Democratisation in Moldova has been sporadic and fragmented, which has had a profound impact on its Europeanisation process and provoked hesitation and uncertainty in the EU.
Shortcomings in the democratic process have inhibited the civic engagement of the population and distorted the role of the media. This has facilitated discourses favouring autocratic and illiberal practices, advanced by Eurosceptic and anti-Western political forces. External vulnerabilities have intensified and diversified, putting additional pressure on the promotion of democracy, affecting the security of the informational space and shifting electoral behaviour.
The tangible benefits of European integration, and the prohibitive costs of damaging relations with the EU, remain driving forces behind the country’s development. Yet governmental instability and the policy of external balancing (between the EU and Russia) make Moldova’s approach towards the EU inconsistent.
As a result, while European integration continues at the technical level, the ultimate geopolitical goal of EU membership does not seem to be a priority for Moldova.
The report is published within the project "Understanding the Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia" carried out with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The project is coordinated by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and implemented in partnership with the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER) in Kiev, the Reformatics Policy Consulting Center in Tbilisi and the Expert-Grup Think-Tank in Chișinău.