Civil Society and Stakeholders Discuss Inter-ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion in Moldova at CIVID Midterm Dialogue

On 5 March, the mid-term dialogue workshop in the framework of the project “Promoting civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova in the context of the EU associ­ation process” (CIVID) took place in Chisinau. Around 45 partic­i­pants, including repre­sen­ta­tives of ethnic minority groups, civil society activists, journalists, experts, as well as policy makers partic­i­pated in the workshop on “Inter-ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion in the Republic of Moldova”.

After welcome remarks and a presen­tation of the project activ­ities by the imple­menting partners, Ewa Chylinski, researcher at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), shared her sugges­tions on creating an insti­tu­tional framework to promote harmo­nious inter-ethnic relations and to ensure the inclusion of all minority groups, drawing on experi­ences from other countries. The project experts presented the key findings and recom­men­da­tions collected during the previous dialogue events in different thematic areas: Social Rights, Economic Devel­opment, Education and Media, and the EU Associ­ation Agreement. In the subse­quent discussion with the partic­i­pants, these issues and recom­men­da­tions were criti­cally discussed, and further sugges­tions made. Among other things the partic­i­pants proposed to revise the internal regula­tions of public service providers such as public admin­is­tration, health and social services in order to assure access to services for all citizens irrespective of their ethnic background. The creation of media associ­a­tions sensitive to inter-ethnic relations, a potential bill of principles for the media regarding the reporting on ethnic commu­nities, as well as the proposal to build coali­tions of NGOs to monitor and sanction discrim­i­natory narra­tives and hate speech were also among the issues discussed.

Topics of the concluding panel were the inter­re­lation between guaran­teeing social and civic rights to all citizens and social cohesion in the Republic of Moldova, the next actions to be addressed by a new government, as well as possi­bil­ities to further support the imple­men­tation of the Action Plan to strengthen inter-ethnic relations. The speakers stressed the need to mainstream minority issues in the political discourse and to prevent political exploitation of the dividing lines, as well as the need for sanctioning of divisive and discrim­i­natory rhetoric. The imple­menting partners highlighted that the project was designed to achieve this very inclusion of minority issues in the political agenda and public discourses and has already made consid­erable progress in this regard through its diverse project activ­ities, including public confer­ences, dialogue events and TV debates.

The project “Promoting civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova in the context of the EU associ­ation process“ (CIVID) is imple­mented by the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) in partnership with our Moldovan partners, the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and the Institute for Strategic Initia­tives (IPIS), and kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.