Governance and politics

Addressing Polarization in the Eastern European Neighbourhood - Moldova Session Report

Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law
  • A second country case of the ‘Addressing Polarisation in the Eastern European Neighbourhood’ took place on 7 September 2023, discussing Moldova.
  • Participants described the lack of perspective as the main challenge for Moldova, more than polarization per se. This lack of perspective is a combination of growing poverty and a bad economic outlook, combined with a controversial EU accession process and a war close to the border, all together leading to an ever-growing diaspora.
  • Participants disagreed on the level to which increased inclusive dialogue could provide solutions. Even though the majority claims it’s important to keep engaging e.g. pro-Russian voices, others warn that we should accept a certain divided status quo in the Moldovan social contract - while upholding a pro-EU majority in Parliament.
  • The popular ‘neutral’ stance is becoming harder and harder to uphold, but there is no popular support to join NATO nor other military alliances.
  • The EU lost a lot of credibility in the past decade due to double standards, corruption with funding, everchanging accession processes. Instead of being a pragmatic political player that supports wherever its own interests are met, participants agreed the EU should be independent referee for rule of law and human rights – and e.g. firmly stop funding if rules are broken.
  • A risk was identified that Moldovans are quite open to giving up freedoms for security. It is important to prevent abuse of that tendency, through awareness of the value of e.g. freedom of expression (and fighting disinformation) and strong counterbalancing of power.
  • An uptake event of the conclusions of these two country case sessions will follow with EU policy makers.
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