Interview with Victor Chirila: The Alliance for European Integration should return to its basic document that is the government program. Vocea Basarabiei. 10.07.2011.

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Corneliu RUSNAC, IMEDIA: To what extent the visit of the President of the European Council could boost reforms in the R. Moldova?

Victor CHIRILA: Mr. Van Rompuy sent, in my opinion, two important and timely messages for us all. First, he has made it clear that R. Moldova must be actively involved in combating corruption which erodes state institutions, political parties, the business community in R. Moldova, the good functioning of the economy, eroding even the efficiency of R. Moldovas democratic system. This must be fought. This can not be fought unless you reform the country’s judicial system, the police. Corruption can not be combated without making radical changes in the judiciary and the Ministry of Interior. In addition to that, in order for these goals, these objectives to be achieved, I think, R. Moldova needs political and istituional stability. Maybe some are against it, but I think that fighting corruption should not be made an absolute objective on the expense of the current political alliance on which the present government rely on; on which proper functioning of institutions, political stability of R. Moldova is based on; on which you could build consistency and predictability in relation to our neighbors and countrys society.

Fighting corruption requires political stability and this means not only to elect the President. Election of the President, no doubt, is a political problem, an institutional crisis to some extent, which affects the good governance of the present Alliance, but I think we need more cohesive, greater cooperation, greater solidarity, coordination between all political parties on which the fate of the country depends on. Country’s fate depends not only on the Alliance for European Integration, it also depends on the Communist Party which needs to be more engaged in political processes, not isolating itself from these processes, to be less aggressive, be more engaged in finding possible partners. We need a credible opposition party to monitor the actions of the governing. Without such an responsible opposition party, we are doomed to witness endless scandals among members of the Alliance for European Integration. I believe that members of the Alliance for European Integration need to cool down their spirits and to control their ambitions and reach compromises in the dialogue between them. I think we have a lack of dialogue.There is a lack of trust between members of the Alliance for European Integration and this not only disturb us, citizens of R. Moldova, but increasingly raises questions in European capitals about Government effectiveness and ability to lead this governance reform agenda the way they announced it in March 2010 in Brussels.

Corneliu RUSNAC: Speaking about the financial support offered to the R. Moldova by the EU, Herman Van Rompuy said the following more for more”, meaning more money for more reforms. What does this mean in practice?

Victor CHIRILA: Basically it’s very simple. If R. Moldova will register no progress on reforms and, in particular, regarding the Ministry of Interior, the judiciary system, it will not get those 50 million Euro to reform this system. Reforming this sector is an essential prerequisite for starting an efective fight against corruption. Corruption can not be tackled overnight, but it is very important to have some effective institutional tools to combat constantly this phenomenon, to reduce its impact on society and on the functioning of state institutions. Corruption undermines any idea of European integration, any idea of modernizing R. Moldova. We need increased EU financial assistance, yet in order to get it we have to demonstrate progress on reforms and on commitments we have agreed with the EU. For now, unfortunately, judicial reform and reform of the Ministry of Interior are almost stalled. As a result, the EU assiatnace might not be received in the nearest future. Moreover, how to give 50 million euros to institutions that are eroded by corruption? How could we be certain that this money will not disappear like many other loans and donations made by our development partners? We must show to our partners that this money will be spent effectively.

Corneliu RUSNAC: After all the problems that have been registered recently, to what extent R. Moldova could preserve the chance of having an image of success story in relations with the EU?

Victor CHIRILA: I think the Alliance for European Integration should return to the basic document that is the government program. It has been negotiated with much difficulty, after many discussions and sleepless nights, in particular, by the society which expected this document to unite all in order to achieve a major goal, such as European integration, which means modernization of our country, welfare and prosperity, social and political stability for all of us. Or, this document is increasingly forgotten by members of the Alliance. In that document are set out concrete steps that are meant to contribute to the fight against corruption. We mustnt reinvent the wheel. The governmental program describes step by step what has to be done. Therefore, the Alliance should focus on discussing the implementation of reformes specified by the governmental program. There shouldnt be abstract talks about fighting corruption. Combating corruption requires precise reforms aimed at specific institutions. If a certain party of the Alliance is against those reforms, then, in that case, the member of the Alliance that wishes to implement as soon as possible this agenda must come before the people and say Look, we want to do this, we meet resistance, we need your support, we need societys support to push forward reforms in those areas”. I personally, and many citizens of our country do not hear such a speech, instead there are talks about a corrupted and clientele system that impedes reforms, but we never get to the essence. What should be changed? What are those practices that obstruct the reforms? What are those people that prevent reforms? The practices are not abstract, they are perpetuated by people and this must be clearly stated. People sometimes become obstacles in implementing reforms and if these people hinder the Governments program, then there should be found ways to replace them from the positions that enable them to oppose the reform agenda.

Corneliu RUSNAC: To what extent R. Moldovas development partners could somehow influence, or suggested to the current Alliance to overcome inside tensions?

Victor CHIRILA: European Union and development partners have promised us almost 2 billion euros in March 2010 for a concrete program of reforms called Rethink Moldova”. This is a very important tool in determining R. Moldova, the Moldovan government to respect their commitments. In addition, this openness is not unconditional. On the contrary, it is conditioned on reform results and not on a pro-European speech which would alleviate the European officials, flatter them with beautiful and promising things about the political will that exists in R. Moldova. There are more and more questions about the political will. Political will without delivering concret results is a bluff. The EUs openness, its willingness to support us is also a privilege for us, a privilege that can act upon us as a pressure tool. We can lose the EU political and financial support at any time, if we dont keep our promises, if we always talk about fighting corruption, but do nothing in institutions that we manage. Firstly, we have to demonstrate concrete deeds in institutions that you govern and then put pressure on all parts of the power to do the same. A greater frankness is needed including from the part of the European Union. EU must now understand that the Alliance for European Integration reached a turning point, crucial for its existence. It is a delicate time when there is needed not only praise and encouragement. EU has to be frank with Moldovan politicians about negative developments that are registered recently in Moldova, which can undermine the country’s political stability and reform agenda.

Can we afford now a new political alliance that would include the Party of Communists, that still has an aggressive speech against the Alliance partners, potential partners in the Alliance?; that uses meetings with European partners, including with Van Rompuy to complain instead to discuss the current and future reform agenda of the country? It is time for the Party of Communists to become realistic, sober and open to the entire society. We’ve had enough of this hatred towards Romania, the EU and the US. We are fed up with their arrogance. These do not prove that they are really interested in a partnership, a possible coalition with another political party in order to carry out the country’s modernization agenda, an agenda that brings us closer to EU. Therefore, I believe that European officials, European politicians have to balance their messages of praise with sincere messages about the real situation in the country, so as to determine politicians from Chisinau to engage more seriously and thoroughly in the process of reforms.