The EaP Summit could boost Moldova’s European integration process
In light of the recent Association Trio demarche and the appointment of the pro-reform Gavriliță Government, Moldovan expectations from the upcoming EaP Summit refer to enhancing the existing framework of relations with the EU, going beyond political association and economic integration. Considering the announcement by the European Commission of the €600 million Economic Recovery Plan for Moldova, together with the formalization of a new EU-Moldova Association Agenda, one expects a positive incremental effect on bilateral cooperation providing for the impetus to explore new avenues for Moldova’s European integration process.
This is one of the conclusions of the policy brief prepared by Emil Burinschi, young research fellow at the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and Programme Management Intern at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.
„The current political momentum confirms that the Moldova aspire for a political boost at the 2021 Brussels Summit, revive the Prague Declaration spirit of optimism. Such a boost will recognize the choice of Moldovan citizens for reforms at home and further European integration”, considers Emil Burinschi.
According to the author of the brief, the key to assure an irreversible paradigm change in the EU-Moldovan relations could also depend on the readiness of EU officials to discuss a clearly defined roadmap for further Moldova’s economic and political integration with the EU in the next decade. In this context, President Michel’s positive assertion of the Associated Trio’s aspirations to initiate Article 49 procedures in the future can encourage the long-term enhancement of the EU-Moldova nexus. To support this process, the following set of recommendations ahead of the upcoming EaP Summit in Brussels:
Recommendations arising from the local political context
- Present a timeline of phased financial disbursements for the enactment of structural reforms under the EU-Moldova “Economic Recovery Plan” at the Brussels Summit. With the new government pushing for comprehensive economic and social reforms, the financial disbursements will contribute to economic stability amid the reform and recovery processes.
- Adopt an ambitious EU-Moldova Association Agenda, currently under advanced negotiations, to set up a framework of expectations regarding mutual commitments for the next six years.
- Update the Association Agreement to include new areas of cooperation. The revision of the document must contain the conceptualisation of a timeline for European integration to obtain candidate status by 2025-27.
Recommendations arising from the regional political context
- Endorse an EU-Associated Trio Common Statement at the Summit to build on the commitment to revise the EaP multilateral architecture. With the ongoing rapture within the EU-Belarus relations and the repercussions of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is highly unlikely that the Brussels Summit would wrap up with a unanimously approved joint declaration.
- Conclude the Associated Trio framework of cooperation by establishing a Secretariat of the institution with the participation of the EU DG NEAR Commissioner at the reunions.
Recommendations arising from EU priorities for the EaP future
- The monumental Economic and Investment Plan should serve as an “EaP Marshall Plan” for Eastern Europe. Potential avenues for economic endeavours are to be explored by both Eastern European and EU counterparts.
- Adopt a monitoring mechanism aimed at ensuring the benchmarking of the reforms in the Associated Trio. Through this tool, Moldovan reformers would be encouraged to maintain their commitments and learn from their ambitious colleagues.
The Policy Brief was prepared within the IPRE project “Public policy briefs”, implemented with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in the Republic of Moldova. The opinions reflected in this publication belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of KAS.