Sunday, August 28, 2016


Poll Shows Moldovans Losing Interest In EU, Warming Up To Russia

CHISINAU -- A new poll shows Moldovans are losing interest in the post-Soviet country's European integration and is warming up to the idea of joining a Commonwealth of Independent States' (CIS) free-trade zone led by Russia, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

The poll -- published in Chisinau on November 16 -- showed that the number of Moldovans willing to join the European Union has dropped 15 percent since a similar poll in May, falling to 47 percent.

That is the lowest percentage of EU support measured in Moldova in nearly a decade.

Likewise, 46 percent of respondents said their country would benefit economically from joining the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union, while 34 percent favored entering the EU's free-trade zone.

More than 60 percent of Moldovans believe Russia should be their country's "main strategic partner," while just 23 percent prefer the EU.

The new opinion poll was published by the Moldova's West-leaning think tank
Institutul de Politici Publice (IPP) with financing from the Soros Foundation
and was performed in late October and early November by the CBS-AXA polling center.

Moldova is a CIS member and one of the six former Soviet republics covered by the EU's Eastern Partnership program, which promises tighter integration with the EU in exchange for economic and democratic reforms.

In an interview with RFE/RL today, IPP Director Arcadie Barbarosie said the Moldovans' new "Euroskepticism" was most likely caused by the economic downturn in the EU and by people's disenchantment with the vocally pro-European ruling coalition in Chisinau, the Alliance for European Integration.

Chisinau's pro-EU government hopes to start negotiating a free-trade agreement with Brussels before the end of the year and to obtain visa-free travel for its citizens inside the 27-member bloc as early as next year.

The poll also shows a record percentage of Moldovans (83.5 percent) saying their country is heading in the wrong direction and a status quo in support for
the country's main political parties, which have failed in parliament during
the last two years to elect a full-time president of the country.
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Comment Sorting
by: American Troll
November 17, 2011 23:51
Given the choice, most Moldovans would prefer letting the country join the Customs Union provided the people can emigrate to the EU. Frankly, most Russians would probably be happy with that too. As long as no one gets hurt, that sounds fine.

by: Ben
November 19, 2011 16:24
an art of asking questions, or how to get 100% by adding 47+60!
The author must explain how it happen that 60% of Moldovans see their Russia cooperation future while 47% of them still wish EU. I think this pro-America author hurry the events of Moldovans tending to Russia. This pro-Russian smell is evident here.

by: Ionas Aurelian Rus from: Cincinnati, OH
November 20, 2011 17:12

The article is slightly superficial. If there would be a vote on the issue of Moldova's EU membership, 47% would vote in favor, 25.4% would vote against, 7.7% would not take part, 17.6% do not know or have not yet decided, and 2.3% did not respond. There are several reasons for this change. In April 2002, when the Communists were not yet officially in favor of Moldova's EU membership, 42% of the people were in favor of Moldova joining the EU and 42% were against. The Communist leadership slowly rhetorically moved in favor of Moldova's EU membership, and the support for EU membership increased dramatically among the Communist voters from a very small minority to a very large majority. The Communist leadership has recently turned against Moldova's EU membership, and it has increased the support for the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union. Yet the switch started informally between the November 2007 and March 2009 opinion polls, when the Communists were still in power. The evidence clearly indicates that many of the Communist leaders never desired to have Moldova in the EU, and that for others, the support was conditional, depending on how much the EU would cover up for the Communist human rights abuses. The change in attitude of the Communist leadership was a key factor in the recent change in the public opinion, but this public change in attitudes certainly reflected problems with the European Union. Another factor in favor of the public's support for the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union increased is that the implementation of this idea in practice is something very new. Another cause of the increase in the proportion of the population that desires a strategic partnership with Russia is the undermining by the Russian leadership (president Medvedev) of the Transnistrian secessionist leader Igor Smirnov. In the latest opinion poll, he would lose the December elections. He would get only 19.1% of the votes, while the more pro-democratic Yevgeny Shevchuk would get 16.4%, and the parliamentary speaker Anatoly Kaminski would get 36.7%.

All the best,

Ionas Rus

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