Virtual EU-Awareness Workshop for discussing the EU Moldova Association Agreement in Edinet, Moldau
On Thursday 04 June 2020 , within the framework of the project “EU perceptions and reality in Moldova (WE&EU)” the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP), the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS) jointly organised the fourth (virtual) EU Awareness Workshop targeting the Rayon Edinet, Moldova. . Around thirty local representatives of politics, economy and civil society took part in this online workshop.
The aim of the event was both to promote an informative exchange about the EU association agreement as well as to gain insights into the perceptions of local actors of society with regards to the implementation of the agreement. In order to counter misinformation and myths, project materials such as fact-checks and videos about EU-success stories were shared with the audience.
In the beginning of the event, the significance of a fact-based exchange and discussion for an effective political decision making was emphasized. This was followed by an introduction of two fact-checks:one informing about the financial assistance of the Republic of Moldova provided by the EU and another one highlighting the benefits of the bilateral trade since the launch of the association agreement. In this regard, it was stressed that the EU remains Moldova’s biggest donor – especially also within the present crisis situation. It was mentioned that from 2009–2019 1,9 Billion EUR of financial assistance have been offered to the Republic of Moldova and in order to mitigate the Covid-Crisis 87 Mio EUR have been directed towards the health and social sector, as well as another 100 Million EUR will be provided for macroeconomic stabilization. Through sharing specific information and facts with the participants, the first part of the event provided transparency about the economic dimension of the EU-Moldova relations. The second part of the event served as a platform to promote fact-based exchange on EU’s impact on the municipal level with the mayors of the rayon. Following an input on prominent Covid-19 related fake news that also circulate in the regional media, majors of the region highlighted challenges they face when cooperating with national authorities in Chişinău. In this context, it was highlighted that the budget allocation for projects turns out to be more efficient when realized in a decentralized way. While the cooperation with central authorities has been experienced to be often inefficient, this deficiency at the same time contributes to the lack of awareness within the population when it comes to the implementation of EU funded projects. The unawareness among Moldovan citizens about EU support for the health care sector during the Covid-19 crisis is the latest prominent example. Thus, it was concluded that a substantial decentralization of EU assistance and units of administration was necessary in order to improve the perception that implementation of EU assistance was rather ineffective and inefficient. This concern was also shared by the present experts who reemphasized the correlation between greater autonomy and more visible successes in the realization of project ideas. Overall, the discussions during the event took place in a very factual and objective manner. Following the event, an anonymized survey was carried out which displayed a high resonance and affirmation of the event among the present participants.
The project “WE&EU: EU Perceptions and Reality in Moldova” aims at making a substantial contribution to overcoming the societal dividing lines in Moldova regarding the EU rapprochement process by promoting informed intra-societal dialogue on the specific contents and underlying values of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement and the concrete benefits of modernising Moldova in the course of the EU rapprochement process. The project activities between July 2019 and June 2020 include citizens’ dialogues, workshops, public conferences and TV debates in diverse regions such as Basarabeasca, Orhei, Nisporeni and Ungheni.
The project is kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
More information on the project can be found here.