From the East-West standoff in Ukraine to mass migration and its causes, corruption is a surreptitious underlying driver.
The recent deal sealed with Russia over Transnistria is an example of the EU at its best, operating as a technocratic normative actor and letting trade lead geopolitics.
To the EU’s detriment, its policy toward its Eastern neighbors is neither creating an arc of stability nor encouraging democracy.
In the last five years, Moldova has gone from success story to captured state. Any EU support for the country should be linked to the fight against corruption.
A new antigovernment protest movement against rampant corruption in Moldova might finally lead to real change in a politically rotten country.
The EU needs to realize that its neighborhood policy is a political not a technical tool, operating in a politicized environment where major conflicts take place.
The EU needs to remold its support for fundamental political reform in Eastern Partnership partner states—and use this as a firmer base from which to assuage tensions with Russia.
EU support and membership can help post-Communist countries become modern democracies, but it is citizens who have the power to complete—or reverse—those transformations.
As Moldova, Macedonia, and Montenegro are knocking on the doors of EU and NATO, the West cannot take these countries’ European orientation for granted.
Moldova has become part of a geostrategic competition between Brussels and Moscow. Russia will be determined not to let the country slip away from its influence.