In your opinion, are the countries of Visegrad well positioned for sharing their reform and integration experience with Moldova? Do you believe that there are areas where such experience may be valuable to Moldova? What would be your recommendations for governments of Moldova and Visegrad in this respect?
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: In your opinion, are the countries of Visegrad well positioned for sharing their reform and integration experience with Moldova? Do you believe that there are areas where such experience may be valuable to Moldova? What would be your recommendations for governments of Moldova and Visegrad in this respect?
Author: Matej Benus
University: University of Matej Bel, Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations, 3rd year
Becoming a member of the EU, and thus integrating into the structures of the pan-European area and starting down the path of mutual cooperation, is both a unique and common path to travel down for both current and future members of the Union.
One the one hand, each country brings its own specific set of circumstances, obstacles and opportunities – whether it is in the political, economic or geographical area. However, on the other hand, matching the Copenhagen Criteria and evolving into the version of the state that these criteria necessitate is a methodical step-by-step process that shares many commonalities amongst the countries that have already done so.
There is a vast number of areas that can benefit from the V4 sharing its know-how and knowledge. Economic structures that are sustainable in the long-term in the current capitalistic and continually consolidated EU market have specific requirements in order to succeed in a country that is coming from a very different mindset and structure. These have been successfully implemented in all V4 countries
However, the main obstacles here are, in my opinion, not the reforms themselves. Instead, the inherent difficulty in informing and bringing together individual economic subjects and consumers and showing them both a short and long-term plan (and the steps needed for its successful implementation) that will bring the country to a competitive level among EU countries, poses the greatest challenge.
Business owners and other economic subjects need to feel a level of trust and transparency if they are to be aligned with the goals of the government in integrating Moldova. And while this does seem like a straight-forward and obvious statement, the execution of this idea can be a trying ordeal that is difficult to navigate. What is positive, however, is that its implementation is an area where V4 countries can help greatly.
In past campaigns to spread the word regarding the benefits of integration in the beginning of the 21st century, Slovakia’s government enlisted the help and cooperated with NGOs (as well as various non-for-profit and student organizations) to communicate their ideas and the goals set by the European Union and Copenhagen Criteria.
And the results of this speak for themselves – Slovakia has integrated into the EU almost seamlessly, while also abandoning past malpractices and working on improving its transparency and budget efficiency. High-school and university students are becoming more informed about the current situation in Europe and there is a great will to make their voice heard amongst this age group. This interest level is also reflected in the upcoming debate between students of all V4 countries and Moldova.
Reaching this, and other target demographics, then, becomes a must-have priority. And this is one of the areas with which V4 countries are well equipped to offer guidance (and even support). While looking at the areas of reform for each country and fixing whatever systems are in place that need to fixed is of the utmost importance, handling this area can lead to a more simple and seamless transition.
Outlining the structure of media, print, online and word-of-mouth promotion regarding Moldova’s EU integration, while also cooperating with the right organizations in reaching this goal are things that all V4 countries have done and are currently still doing.
Specific frameworks can be shared, various tried and tested methods can be handed down, and V4 organizations themselves can assist Moldova’s NGOs in building a network of informed and knowledgeable citizens.
While the reform process itself and its various stages are of the utmost importance, implementing them becomes another thing entirely without the support of the majority of the population, making V4’s experiences and knowledge a must-share resource for Moldova.