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.
Republic of Moldova
Title: The usefulness of the experience of Visegrad Countries for Moldova’s European Integration
Author: Alexa Mihaela
University: Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, International Economic Relations; 3rd year
In the new political conditions made after 1985 by the glasnost arrangement presented by Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1986, backing the perestroika (rebuilding), a Democratic Movement of Moldova was shaped, which in 1989 got to be known as the pro-nationalistic Popular Front of Moldova. From 1988 onwards, Moldova has begun to move towards autonomy along with the other peripheral Soviet republics. On 27 August 1989, the PFM, arranged a demonstration in Chişinău, that became known as the Great National Gathering, which pushed the authorities of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to adopt on 31 August 1989 a language law that proclaimed Moldovan language written in the Latin script the state language of the Moldavian SSR. Once with the country’s independence, Moldova has been subject to the painful changes from planned economy to market economy. The process of transition to market economy led to unwanted consequences for the population. For example, price liberalization which was one of the market reforms implemented by Moldova in January, 1992, resulted 2,600% inflation and a further 700% inflation in 1993. Consequently, the newly created independent country Republic of Moldova endured its worst economic crisis that left the greater part of the population beneath the poverty line. The end of the planned economy implied also that the industrial enterprises would need to purchase supplies and offer their products independently from anyone else, but the problem being, the most of the management was not prepared for such a change. Moldova undertook a privatization plan which was effective in the transfer of the ownership of houses to the people. The attempted privatization of production means did not boost the economy as it was desired. International financial institutions have overestimated the volume of Moldova’s economy and government to withstand the transition to market economy and forced the nation to open its market to outside merchandise without execution of any effective action to support internal production. Subsequently, Moldova’s industries became lifeless, while unemployment skyrocketed.
Republic of Moldova wasn’t yet ready for its independence, due to several factors, mainly due to the lack of knowledge. I most often compare the independence of Moldova with the independence of a child; it doesn’t really work without any external help or advice. Due to the fear of dealing with the transition problems all alone, Moldova, in 1994, has joined the Commonwealth of Independent Countries. The main objective of CIS was to increase cooperation in trade among member states, boost the economy of member states, and protect human rights. Unfortunately, all this objectives of CIS were not fully enforced, due to the last illegal embargoes on several Moldovan products set by Russia and Belarus. Hence, Moldova decided to diversify its trade opportunities with the West vector, integrating into European Union. This market opens up 507, 4 million of new consumers, which is an opportunity for Moldovan manufacturers. Although along with opportunities, the European market sets different obligations Moldova should follow. On the path of integration different countries may serve as a successful example for Moldova, especially the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). As well as Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) can have a complementary, supporting role for Republic of Moldova. These nations, effectively acquainted with integration process, can help Moldova to change and empower the state institutions, which are the preconditions for Moldova to attain its european dreams. To attain down to earth results V4 members should center their support on strategies where the potential for fortifying the conclusions is conceivable. In Moldova, the implementation of reforms related to justice and law enforcement systems remains slow, while corruption remains an endemic problem, which needs to be urgently solved in order to assure the efficient functioning of public institutions. Poland, for example, has concentrated to the consolidation of democratic institutions in order to combat corruption.
According to corruption perception index till 2007 Poland (44th) was the most corrupted country in the EU, however, after Romania and Bulgaria joined the union, Poland ceased to be the last one. In 2013 CPI notes an improvement in Polish situation (38th) pertaining to limiting the corruption in the country, which was attributed to both a broad civil support for fighting corruption as well as institutional reforms. Another reform implemented by V4 countries could serve the economic modernization. The most important reform agenda regarding the modernization of the Moldovan economy is to strengthen the market economy. Let us see the different strategies taken by Visegrad countries in order to strengthen their market economy. For example, Czech Republic implemented radical reforms and a rapid pace of privatization by using a unique mass privatization method. Therefore, Moldova may continue the process of privatization of the unprofitable and deeply unreformed state-owned enterprises. Slovakia (49th) and Poland (45th) enjoys the best environment for doing business among the V4 countries according to the 2011 report prepared by the World Bank. Hence, Republic of Moldova (78th) could also improve its business environment for foreign investors and support the development of the physical infrastructure. The Czech Republic is one of the most successful transition economies in terms of attracting foreign direct investment. . The implementation of EU rules and regulations has also helped to improve the business environment and attract FDI. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Czech Republic has consistently attracted a high rate of foreign direct investment per capita since 2000 ($2,432), which confirms the country’s strong attractiveness for foreign investors. For more than 20 years, local participation of the V4 has effectively created in the intersectoral/interministerial field, e.g. in such areas as the economy, infrastructure, energy, cross-border cooperation, cultural exchanges and scholarships, coordination of foreign policy positions and pursuance of common interests within the EU and opposite third nations/areas.
In this context the Eastern Partnership should be mentioned as an initiative of European Union administrating its relations with the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine expected to give a venue of trade, economic strategy, travel agreements, and other issues between the EU and its eastern neighbors. This project was initiated by Poland, one of the members V4 and a subsequent proposal was prepared in co-operation with Sweden. The Eastern Partnership is a project intended to improve the political and economic trade-relations of the six Post-Soviet states of “strategic importance” – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine with the European Union. Promotion of human rights and rule of law in former Soviet states has been reported to form the “core” of the policy of the Eastern Partnership.
If our dreams of integrating with the EU are to become reality, The republic of Moldova should work hard on implementing reforms modeled on those done in the V4 countries. Moldova should further deepen it’s cooperation with Visegrad countries and undertake more shared ventures (e.g. VisegrAid 4 Moldova: Effectiveness by collaboration:The Czech policy on Moldovae; Hungarian engagement in Moldova; Polish development assistance for Moldova; Assessment of the Slovak assistance to Moldova).
Thus, the will, perseverance, conviction and dedication of all people, not only the government should be a motivating force for all Moldovans.