Posted inEastern Europe & Russia, Regions, Southeastern Europe

A Bitter-Sweet Pill

A Bitter-Sweet Pill 8534-a-bitter-sweet-pillA Bitter-Sweet Pill30 January 2003 CHISINAU, Moldova (Flux)–The acting president of the European Council, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, also the prime minister of Denmark, has answered [Moldovan President] Vladimir Voronin’s letter of 2 December 2002. At the end of last year Voronin–strongly impressed, if not even scared by Romania joining NATO and its real chance of joining the European Union in 2007–sent a passionate message to Brussels. In the letter, Voronin pledged his faith in democratic ideals and practically implored the EU not to leave Moldova outside the integration process. As the letter was sent on the eve of the Christmas vacation, Voronin had to wait for more than six weeks for an answer.

Rasmussen’s letter was delicate, at times even comforting, but mostly, it was distant. The Danes are, of course, glacial and unruffled phlegmatics, deprived of the hot agility of the Latin spirit. But it was not his temperament, to be sure, that determined the coldness with which the president of the European Council wrote to Voronin. Rasmussen, to avoid telling lies on the one hand, and to avoid aggrieving Voronin on the other, could only be evasive. First, he told Voronin that the Republic of Moldova would become a neighbor to the EU, but he avoided making any promises that the country could ever join the union. Further down, in order to sweeten the pill, the Danish prime minister gave assurances that the expansion process would not create new divisions in the continent. He soothed Voronin by saying that the EU had started developing a legal framework for a long-term integration policy concerning its new neighbors, Moldova being one of them. Chisinau may count, Rasmussen wrote, on the advantages offered to a country situated on the border of the EU. This was because, Rasmussen added, stability and prosperity would be promoted not only in EU member states, but also at EU borders and beyond.

The story, however, doesn’t end here. Further down, Rasmussen made it clear to Voronin that he wouldn’t be able to give Europe the slip by combining the pleasure of communist nostalgia with the utility of Western aid and investments. The EU’s policy towards its neighbors, Rasmussen emphasized, would be developed along the principle of differentiation. In other words, the relations between the EU and neighboring states would develop according to the aspirations of their respective peoples, their willingness to implement reforms, but also the results achieved by each country. It’s a statement that says it all, isn’t it? Comments would be superfluous.

To cut a long story short, I will clarify in conclusion that the letter of the European dignitary has been addressed, in fact, not only to Voronin but to the whole nation. He wrote unequivocally that the relations between the EU and Moldova are based only on common values. Clear, isn’t it? While communism, the Russia-Belarus union, the kolkhozes, Soviet-style districts, might be appealing for many Moldovan voters, they are not the values cherished by the free world. If we don’t get rid of Bolshevik manners, Rasmussen suggests, there is no way we could become a respectable neighbor, let alone a fully fledged member of the European family.

Written by Petru Bogatu. Translated by Iulian Robu.