The failure of the European strategy: the French press on the elections in Moldova

The French press wrote about in last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Moldova. As announced on Monday, February 25, Central election Commission of the country, first place was won by the socialist party of incumbent President Igor Dodon, in addition to her, the Parliament passed four parties. However, none of the political forces did not gain an absolute majority of votes, in order to form the government. Le Figaro explains to his readers the importance of the past vote. Liberation draws attention to the revealed voting irregularities. Le Monde writes about the victory of Pro-Russian forces and the defeat of the European strategy.

This small country one of the poorest countries in Europe with a population of just 3.5 million people is nevertheless of strategic importance for the European Union and Russia, writes Liberation. Since its independence in 1991, Moldova is divided into those who seek to become part of Romania, and those who are nostalgic for the Soviet past and sympathizes with Russia. As one example of this split, the newspaper cites the fact that on the one hand Chisinau signed the Association agreement with the European Union. The other part of the country (Transnistria) is still under the control of Russian soldiers.

“Don’t be deceived, when we talk about Pro-Russian or Pro-European forces in Moldova, warns in turn, the professors of the Paris Institute of political studies Sciences Po, Florent Parmentier. Is incomparable with other, more emotional situation in Ukraine. In Moldova there are more pragmatism than ideology”. The main trade of Moldova with Europe, not with Russia, but nostalgia for the Soviet era is stronger than in other former republics of the Union. And these sentiments have not changed, even with the advent of the “Pro-European forces” in 2009, a French expert explains.

On the other hand, for Europeans as for Russia, relations with the Moldovan politicians are not so much economic value, how much is strategic, says Le Figaro. This small country, the size of the French region of Burgundy, located between Romania, where based objectionable to Russia of U.S. missile defense system, and Ukraine, a country where the clash of Russian and European interests have led to bloody conflict, lasting for five years.

By itself, the victory of Pro-Russian forces is not a political shock, writes from Chisinau special correspondent for Le Monde Benoit Witkin. Besides, Pro-Russian forces themselves do not promise revolutionary change strategic course. This would be unrealistic in a country where 69% of exports go to the European Union and only 9% — in Russia. But still, such an outcome is quite remarkable for a country which for many years was “a diligent student of European integration” and signed the Association agreement with the EU.

“I don’t believe that Moldova can really get out of the agreement with the European Union, despite the fact that the President said he speaks about it regularly,” says the article in Le Figaro Director of the French-Russian Analytical center “Observo” Arnaud Dubien. More likely is that can resume the negotiations on the status of Transnistria, where since 1991, is stationed thousands of Russian soldiers. Also, according to the French expert, Moscow may try to increase the influence through Gagauzia, another Autonomous region with the Pro-Russian population.

This defeat as Pro-European parties of Moldova and of Europe itself, which bears its share of responsibility for this result, according to the author of the article in Le Monde. On Sunday, voters in Moldova did not so much geopolitical choice, as they wanted to punish the ruling corrupt elite, which is too supportive of the EU.

The corruption undermines the credibility of the election itself, wrote in turn to Liberation, referring to the statement of the OSCE observers, which refers to the allegations of bribery of voters, use of administrative resource, as well as the control of the media by political forces. Obviously, there is a view of the oligarch and Chairman of the Democratic party of Moldova Vladimir plahotniuc.

The leader of the electoral list third place winner of the Democratic party Vladimir plahotniuc actually privatized the state, explains Le Monde. Gradually over the past years under his control passed all major sectors of the economy, judicial and administrative organs of the major media. And at the same time, the European Union continues to make Plahotniuc your privileged partner.

As a result, despite the 800 million euros of financial assistance allocated by the European Union to Chisinau from 2010 to 2015, a positive attitude of Moldovans towards the EU has declined over these five years with more than 70% to less than 50%. “Europe did it all wrong. It allocates financial assistance, showing favour in respect of spoiled and cynical oligarchy, plunder their own state,” leads Le Monde anonymous European diplomat.
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