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The European country desperate to join the EU – but wants to copy UK in one major area


In the wake of Moldova’s ambitions for European Union membership, Stanislav Pavlovschi, former Moldovan Justice Minister and former ECHR judge, has emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive reforms, drawing parallels with the United Kingdom’s robust human rights framework.

Pavlovschi, speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, highlighted the recent establishment of the International Centre for the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy as a pivotal step towards safeguarding civil liberties in Moldova. He articulated the centre’s mission, highlighting its focus on legislative reform, anti-corruption measures, and the preservation of freedom of speech and political diversity.

Reflecting on Moldova’s journey towards European integration, Pavlovschi expressed concern over the shift in focus from addressing the genuine needs of Moldovans to viewing EU membership as an end goal in itself.

He lamented the persistence of Soviet-era practices within Moldova’s judicial system, citing deficiencies in ensuring fair trials as mandated by the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said: “It’s disheartening to note that European integration in Moldova has become more of a goal in itself, rather than a means to address the genuine needs of Moldovans. This sentiment is particularly evident in the state of Moldova’s judicial system. While there is much talk about the need for legal reforms, actions have yet to match rhetoric.”

Calling for substantive changes, Pavlovschi advocated for structural reforms akin to those witnessed in the UK, including the enactment of a human rights act and the establishment of mechanisms to prevent miscarriages of justice.

He stressed the importance of incorporating evidentiary standards into Moldovan legislation to uphold judicial integrity and the rule of law.

He said: “To truly reform the legal landscape, Moldova requires structural changes. This could include the development of a human rights act akin to that of the United Kingdom or the establishment of a Miscarriages of Justice Commission to prevent wrongful convictions.

“Additionally, the incorporation of evidentiary standards into Moldovan legislation is crucial for ensuring judicial integrity and the rule of law.”

Amid Moldova’s efforts to accelerate reforms in light of economic strains exacerbated by the war in neighbouring Ukraine, EU leaders remain divided over the pace of enlargement. While Moldova has met key reform milestones, progress towards formal accession talks has stalled, prompting calls for recognition from EU member states.

Cristina Gerasimov, Moldova’s deputy prime minister for European integration, urged member states to acknowledge Moldova’s efforts and swiftly adopt a negotiation framework.

She stressed the need for a framework that facilitates Moldova’s domestic reform agenda, underlining the country’s determination to join the EU at the earliest opportunity.

Public support for EU accession in Moldova has surged following the EU’s decision to open accession talks, underscoring the significance of sustaining momentum towards membership.

With Moldova’s aspirations intertwined with broader discussions on EU enlargement, the path forward remains contingent on the alignment of reform agendas and the willingness of EU member states to prioritise accession efforts.

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