Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

Public opinion in Moldova concerning Euro-Atlantic integration

|print version||
Viorel Cibotaru / April 28, 2006
ADEPT logo

The Republic of Moldova — NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan

The Republic of Moldova adopted a political decision last year to develop its relations with the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation at a new quality stage. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has formulated an official stance regarding the perspectives of relations with NATO while on a visit to Brussels. The Moldovan authorities had never benefited before of a better internal political climate for encouragement of relations with the Alliance. The support of political parties and civil society is on the rise and it inspires with optimism as regards the future of these relations. Under these circumstances, the political leadership of the country focuses to launch the process of implementation of the Republic of Moldova — NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) in May 2006.

Thus, the Republic of Moldova has shortly managed to establish the necessary legal framework and to institute the adequate administrative mechanisms for a quality elaboration and implementation of IPAP. President Vladimir Voronin and the Supreme Security Council monitor the process of elaboration and implementation of IPAP, while the national commission for the elaboration and implementation of IPAP that the chief of state created on August 5, 2005 coordinates it.

A sitting of the Supreme Security Council examined and approved the draft IPAP on March 14, 2006. Participants in that sitting heard a report unveiled by the chairman of the national commission for the elaboration and implementation of IPAP, Andrei Stratan, deputy premier and minister of foreign affairs and European integration. The report highlighted the importance of intensifying the political dialogue and cooperation with NATO. It was noted that the Action Plan with NATO is reciprocally complementary to the Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (EGPRSP), with the Moldova-European Union Action Plan, with programmes of cooperation with the Council of Europe and other international organisations.

In this context, President Voronin noted that the Individual Action Plan does not contravene to the constitutional principle of neutrality of the state and its implementation will help intensifying the cooperation within the Partnership for Peace Programme in different fields, including scientific, ecological, economic and technological. The draft IPAP was approved at national level and it was transmitted to the NATO International Secretariat in order to be distributed to the 26 NATO member states for examination. This process was successfully completed in the mid-April, while the Moldovan authorities and NATO stand ready to sign and to adopt the document on an agreed date and the event is expected in May.

Thus, the Republic of Moldova has become the sixth country to join this mechanism of cooperation with NATO (after Georgia, which signed IPAP in October 2004, Ukraine in April 2005, Azerbaijan in May 2005, Armenia in December 2005, Kazakhstan in February 2006). Ukraine and Georgia are firm to use the IPAP in order to get ready to join NATO, while the other adherents of IPAP argue the intensification of relations with the Alliance in the context of needs to reform the armed forces.

How Moldovan citizens perceive the relations with NATO

As the new quality of partnership relations requires a re-evaluation of attitudes and perceptions of population over national security problems, while the consolidation and the enlargement of cooperation with NATO member countries require the formation of a wide people’s support for reformation of the national security and defence system, developers of the Barometer of Public Opinion in the Republic of Moldova that the Institute of Public Policies administrates since 2000 have pledged to study these problems in a new national survey in the April 2006 issue.

Firstly, it is worth to note that more than half of population perceive NATO as a “pan-European and transatlantic military-political alliance” (30%), an “umbrella of security for Western, Central and Eastern Europe” (22%) and only 7.5% describe it as “an aggressive organisation, a hotbed of instability for our country” or a “rival of the Russian Federation” (10%).

Almost half of respondents of the survey understand the constitutional provision on “permanent neutrality” in terms that Moldova “cannot be part of a military alliance” (24%) or that “it cannot participate in military conflicts” (24%). At the same time, 15% consider that Moldova “shall maintain friendly relations with all states even with the risk to lose its independence, sovereignty and integrity” or “Moldova can join neither NATO, nor the collective security treaty of CIS.”

Surprisingly, but only more than 6% of population say that they are very well or well enough informed about the Partnership for Peace Programme that NATO launched in 1994, 18% are satisfactorily informed, while 34% are informed a little or are not informed at all. One third of population (32%) believe that the decision of Moldovan authorities to extend the relations with NATO by adopting and implementing the Individual Partnership Programme will consolidate the national security in general, another one third (30%) said “no” while about 39% did not know or refused to answer this question. At the same time, 33% of population consider that Moldova should follow the way of the 10 new members of the European Union (E.U.) by joining NATO first (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, etc.), while 31% said “no” and another 37% were not decided in this regard.

Most of population (35%) consider that the neutrality is the best solution to ensure the country’s security, 23% indicated the entry in NATO, 15% named the collective security treaty of CIS, while one third of population (27%) did not express any opinion. If a referendum on Moldova’s entry in NATO takes place next Sunday, 34% of population would vote for, 23% — against, 10% would not attend the referendum, 28% did not know or were undecided, and 5% could not answer or refused to answer.

At a first examination, the results mentioned above indicate clearly the existence of a segment of population (about 30–35%) with pro-NATO visions and support for an unconditional integration in the Alliance. This group is very receptive towards processes of transformation crossed by this political-military organisation, it is ready to support the necessary internal reforms and costs afferent to changes in order to become eligible for NATO. Another, restricted circle of about 20–25% expresses “conservative” options: either it does not warm Moldova’s entry in NATO, or conditions this option or does not believe the viability and finality of the Euro-Atlantic integration process. The third segment of about 15–25% of population is undecided, uninformed and confused regarding the security options for Moldova.

It is significant that the opinions of these segments of population are in an evident contrast with the European integration options. Being on the continued rise in the past 2–3 years, the option for the E.U. integration exceeded 70% in the April 2006 Barometer. Thirty-nine percent would accept an unconditional support and another 39% would welcome a conditioned support of Romania for the Republic of Moldova in the E.U. entry process. At the same time, about 47% of respondents consider that Romania is the state capable to help the Republic of Moldova the most in an eventual joining process. As regards the existing relations between the Republic of Moldova and the E.U., 68% percent of population are unexpectedly informed fully or partly about provisions of the Moldova-E.U. Action Plan signed on February 22, 2005 and set for implementation within three years.

Resuming the security and defence problems we will remark that 58% of population oppose the participation of a small military contingent in the international operation to restore Iraq (versus 25% “for”). The negative attitudes prevail as regards the participation of Moldovan military in international peacekeeping operations under aegis of OSCE (30% — pro and 37% — against) and NATO (27% — pro and 40% — against). Instead, the positive options prevail in cases of the E.U. and U.N. (notably 42% and 38% pro and 28% and 33% against). Indeed, these attitudes are comparable with attitudes of respondents from states such as the Baltic Countries (especially Estonia), Slovakia, the Czech Republic, etc., which have already become members of NATO and E.U.


The findings of this investigation of attitudes and perceptions of Moldovan population regarding the Euro-Atlantic integration, including through the prism of national security problems, suggest clearly the need to draft and to implement a programme on information of citizens about essence of these issues; to conduct public debates; to connect the pro-E.U. message to the pro-NATO message, these measures being indispensable factors for formation of a massive people’s support for the integration process and mobilisation of efforts to reach the declared strategic goals.

Summary of ECHR judgments and decisions on appeals vs Moldova Driving away from CIS