CIVID-project starts with Opening Conference on 1 October 2018 in Chisinau
On 1 October 2018, the new project “Promoting civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova in the context of the EU association process (CIVID)” was officially launched. More than 60 representatives of civil society organisations, government institutions and the media participated in the discussion on “Civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova – Challenges, actors and solutions” at the CIVID Opening Conference, which took place in Chisinau.
The CIVID-project is jointly implemented by the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and its Moldovan partners, the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS) and the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), and kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Through diverse project activities, such as public conferences, dialogue workshops and policy debates, the project seeks to promote inter-ethnic dialogue on the modernisation of Moldova in the framework of the EU association process and to develop concrete suggestions to improve social cohesion in the Republic of Moldova.
After welcoming remarks and a short presentation of the CIVID-project by the directors of the three implementing organisations, Dr. Funda Tekin (IEP), Iulian Groza (IPRE) and Vladislav Kulminski (IPIS), H.E. Peter Michalko, Head of EU Delegation to Moldova, and H.E. Angela Ganninger, German Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, delivered keynote speeches. The two ambassadors voiced their support for the project and stressed the shared interest of all ethnic groups in living in a democratic and prosperous state and the importance to work together to this end.
The first panel with Serghei Pirozhkov, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Moldova, Oazu Nantoi, Director of Programs at the Institute for Public Policies, and Olga Goncearova, Chair of the Assembly of the People of Moldova, focused on the state of play of inter-ethnic relations and social cohesion in the Republic of Moldova. Pirozhkov described the situation of ethnic minorities in Ukraine as an example, stating that the countries in the post-Soviet space face similar problems with regard to social cohesion. He stressed that while a certain degree of consolidation of a society was desirable, this process should not be absolute in order to avoid a totalitarian society. Nantoi strongly argued against so-called “identity entrepreneurs” who use identity as a polarising tool to gain power and earn personal benefits, and called on all Moldovan citizens to perceive themselves as part of one country and jointly work for its benefit. This view was shared by Goncearova, who expressed the opinion that most of the dividing lines between ethnic groups are created artificially in order to distract attention from the real problems which Moldova is facing.
The second panel focused on the most pressing challenges, the key actors and potential solutions for promoting a constructive inter-ethnic dialogue and social cohesion in Moldova. Nicolae Cheleș, Coordinator of the Youth Platform for inter-ethnic solidarity, gave on overview of the initiatives and programs initiated by his platform and stated that especially young people are willing to integrate into each other’s culture, and to learn the language and history of others. According to Alexei Tulbure, former Ambassador of Moldova to the UN, before being able to integrate minorities into society, there needs to be a discussion and consensus on which kind of society one wants to build. He underlined the need to identify the key pillars of Moldova’s future development, which in his opinion should be a functioning democracy, with rule of law, respect for human rights, a free media, and a national identity defined by citizenship rather than ethnicity. Also Virgil Pislariuc, historian at the Moldova State University, stressed the importance of a common project for the future of Moldova in order to build a united society and identified equal citizens’ rights as a key uniting factor.
The live-stream of the CIVID Opening Conference can be watched here (RO/RU).
For more information on the CIVID project click here.
The CIVID-project is a follow-up project to the MIDEU-project “Strengthening the National Identity in Moldova within the EU association process“, implemented in 2017. More information on the MIDEU-project can be found here.