Moldovans prefer the Customs Union to the European Union. However, it is the pro-European parties that are gaining support, and the country’s internal situation is improving.
According to the recent “Public Opinion Barometer” poll, carried out annually by the Moldovan Institute of Public Affairs, 57 percent of Moldovans opt for integration into the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, while 52 percent support Moldova’s membership in the EU. If there was a referendum held in Moldova in which the citizens were to choose between the Customs Union and the EU, 38 percent would vote for the former, while 35 percent for the latter. The poll also indicates that within the last two years, the number of opponents of Moldova’s joining the EU has almost doubled: from 18 to 30 percent. Among the supporters of the integration into the EU are mostly young and well-educated people, while those who opt for the Customs Union are the representatives of national minorities living in the country.
At the same time, one can see that pro-European parties of the ruling coalition enjoy more and more popularity in Moldova. Though the Party of Communists still has the largest number of supporters – that is almost 1/3 of society (28 percent) – if the elections were to be held next Sunday, the pro-European parties would win, getting 40 percent of votes: liberal democrats (19 percent), liberals (13 percent) and democrats (8 percent).
Today, Moldovans think much higher of the changes taking place in their country than they used to six months ago. In November 2011, only 11 percent of the respondents looked into the future with hope. Now, it is 24 percent. Yet the majority still thinks that the situation in Moldova is getting worse (69 percent).
The results of the poll prove how divided Moldovan society is. Disappointment with slogans about Moldova’s integration into the EU becomes more apparent. And though the government makes every effort to move the process forward, the lack of tangible benefits for ordinary people and a modest offer of the EU make Moldovan society more and more sceptical.
Translated by Marta Lityńska