Impact of the war in Ukraine
The difficulty of peaceful co-existence in the current geopolitical situation was made clear in both Alain Berset's and Maia Sandu's speeches. "I admire the determination with which Moldova is defending its independence and strengthening its ties with the EU," Berset said. He added that Russia's attack on Ukraine had had a major impact on neighbouring Moldova.
This was confirmed by Maia Sandu. At the beginning of the war more than one million people initially fled from Ukraine to Moldova with its 2.6 million inhabitants. Around 80,000 refugees are still living there today. Only with the support of the entire population was it possible to master this situation. In addition, Russia is trying to undermine their democratically elected government through disinformation and by cutting off gas supplies.
Fight of two ideologies
According to Moldova's president, the war in Ukraine is not just about winning territory, but is also an ideological fight. "It is a battle between an authoritarian system that wants to impose its goals by force and the free democratic world." While democracy is not perfect either, "it is the best we have." Moldova, she said, belongs to those states in Europe that live in a democracy, which is why it aspires to join the EU by 2030.
For democracy to exist in the future, however, she believes that it is not enough to rely on agreements. She said that prosperity, security and economic development were needed to win people over to democracy. Berset agreed. The advantages of democracy must be made clear again and again. Even in Switzerland, he said, democracy should not be taken for granted.