New Chief Negotiator Appointed in Moldova’s EU Integration Process. A accession model similar to that of Bulgaria is considered

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Cristina Gherasimov, who will take over the position of Minister for European Affairs, will also serve as the chief negotiator for the Republic of Moldova in the process of integration into the European Union. Prime Minister Dorin Recean announced this information.

“We made some changes to the team of ministers. Deputy Prime Minister Popescu is leaving this position, but he will continue to assist the government in our European integration efforts. Now, the Vice President of Parliament, Mihai Popșoi, will take on the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs. And we will have a new member of the government – Minister for European Affairs, Cristina Gherasimov, who will also be the chief negotiator for the Republic of Moldova in the accession process to the European Union,” stated Dorin Recean.

The name of Moldova’s chief negotiator in the accession process was announced. Deputy Prime Minister Nicu Popescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, submitted his resignation on Wednesday, with the mandate to be exercised until January 29. Therefore, this week, the new ministers – Mihai Popșoi and Cristina Gherasimov – are expected to take the oath of office. The latter will also lead the Bureau for European Integration – a new entity to be established.

Cristina Gherasimov previously held the position of Secretary-General of the Office of the President of the Republic of Moldova and served as a presidential advisor on foreign policy and European integration. In December 2023, she was appointed State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.

It is worth mentioning that a similar bureaucratic organization for the accession process was implemented, especially in Bulgaria, where Meglena Kuneva, Minister for European Affairs (without portfolio) and Chief Negotiator with Brussels, coordinated activities domestically. A particular focus was given to the Council for European Communication, which ensured the communication strategy in the country’s EU accession process. The strategic framework of this structure was developed with the involvement of non-governmental organizations and was funded from the state budget and the Phare program.

“One can also consider creating a fund with the participation of the private sector to promote Bulgaria abroad,” explained Meglena Kuneva at that time.

The rationale was that people’s daily lives are detached from the bureaucracy and routine of accession, communication between institutions is not efficient enough, and messages about European integration are mostly explored by politicians. Public debates were held on both the benefits and risks of accession. Experts referred to the price Bulgaria would pay if it failed or delayed entry into the EU.

The strategy aimed not only to bring Bulgarians to the “European idea” but also to improve the country’s image through lobbying by Bulgarian missions in EU member states. Sociological surveys periodically checked whether the strategy was effective.

The first phase of the campaign coincided with the period of intense accession negotiations, aiming to prepare society for some unpopular measures. After 2003, in the second stage, emphasis was placed on a positive public image of the future EU member. It lasted until 2006 when Bulgaria decided to join the EU.

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