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For every Viktor Orbán we need a Maia Sandu | View

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By Dragoș Tudorache
Opinions expressed in View articles are solely those of the authors.
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Often, life lessons come from places or people we don't expect, from those we think are fragile. We talk a lot about miracles in politics, although it is probably the most inappropriate place to expect them.

But I am tempted to call the score of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) in the Moldovan parliamentary elections a miracle. Perhaps specialists, political analysts, and those who are finely acquainted with the situation can say that it was to be expected, that perhaps it was even a predictable scenario, impossible to avoid. I don't think anyone anticipated everything that is happening in Chișinău, except for the country's president and PAS founder, Maia Sandu, but it is truly a miracle.

For the rest of us – politicians, analysts, or mere observers of events – what Sandu and the citizens of Moldova have achieved is a lesson in democracy.

The power of the lesson that Maia Sandu generously offered us lies in its simplicity. We have witnessed a demonstration that good can win twice in less than a year. This is beyond political optimism. We needed this demonstration not only for Romania, but I believe for the whole of Europe.

We are well aware of how many challenges are plaguing the whole continent, how many questions are raised incessantly with great concern about the fragility of the system in which we live. The very core of our values and beliefs is under constant threat. We are waging a war that we call hybrid because we do not know what else to call this permanent and underground aggression from non-democratic forces. And, although not an EU member, the Republic of Moldova is on the front lines.

In a grey world, where it is almost impossible to tell black from white, President Sandu, with uncommon perseverance, has shown a way through the web of Eastern European politics that the West has long been trying to understand and solve.

After all, if the situation in Orbán's Hungary is difficult from Brussels' perspective, the situation in the Republic of Moldova seems unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

But this is because too few believed in Maia Sandu, and this is an important lesson for Europe. There are good people willing to sacrifice themselves and to fight on, and Europe must bet on them whenever it has the opportunity.

What Sandu and the citizens of Moldova have achieved is a lesson in democracy.
Dragoş Tudorache, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe

In my capacity as the European Parliament's rapporteur for the Republic of Moldova, I have often been faced with the problem of adding the right emphasis in my messages regarding the situation in Chișinău. It was obvious that the pace of reforms needed to be stepped up, and almost every European communication, no matter how important, constantly returned to this point.

But it was also obvious that the situation is difficult in Chișinău and that we need a different understanding of the relationship we are building together. Financial aid to the Republic of Moldova has always been draconically conditional, because this is European policy and it is an important principle that we must respect. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder if more compassion might have been needed.

Well, this dilemma has now been solved by the miraculous outcome that Maia Sandu has offered us.

Chișinău has responded to the European dilemma with the voice and vote of its citizens. Moldovan citizens are full European citizens, but they have infinitely fewer rights than those within the European Union. To their credit, they have shown us that they fully deserve and have earned the same rights, without any doubt.

I believe we need a new approach to our policies on how we deal with enlargement and neighbourhood partnerships. We should remember that it is only an unfortunate historical context that has kept millions of Europeans out of the Union project. We cannot leave them behind.

Symbolically, the positive and powerful figure of Maia Sandu contrasts these days with the sulphurous figure of Viktor Orbán.

The European Union has offered Hungary a wealth of opportunities that were hijacked by a politician for his own personal interest and against needs and future of his own citizens. The Republic of Moldova received far fewer opportunities and far less help. It is a former Soviet republic, plagued by corruption scandals and noisy political fragmentation.

Out of this amalgam of ineptitude emerged Sandu, with her sweeping anti-corruption agenda. The valuable lesson for the whole of Europe is that we must choose our future with the same confidence and will that we have seen now in the Moldovan people. Democracy is worth defending, supporting, and building, and Sandu has shown us that it can be done.

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Dragoș Tudorache is a Romanian Member of the European Parliament who sits with the Renew Europe group, chairs the special committee on Artificial Intelligence, and acts as rapporteur on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with the Republic of Moldova.