Activity of the Parliament on April 11-15, 2005
20 April 2005
The Parliament has started its usual activity regarding examination of draft legislative documents, with sittings taking place under a calm atmosphere. Only talks on drafts related to the structure of the cabinet of ministers and live broadcasting of plenary sittings provoked ardent debates among lawmakers, which were calmed down through a separate voting.
I. Law for amendment of the law on executive
Commentary by ADEPT: The Moldovan president unveiled this initiative in the Parliament with a couple of days after introducing the new prime minister to lawmakers and proposing the cardinal reformation of the cabinet of ministers and central public administration authorities.
According to the new structure, the cabinet of ministers will comprise 15 ministries:
- Economics and Trade Ministry;
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration;
- Ministry of Interior Affairs;
- Defence Ministry;
- Finance Ministry;
- Ministry of Transportation and Road Management;
- Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources;
- Justice Ministry;
- Ministry of Information Development;
- Reintegration Ministry;
- Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure;
- Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry;
- Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport;
- Ministry of Health and Social Protection;
- Ministry of Culture and Tourism;
Also, the cabinet will comprise other central administrative bodies such as:
- Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption;
- Licence Chamber;
- Standardization and Metrology Service;
- Customs Service;
- Border Guard Service;
- National Bureau for Statistics;
- National Bureau for Migration;
- Bureau of Inter-Ethnic Relations;
- Moldova-Vin Agri-Industrial Agency;
- Moldsilva Agency for Forestry;
- Agency for Land Relations and Cadastre;
- Agency for Regional Development;
- Agency for Material Resources, Public Acquisitions and Aid.
The law adopted by the Parliament does not establish the hierarchy of these structures, but available reports say that the central executive administration would correspond to the following scheme: ministry - national bureau (centre/ chamber) - service - agency. No concrete subordination is indicated.
Comparing this structure of executive with the one indicated by the Moldovan president to lawmakers, we can observe some differences since the chief of state proposed maximum 17 ministries instead of the 16 ministries and 14 departments in the Tarlev-I cabinet. It was presumed that departments would disappear as central administrative institutions and ministries would take over their tasks. Opposition lawmakers indicated this issue, and described this reform as insufficient and incapable to fulfil the tasks established for the next four years.
II. Law on live broadcast of plenary sittings of the Parliament
Commentary by ADEPT: Albeit it seems that they are interested the most in solving this problem, not all the lawmakers shared the same opinion regarding the proposal of the Christian Democratic People's Party (PPCD) to ensure the live broadcasting of plenary sittings. They invoked economic and political reasons against this idea, saying even that "TV watchers would not understand what is discussing there" and "the rating of these programmes would be null."
The main arguments in favour of this initiative were based on experience of European countries and need to ensure the information of public. It was highlighted that "the price is not important" for accomplishment of these goals, no matter how high it is.
It is worth to underline that parliamentarians did not indicate any financial sources to cover these amendments, nor they established any date for implementation of these amendments. As a result, if the law is published, its accurate implementation could be demanded immediately after its appearance in Monitorul Oficial.
III. International documents on activity of GUUAM
Commentary by ADEPT: Chisinau will host on April 21-22 the GUUAM summit and the Parliament has urgently ratified several international documents in this regard:
1. Yalta Chart of GUUAM
The chart is the key juridical document on constitution of the organisation, named on basis of first letters of founding states: Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova.
The initiative to create this association of states was launched in the mid-1990s. Later, the GUUAM leaders signed three political declarations - on October 10, 1997 in Strasbourg, on April 24, 1999 in Washington, and on September 6, 2000 in New York, so that GUUAM became a regional initiative aimed to promote the cooperation on European and regional security matters, in particular, within the OSCE.
Moldova joined this initiative to implement concrete projects on facilitation of trade and development of Euro-Asian transportation networks, as well as border security, struggle against terrorism, organised crime, and illegal trafficking in drugs and human beings. The United States and European Union provide political and financial assistance for cooperation within GUUAM.
According to the GUUAM Chart, this organisation has an open nature, being created in compliance with universally recognised international law norms and principles and key cooperation sectors: economy, science, technologies and environment, infrastructure of transports, energy, telecommunications, investments and finances, humanitarian sector, culture, education, mass media, tourism, and youth exchange.
The annual meeting of chiefs of state is the supreme body of GUUAM, while the member states hold the rotating chairmanship in this organisation in alphabetic order.
The meetings of chiefs of state pass decisions on key directions of political, economic and humanitarian cooperation within GUUAM; creation of specialized bodies of GUUAM; coordination of stances regarding current issues of common interest of international life.
The sessions of foreign ministers which takes place, as a rule, twice a year is the executive body of GUUAM. The sessions of foreign ministers examine problems related to implementation of agreements within GUUAM and draft proposals on development and continued deepening of GUUAM cooperation for examination at meetings of chiefs of state.
The Committee of National Coordinators (CNC), which comprises national coordinators named by foreign ministers and by one on behalf of every member state, is the task force of GUUAM. CNC coordinates the activity between GUUAM-member states, prepares the meetings of chiefs of state and sessions of foreign ministers. CNC holds sittings every quarter, while the member states host them in consecutive order.
2. GUUAM agreement on creation of free trade zone
The agreement aims to create a free trade zone to cover most of commercial exchanges between Moldova and GUUAM-member states. The key objectives of this agreement comprise among others:
- promotion of mutual trade through expansion, development of economic relations, improvement of living standards and work conditions, enhanced productivity and financial stability;
- insurance of conditions for a loyal commercial competition between sides;
- participation in elimination of tariff and non-tariff obstacles on way of trade, harmonious development, and trade expansion in the region;
- creation of premises needed for development of juridical framework, multilateral cooperation and collaboration in different sectors;
- abolition of all customs duties for importation, exportation, and others with similar effects;
- creation of a predictable and stable juridical framework on development of multilateral commercial-economic relations;
- guaranteeing of free transit;
- protection of intellectual property rights;
- regulation of introduction and implementation of compensating anti-dumping and safeguard measures in line with the World Trade Organisation requirements;
- strict delimitation of terms and cases for use of commercial protection techniques, as well as the mechanism for their use;
- no indirect taxes and fees will be in effect for goods exported from customs territory of a signatory side to customs territory of another party.
3. Agreement on creation of the GUUAM Information Office
The GUUAM Information Office will be the secretariat and information centre of GUUAM. The office aims at information support of the GUUAM National Coordinators, state and nongovernmental structures of member countries for accomplishment of an economic, political, cultural-humanitarian cooperation.
The spending estimate for the GUUAM Information Office in 2004 was established in the amount of 90,610 dollars. Thus, every member pays 18,122 dollars (of which 8,240 dollars is the initial sum paid once in three years, and 9,882 dollars is the permanent amount paid every year).
Creation and adequate functioning of the Information Office would allow a deeper cooperation between member states for accomplishment and implementation of the GUUAM Trade and Transportation Facilitation Project.
IV. Draft law on ecological agriculture
Commentary by ADEPT: The law adopted by the Parliament in the first lecture aims to regulate the social relations regarding ecological agriculture and use of synthesis chemical products, as well as sale of vegetal and animal products:
- products for human consumption made from one or more vegetal or animal ingredients;
- fodder and raw materials;
- unprocessed primary animal and vegetal products;
- processed animal and vegetal products.
The law establishes key notions such as:
- ecological agriculture - agriculture based on respect for principles which ensure the creation of a balanced and sustainable agri-ecosystem without use of polluting (synthetic) chemical substances under the shape of mineral fertilizers and pesticides for protection of plants prohibited by standards of ecological agri-foods for the entire cycle of agri-food production;
- ecological production - agri-food products obtained, stored and processed without use of synthesis chemical substances, in compliance with ecological production rules established through this law, with respect for national and international standards in this sector, and certified in line with rules;
- genetically modified organisms and their derivatives - organisms artificially obtained through techniques of modification of genetic material through reproduction/recombination, except for those obtained through conjugation, transduction and hybridization, etc.
Following are the key principles of ecological agriculture:
- achievement of some sustainable, diversified and balanced agricultural systems which protect the natural resources, health and lives of consumers;
- integrated approach of policy and actions at national and local levels, adjusted to the potential and limits of capacities of soil;
- non-use of any polluting technologies and restrictive regulation of use of polluting chemical means and destructive agricultural practices;
- protection and enhanced diversity through choice of sorts of crops and species, and methods of breeding of animals which can encourage the adjustment of ecological agriculture to natural limits of field;
- use of modern technologies for crops and animal breeding, technologies which would comply with requirements of species, sorts and breeds;
- continued maintenance and improvement of natural fertility of soil, and integration of plant production system and animal breeding system, etc.
V. Title VIII of the Fiscal Code: "Taxes for natural resources"
Commentary by ADEPT: The legislation regulating the rights and conditions for the use of natural resources comprises several legislative documents: code of waters; code of subsoil; forest code; law on natural resources. These laws establish that the natural resources are used for a pay to the budget. The state budget laws stipulated the taxes for use of natural resources until now. The draft Title VIII on taxes for natural resources of the Fiscal Code establishes the type of taxes, quotas, mode of pay, and facilities. Title VIII of the Fiscal Code will establish the notions, object and subject of taxes, concrete quotas of taxes, and terms for their payment to the budget.
It is also proposed a wider category of taxpayers who collect water, inclusion of public and non-commercial organisations, notaries, bars, foreign individuals and businesses as subjects of taxation.
Also, it is planned that the current mode of calculation of water collection taxes be simplified in dependence of limits established by the Republican Concern Apele Moldovei. Also, it is proposed the exemption of certain categories of payers in agriculture sector, farms which have no pumping system for irrigation, and fish growing taxpayers from water tax. The mode of calculation of taxes for geological prospecting and geological exploitation is significantly simplified, as fixed quotas of these taxes and their payment are established in the size calculated before start of these works.
Taking into account the fact that petrol and natural gas are extracted in the districts of Cahul and Vulcanesti, a tax for their extraction in the size of 20 percent of the cost of one unit of extracted raw material is proposed to be established.