Iulian CHIFU // Romania-Moldova relations in the Grindeanu-Dodon era
I was asked recently how do I see the relationships between Romania and Moldova in the era of the new PSD Grindeanu government and Dodon. The Chisinau press is still in the infancy of understanding the international relations and therefore each event and change of government is a matter of traditional questioning and ritual reaffirmation of good mutual relations, even if the real concern of people is less important.
Why do I say this? As a democratic state, settled, sustainable, although it has its own problems and political developments, Romania does not change suddenly its foreign policy on security and defense at the change of term. It's a predictable state and its approaches are transparent and known: Romania's national interest is Moldova's European path, the closeness of Chisinau to the EU, the reforms to allow that, at the first opportunity, Moldova could enter the European body. To have rules, institutions, regulations compatible with those of Romania. The approach is affirmed and real. Any derailment from the European path creates reactions from Romania.
As for Moldova, things are less clear. Chisinau is not the holder of an integrated European democratic state, with stable institutions, established, with functionality and institutional culture. It's still in the democratic childhood, and in terms of developed strategic focus, it is already playing between East and West, between the US / EU (with NATO in the alternative, which does not even pronounce itself because of the fear of a neutrality stated constitutionally and poorly understood) and Russia. And if over this confusion and ambiguous result, of Russian informational war with the Moldovan citizen, we also put the arrival of a pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, in the position of a President, no matter how irrelevant and depleted of powers would be this position in a parliamentary republic, the result is an alarming one.
So, let's return to the current matter: the arrival of Grindeanu-PSD government does not causes changes of approach, only shades. The conditioning or not of the grant tranche (meaning giving up the preconditions by the new government), better cooperation with the Government of PDM on the principle of European social democratic fraternity with PSD, the main party in government in Bucharest, an increased interest for the Romanians worldwide, thus from Moldova as well, a topic where a Minister will handle the projects for maintaining the identity. However, at the priority level, the approach is consistent for any party that reached the Romanian government.
If we look at the other side, Igor Dodon's manifestations are far from being friendly or his statements are not likely to encourage the bilateral cooperation. After what he stands out as pro-Russian and preaches the return to the Empire, he denies the Declaration of Independence of his own state and the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the state where he is President, and even more, he unearths the most archaic reactions of the Soviet proletkult of the 50's and brings back Moldova not even at the stage of Moldovenism from the year of 1994, with Our Home Moldova, but to Lazarev Artiom 1975, the father of the historical Moldovenism, if not even in the 1924th year, the creation of the Moldavian ASSR, with its capital in Tiraspol and the orchestration of the rebellion from Tatarbunar.
Indeed, Igor Dodon is the great problem of the Romanian-Romanian relations between Romania and Moldova. And he should know, both the President and the Moldovan citizens should be aware, because on the same coordinates lie the relations with Ukraine or other countries. The anarchism and geopolitical fumbling or the temptation to be catchy, to milk two cows at the same time and not assume the West strategic orientation disqualifies President Dodon to approach a visit to Bucharest, and the number of conditions to make this visit increase, they do not decrease, day by day, based on scandalous allegations which he proffers in public.
To conclude: Romania-Moldova relations will be as good as how good will be the actions of Chisinau. If Igor Dodon does not review his position, especially after his visit to Moscow, it will result in cooling the relations at this level and the preponderance of open approaches at the cooperation with the Moldovan government and pro-European majority. If here occur issues on adopting reform laws and their application, if commitments are not met, at this level there may be reserves that will unfold themselves.
What will not miss, and even will be substantially accentuated, is the relationship with the citizens of Moldova and the support of the civil society organizations, which could amplify soon.
So, for the Moldovan citizens, the concern should come not from the relationship with the Romania, but from the internal situation, the pro-Russian president and the government led by an oligarch, also who became a party leader, and nearly the monopolist owner of the media, who wants and supports the reforms until he will twist, and he will not be balanced by anyone, from lack of balance and subtle relationship between different branches and independent power centers of the state.
And the concerns should cover two areas: first of all the establishment of the EU's criteria for the rapid introduction of visa, regulation required for ratification by the Netherlands of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, and visa liberalization for the Ukrainian citizens, but with major impact on any not member state, which does not recall home their nationals, who were caught working illegally in EU or which does not respect the EU commitments and the European states; secondly to expand the applicability of the Magnitsky law, of sanctioning in the US of those who violate human rights and are corrupt, but not only from Russia but from all countries, including Moldova, because this step can fundamentally affect the evolution and the relationship at the government level if the independence of the judiciary and fighting the indiscriminate corruption does not hit the road. Not selective justice, but justice for all, regardless of rank, especially for politicians who are in high public offices.