OPINION POLL/ The delay of Iași-Chișinău gas pipeline operation: Why did Prime Minister Ion Chicu change his mind?
Prime Minister Ion Chicu suspended the commissioning of the Iași-Ungheni-Chișinău gas pipeline after announcing its official inauguration for August 27, the Independence Day. Although the Romanian Government announced that the gas pipeline is ready for operation, the Moldovan Government is uncertain that “this pipeline will be used for its main purposes soon.” Why has Prime Minister Ion Chicu changed his mind?
Alexandru Slusari, Parliament deputy of the Political Platform Dignity and Truth
Gazprom has put enormous pressure on Moldova not to get an alternative source for Russian gas since the gas pipeline construction launched in 2014. We know the project process encountered considerable difficulties. Moldova pays US$130-140 per 1000 cubic meter of Russian gas today, while the European prices are about US$52-53. President Igor Dodon and Prime Minister Ion Chicu want the country to depend on a single Russian source, although we’ve got enough Russia problems. The pandemic has nothing to do with the gas pipeline. The Dodon regime acts economically and politically in Gazprom and Russia’s interests, seeing the Romanian pipeline as sabotage.
Valentin Dolganiuc, political commentator
The gas pipeline and the pandemic do not have anything to do with each other. Chicu and Dodon lie shamelessly. The Prime Minister said he would not celebrate his son’s wedding because of the pandemic. However, he did it, defying his Government’s COVID-19 restrictions. Similarly, he said the pipeline inauguration ceremony would occur on August 27, but it did not. The inauguration would have to do with the date’s symbolism, a national-political significance. It symbolically would have meant the connection of Moldova to Romania. There is also the economic consideration. Russia cannot admit a Romanian gas competitor in Moldova. Therefore, we will not have energy independence with Dodon and Chicu in power. They want us slaves to the Russian Gazprom.
Iurie Reniță, ex-ambassador to Bucharest, deputy
Apart from its energy, economic, and financial aspects, the Iași-Ungheni-Chișinău gas pipeline has a political connotation. This political dimension has always disturbed the governments of Chișinău since 2009. The Government ignores the pipeline’s primary purpose, delaying its construction and operation. I say these unfortunate things as a person directly involved in promoting this project and the dialogue between Chișinău and Bucharest.
Moreover, the current hybrid government made of the Socialist and Democratic Parties have intentionally brought this gas pipeline to a standstill. The full use of the gas pipeline and energy interconnections between Romania and Moldova is equivalent to a new Independence Declaration of Moldova, which contradicts the negotiations between Igor Dodon and his political Moscow patrons remain dependent on Russia as long as possible.
Vitalia Pavlicenco, National Liberal Party member
From the beginning of this project, I have said publicly that it will be delayed, and it will not be easy to put it into use. Russia will not accept an alternative to Russian gas in Moldova. Through our fault, the Kremlin has in Chișinău an exponent of its interests, aiming to keep our small country in the area of Russian influence, hindering our access in the European Union. The reunification with Romania is the only way. That is why the Government did not maintain its interest in launching the gas pipeline on a national holiday. In November, we have presidential elections, and Dodon does not want the population to see that gas can come from the West, from Romania, not just from the expansionist East. President Dodon and the current Moldovan leadership must resign. Not because it does not want the Iași-Chișinău gas pipeline, but because it promotes interests that are alien to our population and society.