Moldova Continues Its Bid for Europe

Deutsche Welle has a fascinating interview with Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca about the hurdles and rewards Moldova faces as it moves past its recent constitutional crisis, grapples with Russian economic attacks and meddling in Transnistria, and prepares to move ever-closer to Europe. I excerpt a bit here, but the whole thing should be read. It’s a remarkable offering, as he attempts to balance the fact of Russia and its influence while still urging a country with strong ties to the former imperial master to embrace a destiny to the West.

DW: Polls show that Moldovan society is split: 50 percent want European integration and the other 50 percent seek Eurasian integration in association with Russia.

Iurie Leanca: Despite the fact that one part of Moldovan society prefers the Western development model and the other part prefers the Eastern version, we all want one thing: a society that offers opportunities. When you ask our citizens if they want functioning institutions, fair justice, separation of powers, a reliable state prosecutor, and protection of rights, then you get a positive answer.

Europeanization would, without exception, benefit all citizens of Modova. In terms of Eurasian integration, that project hasn’t really been thought through. Advantages of Europeanization are tangible, and visible in the example of other countries. In contrast, the prospects of a Eurasian union are not clear.

Does Chisinau’s pro-European orientation mean that Moldova is distancing itself from Moscow?

A European development model for the Moldovan republic does not mean deterioration of relations with Russia or with other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We value our connection to Russia. We have a high level of cooperation and intend to develop this further, without antagonizing our relationship to Europe.

In Russia it’s understood that we are building up our state, and not merely participating in any geopolitical project. We don’t need that, neither in light of internal developments, nor with a view toward regularizing the Transnistrian conflict.

Leanca faces domestic and foreign problems a-plenty as he works to hold down order after the events of earlier this year and straddles more foreign policy challenges than he ever likely imagined he would face. It will be interesting, and hopefully rewarding, to watch his efforts.

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