Parliament activity May 24-28, 2004
2 June 2004
Parliament plenary sessions came back to normal as Christian-Democrats gave up blocking the central tribune. Christian-Democrat leader Iurie Rosca revealed the reasons behind his party's decision when he stated that the move was aimed at drawing public attention to certain problems.
Once they left the central tribune Christian-Democrats regained their right to raise questions and to interpellations, thus being able to take part in debates on draft laws. It seems they have made good use of that time.
I. Law on the Amendment of the Law on Declaring "Cricova" as National Cultural Heritage
ADEPT Comment: Parliament excluded a number of its units from the list of heritage that would enable the company to use them for its technological development and get credits, etc. Noteworthy the adoption of the law in 2003 attracted a storm of criticism of international organizations and together with the failure to introduce in time inspection before shipment was the major cause for not resuming foreign aid.
II. Law on the Amendment of Legal Acts Regulating Oil Products
ADEPT Comment: The law extends the prerogatives of the National Agency for Regulation in Energetics, thereby entrusting it to regulate the prices and tariffs on oil. In addition several provisions were excluded in particular, binding oil marking, on the following grounds:
- environmental aspects;
- impossibility to mark the oil at the border because of changes in the quality standards of the oil from the exporting country;
- lack of specialised equipment and of accurate methodology to determine concentration of the marker in the oil, and monitor the flow of oil on the internal market;
- price hike on oil.
The law includes a number of provisions aimed at increasing the responsibility of the licence holders; their compliance with the technical norms, standards and licence terms, consumer rights, price estimation methodology, etc.
Law no. 461-XV on Oil Products Market was passed on July 30 2001 and was hailed by the governing as the major breakthrough in fighting oil smuggling and a mechanism able to ensure energetic safety. Since its adoption the law attracted a storm of criticism and even protest rallies by importers and retailers that led to its amendment several times already. Nevertheless, oil prices are on the rise, while the quality remains quite power. As for the revenues to the state budget, they still fall short of expectations. Initially it was claimed that 50% of the oil on the market was smuggled, and by enforcing the law it was expected revenues to the state budget would double.
In the eyes of many the law was amended to late as the price already went up by 10%, and no changes in the law would push prices down.
III. Draft law on the state of emergency, state of siege, and state of war
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading stems from the Constitution provisions and is aimed at defining the conditions and methods of declaring state of emergency, siege, or war; as well as the competences of the bodies decreeing such a state. The draft clearly defines in which of the cases the aforesaid states might be declared.
One of the draft's norms specifies that upon state of emergency, siege or war the laws passed prior to declaring the state shall be observed as long as they do not run counter to the provisions of this law. Upon declaring state of emergency, siege or war on the entire soil of the Republic of Moldova, adoption, amendment or abrogation of organic laws and electoral law shall not be allowed, as shall be holding elections of central or local authorities or republican or local referenda.
The draft also provides that throughout the state of emergency, siege or war certain citizens rights might be infringed upon, proportionally to the seriousness of the situation that brought about the state of emergency, siege or war, in line with the Constitution provisions.
The law also defines which of the central and local authorities' responsibilities are entrusted to other competent bodies, as decided by the Government.
According to Article 12 of the law state of emergency, siege or war are declared by a Resolution of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. In case of military aggression of the country, the President shall take defensives measures, declare state of war and immediately notify the Parliament.
The aforesaid issues are currently regulated by the Law on the Legal Status of State of Emergency and Special Forms of Governing, passed back in 1990. That law is obsolete and some of its provisions may not be applied as they run counter to the Constitution, international acts Republic of Moldova adhered to.
Some experts are already making parallels between examination of the said law and events in Georgia, arguing that incumbent authorities might need the new provisions in case of massive protest rallies.
IV. Draft law on the amendment of legal acts on licensing
ADEPT Comment: Amendments operated to the law in the first reading are aimed at making more efficient the enforcement of the Law on Licensing Certain Types of Activities, by introducing new mechanism for issuing licensing and monitoring the activity of licence holders. In particular amendments refer to:
- Delegating to second level local public administration the right to issue license for retail of beverages and tobacco.
- Reducing and merging certain types of activities subject to licensing, that would benefit businessmen and would reduce cost of licence itself as well as of preparing the package of documents.
- Excluding the obligation to submit the certificate to the effect that the company has no outstanding debts to the state budget and social security fund, as well as notary authenticated copies of the documents to be attached to application.