Beginning of the fall Parliament session
29 September 2003
On September 25 the Parliament convened for the fall session, the six session since it was elected. As usual in her inaugural speech the Chair of the Parliament, Eugenia Ostapciuc set short-term and long-term goals and tasks for the legislative body. Furthermore, she also referred to the tasks the Parliament has to complete in order to confirm the initiation of the negotiation process in view of the Republic of Moldova's integration into the European Union. Although the initiative came as a logical follow-up to the proclamation made by the President as well as the recent developments in the country's foreign policy, the opposition was rather skeptic towards the principles outlined by the Parliament Chair. It demanded that the rhetoric to be backed up by concrete actions, such as denouncing CIS agreements and developing a new Conception on the foreign policy. The Parliament majority, however replied that the Conception on the European Integration should be examined first and that the relations with the existing partners should be preserved.
Later on, during a press conference, the President of the Republic of Moldova denied that Moldova will pull out of CIS. He indicated that the press in Chisinau misinterpreted his statement made at the Yalta CIS Summit. Experts believe that President's position shifted due to the fact that his trip to New York hadn't been as productive as he hoped. US representatives only reiterated their support to Moldova's efforts to join EU, however refrained from influencing in any way Russian Federation position.
During the first sessions the oppositions made several attempts to spur debates on political issues as well as on the draft laws under consideration. Nevertheless, the majority faction continued to examine the documents on the agenda and managed to pass some important pieces of legislation.
I. Law on the Ratification of the Protocol on canceling the exceptions to the Free Trade Agreement with Russian Federation
ADEPT Comment: In 1993 Republic of Moldova and Russian Federation concluded a free trade agreement. Later on, a series of products were excluded from the agreement, such as sugar, ethyl alcohol, and tobacco.
Under the protocol, in the years 2004-2012 all the aforesaid products shall be re-included in the free trade agreement and their circulation would be liberalized (exempted from additional customs fees). Commencing January 1, 2004 only the tobacco shall be liberalized.
Ratification of the agreement shall represent a major step boosting the export of Moldovan goods on the Russian market, however it might well happen that Russia would delay the enforcement of the agreement, especially given the upcoming Duma elections.
II. Law on Modification of the Law on Supreme Court of Justice
ADEPT Comment: Under the Law the structure of the Supreme Court of Justice has been modified, whereby Chairs of the colleges created within the Court shall be assisted by Deputy Chairs.
Opposition criticized the amendments on the grounds that creating new administrative positions within the judiciary would further enhance the administrative control over the judges and would limit their independence. Authors of the modification, representing the majority faction, replied that the said position already existed and had been established under the ruling of the Chair of the Supreme Court of Justice, which ran counter to the Law on Judiciary.
III. Law on the Modification of the Law on Social State Allocations for Certain Citizen Categories
ADEPT Comment: The modifications were made so as to standardize the legislation regulating the two types of social payments: state social pensions and state social allocutions. As the quantum of payments differed, some beneficiaries were unjustified. The law also provides for increasing the allocations for handicapped children and for children who lost their tutors. The total cost of the law is estimated at 820 million MDL per year.
IV. Law on Simplified Visa Regime
ADEPT Comment: Under the law, entry-exit visas shall be issued for free each year during a 15 day period for the National Wine Celebrations. It is hoped that the move would bring more foreign tourists to the country during the aforesaid celebrations.
V. Draft law on local public finances
ADEPT Comment: This law is of paramount importance to local public administration as it would regulate the economic and financial base of the first and second level administrative-territorial units, as well as competencies of the local and central government in administering public finances.
In compliance with Article 88 of the Law on Local Public Administration and Article 9 of the European Charter on Local Self-government, the draft law provides the guarantees of financial autonomy of the local public administration:
- Budgets of the administrative-territorial units shall be developed and enforced by observing financial autonomy principle;
- Revenues accrued during the enforcement of the budget that exceede the established quotas, as well as savings from expenditures, except for those to be transferred in compliance with the law, shall stay at the disposal of the relevant public administration authorities;
- Whenever the Government delegates additional tasks to the local government, additional funds for the enforcement of the aforesaid funds shall be allotted.
The draft law delimitates the competencies in public spending in line with the competencies entrusted to the administrative-territorial units by the Law on Local Public Administration.
Note: Given the importance of this law we will come up with a detailed analysis thereof after the final approval of the law.
VI. Draft law on patient rights and responsibilities
ADEPT Comment: The law is aimed at consolidating basic human rights in the Medicare field, ensure patient's dignity and integrity, as well as enhancing the participatory role citizens should play in healthcare decision-making process. Recent developments in the medicare and medical technologies have determined a special attention to the patient's right to information and self-determination.
The law outlines the extra-judiciary methods for observing patient's rights, to be undertaken by various institutions such as: Ministry of Healthcare and its territorial structures, medical and sanitary institutions, insurance companies, etc.
Authors of the draft believe that by involving patients' associations, consumers' associations, proffessional medical organizations, and medical insurance organizations to the process would considerably improve the observance of patients' rights in the Medicare.
VII. Draft law on medical practice
ADEPT Comment: The draft is an attempt to standardize all the existing organizational forms and conditions for medical practice. Among others the law refers to:
- Objectives and basic principles for medical practice;
- Limitations and forms of medical practice - subject of activity, vows, professional secrets;
- Professional rights and obligations - ethic codes;
- Doctor-patient, doctor-doctor, and doctor-pharmacist relationships, etc.