Moldova is Europe’s democratic ‘bright spot’, report says – POLITICO

Democracy in Hungary and Poland continues to decline but Moldova is a « bright spot » in Europe, according to a new report released on Wednesday morning.

Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova faces the prospect of a severe economic and political crisis as Russia drastically cuts gas supplies to punish the country for its pro-EU stance – but nonetheless democracy is on the rise .

While corruption remains a major challenge, Moldova is now among the top 25% of countries in the world in areas such as social rights and media equality or integrity, according to the report.

In general, however, democracies around the world are slipping back, while authoritarian regimes are becoming more repressive as a new global economic crisis erupts, according to the Global State of Democracy report published by the International Institute for Democracy. and electoral assistance (IDEA).

The report shows that democratic quality is largely stagnating, with EU members Hungary and Poland among those suffering from a « kind of acute and deliberate democratic erosion », according to IDEA.

At the same time, autocratic regimes are becoming more and more totalitarian, especially when it comes to clean elections or the efficiency of parliament.

The report states that « Over the past six years, the number of countries moving towards authoritarianism is more than double the number moving towards democracy », adding that, « by the end of 2021, almost a third of the 173 countries assessed by International IDEA are experiencing declines in at least one sub-attribute of democracy.

The findings of IDEA, an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Stockholm, are based on an analysis of 173 countries and their democratic tendencies.

“Even the best performing democracies, most of which are located in Europe, are seeing their quality deteriorate and most of them have made no progress when it comes to ensuring better democracy, better quality , better able to offer citizens since 1990,” Kevin Casas-Zamora, secretary general of IDEA, told POLITICO. He added that this is a general trend, but particularly visible in Europe.

The report comes at a time when countries around the world are facing multiple crises. Their economies are still suffering from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Russia’s war in Ukraine is causing an energy crisis with a steep rise in the cost of living and a looming global recession.

Casas-Zamora said Russia’s aggression has drawn « attention to the importance of preserving democracy », adding that we are « interested, in a way, in the fact that the lack of democracy is a problem for world peace ».

In light of Russia’s onslaught, Western powers have rallied to values ​​in an unprecedented way, he said, and the war has also drawn attention to those « on the front line of the struggle ».

He pointed to Moldova in particular as a country seen as a “bright spot” for democratic progress.

Nonetheless, the broader outlook for the future is less positive, Casas-Zamora said. He concluded that the economic crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine is the kind of event from which pressures on democracies come. « My impression is that the next few years will be very difficult for democracies due to the political effects that stem from the economic crisis, » he said.

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