The project is financed by the National Science Centre within the OPUS Programme.
The main focus of the project is the Republic of Moldova (MD) and its evolving relationship with the European Union (EU). It will systematically examine the implementation of the ‘Association Agreement’ (AA) and the ‘Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement’ (DCFTA), which Moldova has recently signed with the EU. More specifically, the project’s objective is to analyse the ways in which domestic factors and contexts specific to Moldova interact with and shape the implementation of EU policies. The main hypothesis is: The pro-European transformation of Moldova, which has been evident in an on-off fashion over the past two decades remains fragile. Despite the signing of the AA and DCFTA there are structural domestic barriers to the full implementation of these policies. The persistence of the condition of ‘State Capture’ in Moldova presents a significant barrier to the pro-European transformation of the country.
The project will mobilise and update the concept of ‘State Capture’, which was originally developed by the World Bank in its studies on post-Soviet transitions which looked at the shifts of political and economic power and ownership from the state and into private hands that occurred after 1991. High-level State Capture in Moldova is manifest in an oligarchic system with a concentration of political and economic power, profound corruption in public and private sectors, inconsistency in the application of the rule of law and highly politicised institutions.
The project will develop a case study angled on the business environment in Moldova and in particular the role and position of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In the context of transition states and developing countries, SMEs are associated with sustainable development and the creation of business environments characterised by openness and transparency.