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"Our goal, as with many other nations, is to become a self-confident, prosperous and democratic home to all of our citizens" An interview of H.E. Igor Munteanu, Ambassador of the RM to the USA and Canada for The Huffington Post

An interview of H.E. Igor Munteanu, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the USA and Canada, on the past, present and future of the Republic of Moldova.

Rahim Kanani: How would you characterize the changes that came after the Communist Party lost the majority in the Parliament in the 2009 elections?

Ambassador Munteanu: The challenges faced by the coalition-government while replacing Communists were monumental. First, because of the level of corruption, poor management was spread out and embedded in the administration. That created a vicious circle where low salaries in public service were seen as an excuse to bribery. At the same time, political loyalty was seen as a substitute to professional standards or norms. Second, the victory of the pro-European democratic opposition came to many as a big surprise, not only outside of Moldova, but also to some domestic analysts, who thought that Communists might have been too strong to be defeated or that democrats are too weak to challenge incumbents.

In September 2009, the Moldovan coalition-government was established and reported excellent results. Talks on visa liberalization were launched in May 2010, concomitant with Moldova joining the European Energy Union, and preparing for the negotiations of a Free Trade Comprehensive Agreement (FTCA) with the EU. On January 24, 2011, we expect that the EU Commissionaire on Internal Affairs, Cecile Maelstrom, will transmit to the Moldovan Government in Chisinau a Road Map on visa liberalization, which will demand extensive domestic efforts and institutional adjustments. Nevertheless, these requirements are worth achieving if this will allow Moldovan citizens to travel free within the EU.

Rahim Kanani: What steps does Moldova need to take in order for the EU to extend a membership invitation?

Ambassador Munteanu: The Moldovan society sees EU as a strategic priority that cannot be substituted by any other membership. In fact, the appealing objective of integrating Moldova into the EU is one of the very few areas where the population and elites share a splendid consensus. According to polls, 70% of the respondents want their country to be a part of the EU, and less than 10% would oppose it. It is equally true that enlargement 'a la carte', or as it took place in the case of Moldova's neighbors, such as the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, will follow a different trajectory.

By Rahim Kanani
The Huffington Post

full text http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rahim-kanani/an-interview-with-igor-mu_b_812522.html