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Parliament activity, November 15-19, 2004
25 November 2004
During this week debates in Parliament centred around the draft law on Council of Europe expertise of draft laws. The draft was developed by the Government and outlines the procedure of submitting draft laws for expertise and enforcing Council of Europe recommendations. The need to regulate this stems from the inefficiency of the existing mechanisms, when many draft laws are passed without Council of Europe expertise, while others albeit receiving endorsement await adoption.
Under the draft, Ministry of Justice was to become the institution in charge, fact that garnered rich criticism from the opposition. They argued that a specialised institution of the executive branch would be given powers to coordinate and control the activity of the state institutions - Parliament, Government and Presidency. Deputies had many other objections as regards the draft law, but after a break they adopted a Resolution in this respect that provides for:
- drawing the list of draft laws that are to be submitted for Council of Europe expertise, at the initiative of the central institutions and in consultation with Council of Europe;
- procedure for examining recommendations made by the Council of Europe and their enforcement;
- on-going monitoring over the enforcement of the CE recommendations.
So far Council of Europe provided expertise on several much-disputed drafts, namely Law on Local Government, Law on Administrative-Territorial Division of Moldova, Law on "Teleradio-Moldova" Public Broadcaster, Penal and Civil Code.
During the week Parliament passed a number of other important laws, namely:
I. Law on Raising the Minimal Quota of Payments in Cash
ADEPT Comment: As it stands now, businesses may make payments in cash up to 15,000 Lei only, otherwise the Centre for Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption sets a fine equal to 10% of the amount. These sanctions do not apply if payments are made to individuals, farms, licence holders, and several other cases. The Parliament now raised the quota to 100,000 Lei. The move is supposed to eliminate one of the barriers the business is struggling with. Noteworthy, previously the Parliament refused several times to raise the amount on the grounds it would channel liquidity to shadow economy.
II. Law on Reorganisation of the State Chancellery into Government Apparatus
ADEPT Comment: Several provisions were excluded from the draft voted in the first reading as regards obligatory command of Moldovan and Russian by public officers, as well as prohibiting members of political organisations and public associations to serve in Government Apparatus.
Noteworthy, under the language legislation, chiefs, employees of the state power, state administration, public organisations; as well as employees of enterprises, institutions, organisations in direct contact with citizens (healthcare, public education, media, transportation, telecommunication, trade, social services, communal husbandry, law enforcement, safeguard service, etc), regardless of nationality should fluently speak Moldovan, Russian and in localities largely populated by Gagauz people the Gagauz language as well - so as to observe citizens' right to choose the language of communication.
III. Draft law on cancelling penalties and fines to economic agents
ADEPT Comment: Parliament cancelled penalties and fines worth 12 million Lei calculated to economic agents in 2001-2002 who paid all debts. Among those enterprises are several giants: "Termocom", "Tutun CTC", Railroad of Moldova, "Pielart", "Micron", etc. One of the opinions voiced during the debates was that such initiatives may determine debtors not to pay the debts to state budget.
Government believes that on the contrary such measures encourage the debtors to redeem the debt so as to be exempted from fines. Noteworthy, incumbent Parliament passed more than twenty such initiatives exempting or cancelling fines to many state or private institutions worth over 100 million Lei.