis remains an important factor. The Israeli-Palestinian war has once again confirmed that the attitudes of the political establishment and the sympathies of the street in Paris, Berlin and other capitals are strongly different. We are talking about a severe disunity, and the recent terrorist attack in Brussels is an indicator that the authorities are simply unable to cope with these contradictions. Public and government assessments of most high-profile issues are becoming antagonistic, contradictions are building up and turning into protests.
The European Union suffers the most from US-inspired military conflicts. The Arab Spring, the ruination of Libya, the attempts to expel Bashar al-Assad from Syria and the coup against Recep Erdogan in Turkey turned into a migration crisis, which became one of the reasons for Brexit and the discord between member states that tolerate refugees on the one hand and refuse to accept them on the other. Attempts to solve the problem with money have had no conciliatory effect.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has also provoked energy and economic difficulties in the European Union, while Washington successfully earns money on arms and energy supplies, and has managed to breathe new life into NATO by getting its expansion and increased funding from European capitals. If the U.S. can provoke a conflict between the EU and China (the visits of Lithuanian delegations to Taiwan only “fuel the fire”), the EU will face economic disaster and serious political transformation. But as long as everyone in the community has an equal voice, Brussels will not even be able to cope at the expense of weakening the union’s peripheral countries.
When the Moldovan Communists made European integration a programme priority in 2004 (largely amidst the failure of the so-called Kozak Memorandum and the breakdown of relations with the Kremlin), they were talking about democratic transformation, economic growth and combating the demographic crisis. The EU was a living, functional, independent and influential organism with a strong economic base and friendly neighbors. An organism built on democratic principles and passionate about European solidarity, human rights and world peace.
Nowadays the geopolitical situation and internal dynamics in the community are significantly different for the worse. Nevertheless, the EU’s deepest crisis does not embarrass the Moldovan ruling class, all-in playing the Euro-integration game. It would be appropriate to think that we are just kindred spirits. However, the current authorities have brought the country to the point where the loss of sovereignty and identity is seen as the lesser of evils. Unprecedented restriction of democratic freedoms, corruption, nepotism and smuggling, a stolen billion and a 10-billion-dollar hole in the budget – these are the results of the PAS party and their ideological predecessors who carried out the Twitter revolution in 2009. The collapse of the economy, the destruction of industry and agriculture, the demographic gap and the Transnistrian conflict are challenges that the current regime has neither the motivation nor the competence to deal with. It is easier to trust Brussels, Washington and Bucharest, finally formalizing the transfer of territory with its population under external administration.