„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.