Handout from the project: „Debating the European Union: Visegrad 4 Experience“

Visegrad countries (V4) continue to support Mol­dova in its effort of closer ties with the Europe­an Union. In addition to that, they have a wide-reaching experience with reforms and EU integra­tion and are ready to share it with Moldova. The present project aimed at sharing the reform and EU integration experience of V4 with Moldova and strengthening the understanding of reforms needed on its European path via live debates of University students from V4 and Moldova.

“Debating the European Union: Visegrad 4 Ex­perience” was a MESA10 project supported by the International Visegrad Fund (IVF) and im­plemented from March 2014 to February 2015 in cooperation with partners from the Czech Re­public, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova. Students from five universities took part in the de­bates: Charles University, Prague, Czech Repub­lic; Central European University, Budapest, Hun­gary; Academy of Economic Studies, Chisinau, Moldova; Collegium Civitas, Warsaw, Poland; Matej Bel University, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.

The project connected Moldova University stu­dents with their peers from V4. Two rounds of live online debates were organized in 2014: one in the Spring Semester and one in the Fall Semester. During the debates, students from the audiences had a chance to interact with the student teams by posing questions. Debates were preceded by lec­tures on European integration and reform experi­ence of V4: in the fall semester, students had an opportunity to talk with Eduard Kukan, member of the European Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, and with Iulian Groza, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova.

Online debates of student teams were followed by seminars to acquaint students, faculty members and representatives of civil society in Moldova with IVF grants and scholarships. The project also encouraged students to share their thoughts on EU and V4 reform and integration experience. Best students’ essays can be read on the project’s web site and facebook.

The present handout illustrates the opinions of the students on V4 reform and integration experience as well as EU integration. It is based upon the re­sults of opinion polls taken among the students after the debates. In accordance with them, ¾ of students are persuaded that reform and EU inte­gration experience of V4 can be useful to Mol­dova. A similar number of students believe that reform and integration experience of V4 is useful because Moldova can learn from and use specific reforms of V4. And, above all, more than 9/10 of students believe that membership in the EU is in the interest of Moldova. Such an unequivocal opinion adds to Moldova’s commitment and ef­fort but also strengthens the case of support for Moldova by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Po­land and Slovakia.

Handout for download here: Debating the EU Visegrad for Experience