Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

European Union

Roadblock to Integration: Moldova’s Corruption Crisis

My country of Moldova is a small country, it is a country that for more than 30 years has been struggling to find its place in an ever-changing and challenging world. Caught in a tug of war between pro-European forces and pro-Russian forces, I have witnessed a steady and at times intentional deterioration in the rule of law over successive governments, writes Stanislav Pavlovschi.

As the former Minister of Justice, I have seen firsthand the disdain for transparency and arbitrariness in which justice is applied. As Moldova now enters negotiations on its EU membership, these issues must be addressed. Before integration takes place, there must be a concerted effort from within to reform our justice system. It is a must that we do not rush into commitments we cannot yet make and even more important still that we Moldovans are the ones to finally fix our justice system.

To be clear, my country faces many problems. Russian interference, a poor economy and low levels of press freedom all pose serious challenges for Moldova. It is however the corruption that runs endemic throughout our institutions that allows for all of these issues to manifest. People in this country simply do not respect our institutions. Trust in government among the Moldovan people ranks among the lowest across all of Europe, and for good reason. 

Only a decade ago, almost a quarter of GDP was stolen from our banks, with politicians all the way up to the former Prime Minister being implicated in the scandal. To put it simply, corruption is everywhere in Moldova and we cannot look to move forward without addressing it head on. In just the past year, our current government has taken steps to weaken the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, while a judge from the institution tasked with safeguarding judicial independence predictably resigned after neglecting to disclose a conflict of interest.


I am in full support of Moldova joining the EU. As a former ECHR judge and lawyer for the Council of Europe, it is my steadfast belief that open dialogue and collaboration across Europe is the only way forward. We must however face reality. Justice reform is by far the most sensitive field to reform when joining the EU and will require a long and painful transition to reverse the decades of clientelism that has embedded itself within our institutions. It is both heartening and depressing to note that the public is acutely aware of the need for justice reform – with 95% of Moldovans identifying justice reform as pivotal in alignment with Europe.

From a legal perspective, entering the EU without first getting our house in order would be tantamount to abandoning our domestic courts. The presence of a supranational court in Moldova will remove all impetus to fully address our issues, while the rush to meet EU requirements for entry will lead to a situation where holes are being plugged but the root causes are not being addressed. To combat this scourge, we must recognize that there is no quick fix. Corruption has taken root in our educational systems, psychology, and the very traditions governing the implementation of our laws. It is a cancer that requires a multidisciplinary approach for effective treatment.

The state must rise to this challenge with a united front, addressing corruption through a holistic lens. It is absolutely crucial that the solutions arise from within our own ranks. To earn the trust of our people, it is essential that Moldovans themselves tackle the challenges facing our nation.

Only through such concerted efforts can the authorities of Moldova hope to reclaim the integrity of our institutions and restore faith in our justice system. The path ahead is arduous, but if there is a genuine desire for change, success is within reach.

Stanislav Pavlovschi is the former Justice Minister of Moldova and was a judge on the European Court of Human Rights from 2001-08.



Latest Tweets


You May Also Like

United Kingdom

Film director Ridley Scott has recalled the death of actor Oliver Reed while making the Oscar winning blockbuster Gladiator. Scott said hard-drinking Reed “just...


The controversial Russian businessman Viktor Baturin, well-known for his years-long counterstanding with his wealthy sister Elena, widow of Moscow ex-mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is likely...

United Kingdom

The Tremeloes. Dave Munden centre Dave Munden the Tremeloes drummer – and often lead singer – with the 60s chart toppers has died. He...

United Kingdom

The Watneys Party Seven is making a comeback. The ubiquitous 70s beer was a bland fizzing bitter ridiculed by many. The drink’s insipidness helped...