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: Can the Experience of Visegrad Countries be useful to Moldova’s European Integration?
Author: Václav Kříž
University: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Science, 5th Year
It can be said that out of the all V4 countries Poland is these days the one in lead in the EU political affairs. Having Mr. Tusk at the post of the President of the European Council it shows quite obviously that it is so. It’s pro European – or to put it better way pro EU – stance and activities are strong and they bring Poland many benefits as well as recognition from other member states.
Mr. Orban’s Hungary is currently condemning the EU for it’s liberal democracy ideas. The chairman of the Hungarian parliament just recently threatened that Hungary might leave the EU if it won’t stop with it’s actions against the sovereignty of the Hungarian state. Not much of the success to be talking about in this case.
Czech situation is quite interesting also. Due to the lack of the public debate ergo lack of the decisive YES to the EU and whole integration it was quite easy for Mr. Klaus to shift large part of population to so called Euroskepticsm. His ten years of presidency brought focus of public to his quite critical voice and it shifted significantly Czech way of thinking of the EU. These days we can see better recognition of the EU membership possibilities by Czech political elites however there is much to be fixed and changed.
In Slovakia politicians recognized potential of the EU and they rushed to be fully integrated in its structure. Therefore there it is the only country having Euro out of all the V4 countries. However there can be some voices heard from Slovakia saying that there is no criticism of the whole integration due to the fact that it is simply political suicide to criticize the EU. More critical approach to the EU affairs might be needed.
These just show partial aspects of the membership of the of the V4 countries in the EU. They show quite obviously that in all four countries the EU affairs are dealt with and understood differently. Can it be explained by the size of those countries, different mentalities of which understanding we can blame on really shallow stereotypes? Might be so, but if we want to seriously look for the reasons and roots for their stance and their current state of the EU affairs. We need to take a look into their transitions eras, which basically are the same eras when they were on their way to the EU. In that transition we will find political, economical and social basis on which these countries run and will run in the years come. The transition era defined V4 countries for years and defined their approach towards the EU as well as their behavior within the EU. It’s important to recognize that due to Moldova’s struggle for transition and possible EU membership.
What I’m getting to is that the root of the European integration isnt ccwce﷽﷽﷽of the European integration isnmocratic rule of law based civic societies. es in the era of transition of these counti’t just in the membership in the EU. In case of the post communist countries it is also and perhaps more importantly about the first step to actually get the bases for the membership. This is firsthand about building up democratic state with well running institutions, rule of law, stable economy (basically fulfilling Copenhagen criteria) and also well-defined national interests. In this sense Moldova has long way to go and it could be said that it didn’t come closer to fulfill the requirements in the recent years.
V4 has great chance here not just to bring Moldova on the path of integration to the EU (author at this point sees it as synonymous to European integration) but to actually functional state. Why that it is needed? To build up self-confident state with strong civil society, which will be able to comprehend the issue of the EU membership. The functional state with strong democracy and well functional rule of law as well as with economically sufficiently suited population will be able to responsibly and consciously decide on it’s future and objectives. It will be able to define its national interest.
It won’t happen as it happened in the Czech Republic that public debate would be defined by basically one man’s opinion because the others didn’t debate it before. Then the majority of the nation believes that the EU is something really dangerous. It won’t happen that the EU membership will backfire and will be used as tool of anti-democratic practices as it happened in Hungary. It won’t happen that as in Slovakia it is little heard of criticism of the EU. And it will perhaps happen that even thou small Moldova will have one day President of the European Council.
For its successful story Moldova needs to use good and understand bad practices in the V4 countries during the period of the transition. Its aim isn’t to have functional state and that only then proceed to the EU membership.