Vivid Discussions on Gagauz and Moldovan Identity at first MIDEU Town Hall Meeting

On Friday, June 23 2017, the first Town Hall Meeting within the framework of the MIDEU project on national identity in Moldova within the process of EU associ­ation took place in Comrat, the capital of the autonomous district Gagauzia.

Repre­sen­ta­tives of national and local author­ities, members of civil society organi­za­tions and a repre­sen­tative of the European Union discussed the issue of national identity in Moldova, and Gagauzia in particular, as well as the role of the European Union in the protection of minority rights.

Many partic­i­pants addressed the challenge of preserving personal identities and cultures while at the same time creating a common identity of all Moldovan citizens. The discussion also touched upon the issue of language and education policy, including the necessity of oppor­tu­nities and incen­tives for minority groups to learn the state language. Furthermore, partic­i­pants talked about the role of the media in shaping people’s opinions and called on them to contribute to uniting society.

Concerning the role of the European Union in the protection of minorities, the speakers empha­sized the readiness of the EU to support Moldova in including its minority popula­tions. However, they called on Moldova to pursue integration of minorities not for the sake of EU associ­ation, but for its own interest in becoming a strong and stable state. In addition, the often distorted image of the EU and the problem of politi­cians exploiting this discourse was addressed.

The MIDEU project is imple­mented by the Institut für Europäische Politik (Berlin) in cooper­ation with the Institute for Strategic Initia­tives IPIS (Chişinău) and the Institute for European Policy and Reforms IPRE (Chişinău). It is kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.