A direct contact among the University students from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova inspired students to thought-sharing. Short essay bellow shows what the students have to say on the topic of European Integration and Reform Experience of the Visegrad countries and how it relates to Moldova’s European path.
Title: How can the Czech Republic´s experience be useful to Moldova´s European integration?
Author: Petra Kytková
University: The University of Economics in Prague, Faculty of International Relations, Master’s degree
Moldova – country with delicious wine, 8.9% GDP real growth rate (est.2013 – CIA Factbook) and with signed Association Agreement. Despite these facts, Moldova still remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. Moldova´s membership in the EU would be undisputed contribution to its economic and political situation. The question is what would be the most effective way of the European integration and how the Czech Republic´s experience can contribute to this process.
First of all, countries are conditioned to fulfil particular criteria for accession – known as Copenhagen criteria. Moldova (as well as other V4 countries before) needs to have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, a functioning market economy and the ability to adopt the obligations of membership. The particular obligation referred to implementing EU´s aquis communautaire. Candidate country´s progress is monitored by EU evaluation reports – these reports should be taken as a sample for Moldova´s integration to the EU. And what were the shortages of the Czech Republic? The shortages mainly applied to the slow progress in public administration and rule of law. Contrary to the shortages, in 1999 Czech government adopted the economic strategy determining economic policy priorities and basic rules for regional development, which was evaluated very positively.
I am not a lawyer to describe the improvement of the rule of law or a person working in the state administration to describe the bureaucracy progress and the reduction of corruption, however I do understand regional development and I do know how much the EU has contributed to the regional development in the Czech Republic. In the last years, we can see how many regional development strategies (on the national level as well as on the regional level) are set. This is the basic condition for the development. According to these strategies the Czech Republic is able to set the development projects in motion and obtain requested grants. It applies not only to the state administration, but to the private sector, too. General examples might be number of new school gardens, sport places or institutions for educating seniors set up in the last ten years. Specific example of a successful international cooperation is e.g. the projects of creating new cycling trails among towns in the South Moravia and Austria.
Second of all, Moldova can learn from the social aspect of the integration the Czech Republic has experienced. It is said the EU accession was a civilization jump for countries from the former Communist bloc. Also, it was a social jump. Not all the countries were prepared to use the institutional know – how. The process of creating “western” democracy was significantly slower than in the other member countries. On one hand, young generation did not have a problem to get used to easier travelling, studying abroad or trading internationally. On the other hand, there is a question how the older generations have got used to it and last but not least there was an unfriendly situation with Roma minority, which is still not solved out completely.
In conclusion, the economic and legislation situation has made a significant progress in the Czech Republic. GDP per person has grown faster (particularly due to cohesion policy and single market) than if the Czech Republic would be out of the EU. The total amount of received money was estimated on 3 000 billion Czech crowns (Government of the Czech Republic, 2014). Also, state institutions´ procedures are considered to be more transparent than before. Although The Czech Republic might be thought to be more eurosceptic country than Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, times are changing and all eurosceptics (the Czech Republic, too) should be aware of the EU´s membership benefits and should try to be a sample for other potential member states.