17 july

American expert calls “UNSEEMLY” the haste, with which Moldovan Parliament ratified Association Agreement

Chisinau, July 16, 2014 (Infotag). “The first thing that strikes me, as an outside observer, is the unseemly haste of Association Agreement [AA] supporters to rush the ratification process, starting with the July 2 approval in the Moldovan parliament, with little debate. Opposition calls for delaying the ratification process till after the election and let the new parliament decide were ignored”, James George Jatras, Deputy Director of the American Institute in Ukraine, stated today at a roundtable conference in Chisinau dedicated to the Agreement and the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Moldova.

In the EU, he said, they are hurrying to let the most enthusiastic countries within the EU, such as Romania, Poland, or the Baltic countries, to ratify the document before the summer vacation.

James Jatras is convinced that such hasty actions may, in a near future, be pernicious for the very perspective of putting the document into life.

“When someone gives you a deal and says “don’t waste a lot of time looking at the fine print or thinking about what it means – just sign!” – that usually means someone has something they’re trying to hide”, said the expert.

In his words, this rush seems to him to indicate a level of anxiety among AA advocates that allowing either Moldovans or European governments to reflect at length on the merits of the AA for either side could be detrimental to its prospects.

“The other thought that occurs to me, as an American, is the active push from Washington for this deal. On the signing of the AA by Moldova, as well as by Ukraine and Georgia, the US State Department issued a statement applauding the agreements as “a major step toward integrating these Eastern Partnership countries more closely with the European Union and realizing a Europe whole, free, and at peace””, said the expert.

The Deputy Director of the American Institute in Ukraine reminded, “To start with, the US is not a member of the EU. What does EU “integration,” much less the Eastern Partnership, have to do with the US? Who appointed the State Department – where I formerly served as an official – the judge of what it means for Europe to be “whole, free, and at peace”?

The American expert said that notably absent from either Kaplan’s analysis [in Stratfor, by Rober Kaplan, called “Why Moldova Urgently Matters”], or the State Department’s, is much mention of why the AA is good for Moldova, good for Moldova’s economy, and good for Moldovans’ standard of living.

“These are the issues that need to be addressed urgently by Moldova’s political parties, despite efforts to present the people with a fait accompli. We need to hear what the costs of the AA might be for Moldovans, especially in harmed trade relations with Russia and worker remittances”, said James Jatras.