Welcome to this prestigious international forum.
I am happy to see that, thanks to a group of leading intellectuals from several countries, such meetings are becoming a fine tradition for the Republic of Moldova. In May of this year, I had the honour of meeting the organizers of this forum, to exchange points of view and to learn that we share a common vision regarding some of the major issues concerning the historic moment we are now living.
I would like to say at the outset that I am particularly grateful to the initiators of this platform for international dialogue, as such events increase my country’s intellectual prestige on the global stage. I believe they are quite correct in saying that the Republic of Moldova is the best place for such a dialogue. Moldova is a neutral country, located in an area of maximum geopolitical sensitivity or, as some might say, on a fault line of tension between East and West. In this vein, we want our state to become a factor of geopolitical balance, of convergence, of confluence between the two parts of our continent, which is still divided for artificial reasons. Moldova can and must fully affirm its vocation as a golden bridge between the West and the East.
Our people have a bivalent collective identity: Eastern and Western. From the point of view of religious affiliation, we are Orthodox – therefore Eastern, while from the point of view of linguistic and cultural identity, we are Latin – therefore Western. And any attempt to artificially reshape us, to cut away one of the two components of our collective essence and impose foreign models is counterproductive, even harmful. In other words, given our identity and geographical location, Moldova cannot afford to ally itself with Russia against Europe or with Europe against Russia. On the contrary, Moldova can and must contribute to the rapprochement between Russia and Europe. In other words, Moldova must assume its historical mission of active and positive factor in the realization of the great project of continental unity which Charles de Gaulle defined as the “Paris-Berlin-Moscow Axis”.
The theme chosen for this conference is of great importance to all the peoples of the world. From classical capitalism, based upon the work ethic, on social responsibility and the proximity principle, which we have known in the past, we have moved to a diametrically opposite model imposed in recent decades. Globalization has allowed a concentration of capital unprecedented in history, producing catastrophic economic imbalances between countries and regions, but also between the social strata of the “Prosperous West” of old.
One of the most serious effects of this globalization model is the massive migration of millions of people outrooted to become unskilled workers in the labour markets of foreign countries. In this regard, Moldova is one of the most affected countries on the continent; approximately one million Moldovans – representing nearly one third of the country’s population – being forced to earn their living abroad.
As a former Minister of Economy and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economic and financial sectors of the government, but also as a doctor of economics, I am well aware that the serious socioeconomic problems of the Republic of Moldova cannot be explained by the refusal of successive Moldovan governments to follow the directives suggested for twenty-five years from abroad, but precisely by their too compliant pursuit. That is why, after a quarter of century of transition, Moldova must rethink its paradigm of economic development. This new concept of economic recovery does not rely on “economic isolationism”, nor on contempt for the rules of international trade. However, without certain elements of economic protectionism or “economic patriotism” Moldova has no chance of overcoming its current state of underdevelopment.
The fact that Moldovan society is divided according to geopolitical, historical and ethnolinguistic criteria is well known. Nevertheless, if our ideological or cultural preferences divide us, then economic nationalism is the fundamental factor of national unity, a broad, common platform with which all patriots of our country should identify. And in this sense, the expertise we can collect from illustrious personalities, such as those today present at our forum, is indispensable. To search for alternative solutions to “financial capitalism” includes, beyond academic reflections, generating viable concepts which encompass the geopolitical, politico-legal and financial-economic dimensions. Moldova cannot accept a peripheral or semi-peripheral status in a global system of an imperial sort. The practices of economic colonialism must be relegated to the past.
Therefore, to remind you that this is not a phenomenon that affects only small countries like the Republic of Moldova, I would like to give two examples:
- The problems that a world superpower like Russia encounters in its difficult dialogue with the West are caused to a large extent by the fact that this country does not want to give up its economic sovereignty in favour of globalist corporatocracy. In other words, Vladimir Putin is a sovereignist who, in his dialogue with the world, assumes the national interests of his country.
- The last presidential elections in the United States have placed at the head of this global hyper power a representative of the same sovereignist current, Donald Trump, who made the principle “America First” a key element of his political program.
In my capacity as President of the Republic of Moldova, I would also like to declare on this occasion firmly and unequivocally, that I too am an adept of the thought and action of the current sovereignist movements.
The time has come to discard neoliberal myths, according to which the economic success of a society is guaranteed by so-called “small government”, that is to say, by the withdrawal of the State leaving a self-regulating market to function autonomously, following the magic principle of the “invisible hand.” We need a strong state capable of establishing fair rules of free competition, of creating and ensuring compliance with optimal legal, fiscal and lending requirements, of implementing customs instruments for the benefit of domestic producers and the internal market. The thesis of the primacy of economics over politics must be abandoned, because it is the political factor that must take care of the destiny of the people, taking into account the interests of the entire community, starting from the principle of fairness and social solidarity, and not only the interest of excessive profits, as in the case of private economic actors within multinational mega-structures.
Of course, Moldova is today a highly “de-sovereignized” country, affected by external influences that are not always beneficial. But this is the situation of most states in the world. This is one of the most dramatic effects of unipolar globalization, which is developing a new type of imperialism, extraterritorial in nature, with all its negative consequences.
The construction of a new global architecture, in which each country can assert itself fully, presupposes the development of integration processes involving a sufficient number of countries to enable them to have enough strategic, geopolitical and economic weight to cope with fierce global competition. And in the context of the emergence of several strategic poles, Moldova cannot avoid associating with one of the groups of countries to which it is bound by a multitude of factors – the only realistic option for Moldova, conditioned by its entire history, is therefore Eurasian. For, between Lisbon and Vladivostok, the path of continental unity passes through the Republic of Moldova.
Thanks to your combined efforts, Moldova is becoming more and more active on the international scene, which means that Chişinău’s chances of becoming a strategic development site with a continental impact are increasing considerably.
I very much welcome this meeting and the many personalities who honoured us with their presence, from Western Europe, the Russian Federation, but also from other countries in the region. I am sure that if we remain resilient, united and motivated to produce positive change having a historic impact on our future, then at the third meeting of the Chişinău Forum, we will be even more numerous and more convincing on a global level.
I want to assure you, dear guests, that you have in me a good friend and a sincere and loyal supporter. You are welcome to the Republic of Moldova as often as you think best to visit us, for public lectures, round-tables, book launches or other events, to strengthen the mutual exchange of ideas, thoughts and visions.
I wish to conclude this speech with an expression that we have been employing for generations: may God help us!