The EU remains an attractive but not a default option for Moldovans, concludes a recent survey commissioned by the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC) and the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI). The survey results are the main discussion point of the Wednesday “What Do Moldovans Think?” public presentation in Chisinau, Moldova.

The survey revealed a number of alarming trends in the attitudes of the Moldovans to the EU, and their perceptions of Moldova-EU and Moldova-Russia relations under the prism of value orientations: the fear of uncertainty and negative anticipations of change currently prevail in public perceptions of the EU, causing a loss of trust, and reciprocity in EU-Moldova relations. The Eurasian Customs Union (ECU), on the contrary, tends to be seen as a model which may potentially offer a quick-fix solution for stability, prosperity, and security.

“Whenever there is a change, there is fear,“ said H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, in his introductory remarks at the event. “Unfortunately, the ‘EU versus ECU’ has become a part of the domestic dialogue in Moldova. It is thus important to communicate the values on which the EU is based. The EU is proud to be a soft power.“

In their efforts to help reverse the decline of the pro-EU stance of the Moldovans, SAC and CEPI – in cooperation with the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and under the auspices of the Slovak embassy in Chisinau – are bringing together leading local and international analysts and practitioners in order to debate the survey findings and provide their inputs for a continuous and positive reinforcement of the EU model and vision, which is currently much needed among the Moldovan public.

The “What Do Moldovans Think?” presentation is moderated by a well-known Moldovan investigative journalist Natalia Morari, and features a number distinguished speakers – among them the Slovak Ambassador in Chisinau, H.E. Róbert Kirnág, Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Director of the Foreign Policy Association, Victor Chirila, Director of the Association for Participatory Democracy, Igor Botan, or the CEPI Senior Fellow, Balázs Jarábik. The event will be attended by representatives of 14 nation-wide and local media, 20 representatives of leading local and international NGOs, as well as around 10 embassy, international institutions´ and government officials.

“What Do Moldovans Think?” is the first public event of the “Widening the European Dialogue in Moldova” project implemented by the SAC with an assistance of the CEPI and in partnership with IJC. The project, financially supported by SlovakAid, has the ambition to contribute to the efforts aimed at increasing public support for EU integration in Moldova, particularly utilizing Central Europe’s recent experience with the EU integration process.