„We should focus on what unites us, not on what divides us” – 3rd MIDEU Town Hall Debate held in Cahul

The third Town Hall Debate within the project “Strength­ening the National Identity of Moldova within the EU associ­ation process” (MIDEU) was held on Thursday, 19 October, in Cahul.

The partic­i­pants were welcomed by the Prorector of Cahul State University “B.P.Hasdeu”, Oleg Danilceac, the mayor of Cahul, Nicolai Dandis, as well as Sergiu Conovalu, national programme officer at OSCE High Commis­sioner on National Minorities.

After the intro­ductory remarks, the panelists discussed the main challenges in the process of integrating different ethnic groups and creating a sense of civic identity in Moldova. Sergiu Constantin from the Institute for Minority Rights at Eurac Research presented the Italian approach of integrating different ethnic and linguistic groups as a potential example. For the success of such an effort he stressed the impor­tance of the funda­mental principle, that all citizens should feel secure in their respective identities, without pressure to adopt another one, as well as the need for insti­tu­tion­alized cooper­ation and repre­sen­tation of all ethnic groups. Other speakers stressed the lack of imple­men­tation of laws and of financial resources, unsettled terri­torial disputes and a polarized political environment as major challenges in the process of building a civic identity and sense of belonging to the Moldovan state.

The panel discussion was followed by an open debate with the audience, where members of civil society organi­za­tions, repre­sen­ta­tives of the university and academia as well as public officials shared their views and sugges­tions concerning the topic. Some partic­i­pants highlighted the necessity of active partic­i­pation of all citizens in the process of identity building, the readiness to accept each other’s identities and the impor­tance of inter­cul­tural education and dialogue to promote common values. A central issue invoked by many speakers was the need to focus on uniting factors, instead of dividing ones, in order to jointly promote common objec­tives such as rule of law, equality and economic well-being.

A live stream of the event can be watched here (Romanian/Moldovan):

Following the event, the panelists partic­i­pated in a TV debate on the same topic. Watch the debate here (Romanian/Moldovan):

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 supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.