Democracy and governing in Moldova
II year, no. 22, 15 January 2003
Activity of public institutions
Studies, analyses, comments
I. Activity of public institutions
Traditionally the Parliament is surprising efficient at the end of the year. This year was not an exception, the Parliament examined and passed great many legal acts some of which will be considered in greater detail.
Law on the Social Security Budget for Year 2004 is the second most important piece of legislation after the Law on the State Budget, as it affects all the citizens by establishing the taxes and fees they are due to pay. The following taxes were set: 28% social security tax for employees working based on a work contract; 2% social security tax for individual insurance of the employees working based on a work contract or contracted to render services; 1.7 Lei on unit/hectare for insuring the owners of agricultural plots, regardless of the form of organisation; 4.5% for social insurance of the pensioners, handicapped employed in enterprises, public associations, etc; 10% of the net income for the founders of individual enterprises; 10% of the remuneration received for the services rendered (lawyers, notaries). The law also raises the indemnities to be paid for children ranging 1.5-16 years old from 25 to 50 Lei and the ceiling of monthly income per family member eligible for indemnities from 18 to 100 Lei.
Law on measures for economic and financial recovery of economic agents in the field of agriculture provides for measures to be taken in order to improve the situation in agricultural units restructured under the "Land" programme, which did not made them eligible for state support. It envisages supporting enterprises that preserved the collective administration of property on land, and accrued huge debts to the state budget and penalties.
The law obliges Creditors Councils to conclude Memorandums with those enterprises so as to restructure their debts as of January 1, 2002 in line with the provisions of the Law on Insolvency. This means that de facto those entities are insolvent, however several favourable terms allow them to recover.
Under the modifications to Law on modifying the Law on cancelling the penalties and financial sanctions penalties at the day of the enforcement of the law are cancelled in proportion of 80% to the agricultural producers. Opposition criticised the law on the grounds that it favours those who breach the law to the detriment of those who comply with the law and pay taxes.
Law on the modification of the Law on the Consumer Protection prohibits the import and sale of products that do not provide veridical information in Moldovan language or in Moldovan and Russian languages.
Law on the modification and completion of legal acts on audio-visual advertising completes the list of restrictions provided for in the Code of Offence, thereby sanctioning the following: violation of the terms of airing the audio-visual programs established by the Audio-visual Co-ordinating Council and the Central Electoral Commission during the electoral campaign; airing on other frequencies or channels, breaching technical specifications, area or technical parameters as provided in the airing license; airing advertising by breaching other legal provisions.
Law on Advertising was also completed with new provisions, namely: advertising should be loyal and honest; advertising should be identified without any special knowledge and technical devices; advertising should not mislead, nor should it infringe consumer interests; in mass-media, ads should be separated by means of distinct comments or headings from other shows, printed materials, video, and audio; subconscious advertising is prohibited; ads should be in Moldovan language, and at the contractor's wish in Moldovan and other languages in line with the provisions of the Republic of Moldova law and international treaties Republic of Moldova is part of; it shall be prohibited to use without authorisation state symbols, names of companies, enterprises, institutions or organisations.
As the Central Electoral Commission mandate expired on December 16, 2003, in compliance with the electoral law the Presidency, Supreme Magistracy Council and Parliament designated new members for a six-year mandate. Parliament approved the new membership via Resolution on designation of a new membership of the Central Electoral Commission.
Based on an a ruling of a Constitutional Court the Parliament issued a Resolution on changing the name of a parliamentary faction, thereby ruling that the changes in the name of the "Braghis Alliance" were null and void, as the law does not provide for changing a faction name (previously the name of the faction was changed to Social-Democratic Alliance and "Moldova Noastra" Alliance). This decision was severely criticised by the opposition on the grounds it breaches the autonomy of parliamentary factions and violates the Parliament Regulation, the Law on the Status of Deputy and other relevant laws.
Another controversial act the Conception of the National State Policy was passed in the final reading by the Parliament. The most controversial provisions admit the existence of a Romanian minority in the Republic of Moldova, grant the Russian language a status of "language of interethnic communication", and allow "neutralising in conformity with the human rights legislation and Constitutional provisions, of the numerous attempts to de-Moldovanise, to renegade the existence of the Moldovan nation and its statehood, to discredit Moldovan history, to ignore the term "Moldovans" and "Moldovan language". The Conception provides that Government should elaborate and adopt an action plan to enforce the measures outlined in the conception.
At the closing session of the winter legislative session, on December 26, Parliament Speaker, Eugenia Ostapciuc reviewed legislature's activity during the session and throughout 2003. In October - December 2003 the Parliament convened on 26 plenary session and passed 225 legal acts. Mrs. Ostapciuc also indicated that in its three years of activity XVth legislature of the Parliament passed 2,182 legal acts. The Speaker also enumerated the most important pieces of legislation adopted during the session, in particular in the fields of judiciary, fighting corruption, local public administration, economy and social field. During that period the Parliament ratified 8 Agreements, Conventions and other international acts. In addition, deputies submitted 372 appeals and made 1,978 field visits.
The Speaker also praised the higher quality of the acts adopted. Mrs. Ostapciuc also pointed the need to bring Moldovan law in accordance with the European law so as bolster Moldova's efforts to join EU. Fact also confirmed by the President Voronin who while praising the Parliament for its activity in 2003, called on deputies to dedicate themselves entirely to legislative activity in 2004.
On December 15, 2003 Government approved the budget of the National Company for Obligatory Medical Insurance for year 2004 worth 1 billion 70 million Lei, amount to be spent for the enforcement of obligatory medical insurance commencing January 1, 2004. 651 million shall be allotted from the state budget, money enough to cover for the medical insurance of 1 million 476 thousand people in need (pensioners, disabled unemployed, children and students), whereas the rest shall be covered by employers and employees, who are due to pay 2% of wage each.
Given the enforcement of a new medical insurance system, Government decided to freeze the debts of the medical institutions for a two-year period, until January 1, 2006. The debts estimated at 36,3 million Lei will be restructured for a five-year period.
On December 24, Government established two commissions entrusted to oversee the liquidation of the State "Teleradio-Moldova" Company. One would inventory and evaluate the Company's assets within 15 days, the other would devise within 10 days a mechanism of repaying the debts.
At the initiative of Migration Department, Government approved on December 24 a Regulation on the financial assistance to be provided to refugees stationed in the Republic of Moldova. Commencing 2004 refugees would benefit of monthly payments worth 135 Lei for a six-month period at most. To qualify for the payment, refugees have to fill in an application and pledge to reimburse the money received.
Government came up with a proposition to introduce taxes on the import of canned sugar and sugar beat, namely: a 55% tax to be applied between February 16 - December 31, 2004, but no less than 115 Euro per tone; 50% tax in 2005, but no less than 110 per tone; 45% in 2006, but no less than 105 Euro per tone; and 40% in 2007-2008, but no less than 100 Euro per tone.
Moreover, Government approved the Conception of the penal reform and an Action plan for 2004-2013. It also extended by one year the right of Transdnistrian companies to register with the State Registry of enterprises and organisations.
At the closing session of the autumn-winter session of the Parliament, Prime-Minister reported on the results of the Government activity throughout 2003. Thus, Mr. Tarlev indicated that "in January - September (2003) the GDP rose by 6.2% as compared to last year and its nominal value reached 19.5 billion Lei", inflation rate reached 14% in the first 11 months of 2003; domestic currency appreciated by 3.8% in nominal terms; whereas industrial output rose by 17% as compared to 2002.
Also the following trends have been registered: a 23% increase in the investment in fixed assets; a 29.1% boost in foreign trade as compared to 2002, namely exports to CIS region raised by 21%, whereas to EU and CEE by 27.8% and 47.7% respectively. Another tendency registered in 2003 were soaring imports, which raised in the first 10 months of the year by 31.5% as compared to the previous year, thereby imports from CIS rose by 46%, whereas from EU (which account for 27.6% of the total imports to Moldova) and CEE by 39.9% and 20.9% respectively.
Other successes scored by the Government include, according to the Prime-Minister, revenues to the state budget worth 5 billion 817.9 million Lei in January - November, i.e. a 31% increase as compared to a similar period last year, which exceeds by 6.3% the figures originally planed. Vasile Tarlev also indicated that 46 million USD were spent for servicing the foreign debt and 287.8 million Lei for the internal debt.
In conclusion, Mr. Tarlev pointed that "despite all the difficulties" the year 2003 "would enter in history as the year of new achievements in the socio-economic development of the Republic of Moldova". The President reached the very same conclusion in his address to the Parliament at its closing session. The only difference resides in the time of reference as the President indicated that in the last three years it was possible to stop the economic slowdown, to boost an economic growth, and accelerate European integration efforts. Apparently, Parliament of the European Union is of another opinion. Its resolution on the Republic of Moldova adopted on 18 December 2003, reads that "due to weak administration and a lack of effective democratic control over the administration, the economy of Moldova suffers from a high degree of corruption, nearly 80% of the market is informal, so that there is no tax revenue, there are no border controls on the eastern border and the social system is inefficient, making the country one of the poorest in Europe". It also reads that "Moldovan Government has not been able to stabilise the economy and establish greater democracy" and called it to "intensify the process of economic and social reform, including the further development and implementation of anti-corruption measures".
On December 16, President Vladimir Voronin attended a session of the Military College of the Defence Ministry. According to the President National Army did not met the needs of the time and he called on its reform. He indicated that he would ask Government and Parliament to ensure the legal and financial measures required in this respect. Also Voronin stated that "the issue here is not to increase the number of the military, but rather to ensure the state security. The time has come for radical changes in the Army, that would boost its defence capabilities and would consolidate the image of the Republic of Moldova's Army abroad as well as in the country".
Inauguration of the Gagauz-Yeri Peoples' Assembly
The President attended the inaugural session of the Comrat Legislature, which includes 17 independent deputies, 16 Communists, 1 of the Party of Socialists, 1 of the "Ravnopravie" Movement. On this occasion President Voronin praised Gagauz voters for making right choice by electing independent and Communist candidates, thereby electing "stability, peace and safety of tomorrow".
President also recommended the newly elected deputies to concentrate on agricultural recovery, water and gas supply to the autonomy localities, creating more job opportunities and supporting small-to-middling business.
2004 - Year of the Stefan the Great
On December 23, President Voronin signed a decree thereby declaring 2004 the year of the Stefan the Great on the occasion of 500th anniversary from his death and "as a sign of deep gratitude for his remarkable role in the history of the Moldovan state and given the need to educate patriotism and consolidate Republic of Moldova statehood". The decree also outlines a set of measures throughout the year, which most likely would garner a rich harvest of criticism.
The Resolution of the European Parliament on Moldova
On 18 December, the Parliament of the European Union adopted a Resolution on Moldova, in which it stated its "support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova as the basis for any peaceful solution of the Transnistrian conflict; welcomes the establishment of a joint constitutional commission, but is disappointed that the commission has not made any substantial progress", and "considers that the peace plan presented by Russia in order to legitimise the present situation is an obstacle to the further development of democracy in Moldova and does not contribute to the stabilisation of the whole region". Furthermore, the European Parliament "deplores the fact that the Russian Government does not intend to withdraw its arms and troops before the end of 2003 despite its repeated commitments; … welcomes the position of most of the ministers taking part in the 11th OSCE Ministerial Council in favour of providing an OSCE mandate for a multinational peace consolidation mission … and would like the EU to join this mission". At the same time, the EU Parliament "urges the Governments of Romania, Ukraine and Russia to refrain from any unilateral interference in Moldova's internal affairs and to work together with the OSCE, the EU and the Council of Europe in order to foster the stable and peaceful development of all countries in the region".
Post-"Kozak Memorandum" developments
Two more trainloads of Russian arms were transported from Transnistria on 18 and 23 December. Moreover, according to a communique of military structures from Moscow, quoted by Russian news agencies, on 27 December, transporter aircrafts IL-76, owned by the Russian Defence Ministry, evacuated the entire stock of mobile rocket launchers (PZRK) and the one of teleguided anti-air rockets (ZUR). The OSCE Mission to Moldova spokesperson Claus Neukirch confirmed the fact that two Russian aircrafts evacuated weaponry from Transnistria on the said date, but could not say anything with regard to the composition and quantity of the loads, because the OSCE Mission observers were not allowed to monitor the evacuation as they lacked the authorisation of the Russian Federation.
According to data from the Operational Group of Russian Troops in Transnistria, 40 trainloads of weaponry and nine of military equipment were evacuated from Transnistria during 2003. The quantity of evacuated loads amounts to over 20,000 tons, which is approximately half the initial stock of 43, 000 tons left behind by the 14th Soviet Army. According to an earlier statement by the Russian Defence Minister, Russia might need another six months to complete the withdrawal, provided that the current pace of evacuation adopted in late October, that is two trainloads per week, is maintained.
Earlier, the Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov told a press conference organised for representatives of Russian and official Transnistrian media that the failure by the Moldovan authorities to sign the Russian plan of settling the conflict offers Moscow "political and moral" opportunities to change the deadline for the withdrawal of its weapons from Transnistria. According to Russian press agencies, Smirnov said that "we will not put any pressure on Russia, but will simply stop the evacuation of Russian arms, should we feel that our security is under threat."
Transnistria has not yet put into practice its threats to block the evacuation of Russian arms from the region, although a number of Transnistrian officials had previously announced they intended to do so because, they said, the refusal of the Moldovan authorities to sign the so-called "Kozak" plan of solving the conflict breached the principle of synchronising the withdrawal of arms with finding a political solution to the conflict.
The OSCE Mission to Moldova, in a response statement, said that the withdrawal of Russian arms and troops from the territory of the Republic of Moldova and the political settlement of the conflict are two completely separate processes and there has never been a direct connection between them. At the same time, the OSCE Mission reiterated the international commitments of the Russian Federation to withdraw fully its troops and arms and expressed hope that it will find ways to overcome whatever obstacle there is to fulfilling those commitments.
A new plan of settling the Transnistrian conflict
In his speech held during the closing meeting of the autumn-winter session of the Parliament, President Voronin gave up his usually optimistic tone with regard to the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict and insisted on the fact that while the Transnistrian issue is an object of certain "geopolitical ambitions", the Republic of Moldova will agree to a solution that is acceptable to all sides - Russia, the EU and the OSCE. President Voronin confirmed that at present a new plan of solving the conflict is being drafted in Chisinau. In a statement made later, Voronin said that the new plan would be based on the principle of federalising Moldova, elaborate on the "Kozak" plan and include a number of already tested and partially accepted provisions.
Moldovan papers no longer valid in Transnistria
On 1 January 2004, the decision of the Transnistrian administration whereby the Transnistrian administrative bodies are instructed not to recognise documents issued by Moldovan authorities unless they have been authorised by relevant legal institutions from Transnistria entered into force.
The decision was commented upon by the Moldova Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova as a flagrant violation of the basic human rights by the Transnistrian regime and yet another attempt to compromise the relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol.
III. Studies, analyses, comments
1. Is European integration still of strategic importance?
by Igor Botan
1. Outlining and delegation of tasks
In his speech of December 26, 2003 at the closing of the Parliament fall-winter session, Vladimir Voronin outlined new tasks for the year 2004. One of those tasks was speeding up the efforts in view of Republic of Moldova' integration into EU. Several days latter a meeting was convened and presided by the President with the Prime Minister Tarlev, decision-makers of the Presidency, Parliament and Government in attendance. President Voronin pointed during the meeting that "European integration is an objective of strategic importance for the Republic of Moldova and the future of the country; and the destiny of the generations to come rests on it". Therefore, it was important to take some steps "institutional and functional ones" to prepare in due time "Republic of Moldova's propositions on the Republic of Moldova - EU Action Plan". The Action Plan is to define "the objectives to be accomplished for Moldova to get closer to EU, which is a very prestigious European organisation". The Action Plan is to be finalised prior to the EU Council reunion in May 2004. According to the President, European Integration Department would have to "define Republic of Moldova's position in negotiations with EU on the Action Plan". In addition, the Department "would have to co-ordinate the activities on the domestic scale and to represent Republic of Moldova at negotiations…"
In this respect President Voronin outlined the basic tasks for getting closer to EU: 1) more decisive enforcement of structural reforms so as to meet Copenhagen criteria; 2) adjusting national legislation and standards to the community ones.
In his turn, to fulfil them Prime-Minister was entrusted with a number of other tasks: 1) to develop and enforce a governmental plan of personnel training and professional development; 2) to establish "task forces, whose members are to be carefully selected and endorsed by the Government" within Ministries and departments; 3) to oversee the activity of the task forces while developing the Action plan; 4) to study Slovakia and Slovenia's experience in joining EU; 5) "simultaneously" elaborate "the European Strategy, which is to include all areas of activity in view of fulfilling Republic of Moldova aspirations to join EU".
2. New sources of integrationist inspiration
It is all-to-clear that Moldovan authorities' integrationist rush is inspired by two sources: 1) failure of the "Kozak plan" on settling Transdnistrian conflict that was released in mid-November and ended in worse-off bilateral relations with Russia; 2) visit paid by Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen, to Chisinau on December 4 - 5, 2003.
Let us follow on the second one. During his meeting with President Voronin, European Commissioner reviewed the strategic priorities and basic principles of the EU's "new neighbourhood" policy for countries on its eastern and southern borders after enlargement. He pointed that "Republic of Moldova would enjoy a preferential treatment as compared to Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus". In this respect, EU was willing to develop jointly with the Moldovan authorities an individual Action Plan, which is to take into account the specifics, capacity and problems of the Republic of Moldova and is to define the objectives of the Republic of Moldova - EU co-operation.
European Commissioner's message to Moldovan authorities and political elite was plainly clear: 1) EU neighbourhood policy is different from a new accession wave; 2) this policy refers to the countries for which membership is still not on the agenda; 3) it is not in the best interest of the Republic of Moldova to insist on being included in the Stabilisation and Association Process, as those policies were initially designed for western Balkans and are not tailored to Moldova's needs; 4) EU would employ different co-operation mechanisms in relations with its new neighbours than those employed within the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe.
Domestic experts interpret EU Commissioner's message as: 1) quite discouraging for the President Voronin's intention to join EU via the South-Eastern tier; 2) eventual preferential treatment for the Republic of Moldova comes from the fact that EU would have joint borders with Moldova at least three years latter than with Ukraine and Belarus, that is EU's differentiated relations with its neighbours is not exactly an indicator of preferential relations with the Republic of Moldova.
However, the bright side of Verhaugen's message for Moldova is that "EU's neighbourhood policy does not shut the door for the European aspirations of any of the neighbourhood countries", this policy represents a "window of opportunities".
It is quite interesting, though, that Moldovan authorities interpreted European official's message slightly different, to say at least. According to the Presidency press service "Gunter Verheugen pointed that EU neighbourhood policy opens a clear perspective of joining EU for the Eastern countries, which are not part to the accession process, and gives new hopes and incentives for a more active promotion of economic and political reforms".
This specific interpretation of Verhaugen's message came to light immediately after Enlargement Commissioner's visit to Chisinau, when the President called on a meeting Moldovan Ambassadors serving in European countries, as well as a number of other decision-makers responsible for enforcing Republic of Moldova's strategic objective of joining EU. During the meeting President Voronin insisted on accession via South-Eastern tier "I am convinced that Republic of Moldova has to … capitalise efficiently on all the possibilities offered by the South-Eastern dimension of our policy, by combining them with those provided by the EU's neighbourhood policy". He also briefed Moldovan diplomats on the objectives of the future Action Plan and the tasks to be carried out in this respect. The latter were once again reiterated a couple of weeks later, during a meeting attended by officials of the Presidency, Parliament and Government. At issue was also the need "to enforce central government reform by taking into account the needs of European integration".
Moreover, diplomats were given specific tasks, one of them being Republic of Moldova to "obtain in the next 2-3 years the status of candidate country". For that to happen, EU should be involved in: 1) settlement of the Transdnistrian conflict; 2) enforcement of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy; 3) boosting trade between EU and Moldova as well as domestic and foreign investment in the Moldovan economy. The only thing left is for EU to accept to get involved in those activities.
3. "Deja vu"
Taking notice of the tasks outlined by the President during the two December meetings, first one with the diplomats, and the second one with the decision-makers of the Presidency, Government and Parliament, one cannot help having a feeling of "deja vu". The fact is that a year ago, in mid-December 2002 during the first session of the National Commission on European Integration President Voronin outlined the very same tasks, i.e. Republic of Moldova's accession to EU. Back then, at the end of 2002, the tasks outlined were intended to further the ones outlined in the Presidential Decree no. 957-III of November 13, 2002 thereby establishing the National Commission on European Integration (NCEI). The Presidential decree also provided for: 1) elaboration by the NCEI of the Republic of Moldova's Strategy of European Integration; 2) approval by the Parliament of the NCEI's Strategy; 3) elaboration, approval and co-ordination in the implementation of the Action Plan on enforcing the Strategy; 4) establishing a central government body to oversee the enforcement of the European integration policy.
Nowadays, one year later we find that all the efforts in view of European integration resumed to the establishment of three bodies, namely: of a NCEI via a Presidential Decree no. 957-III; of a Parliamentary Commission on European Integration (PCEI) via the Resolution no.84-XV of February 28, 2002; and of an European Integration Department (EID) via a Government resolution no. 960 of August 4, 2003. Noteworthy, Republic of Moldova's legal framework in as far as its new "objective of strategic importance for the Republic of Moldova" is concerned resumes to the three documents cited above. They are also the only ones where "European integration" term is ever to be found.
It is true that the term "European integration" is also to be found in the Law on Tourism no. 798-XIV of February 11, 2000 which stipulated "European integration via tourism", as well as in the Parliament resolution no. 605-XV of November 2, 2001 approving the Environmental Conception of the Republic Moldova providing for "European integration via environmental policy". As for the international acts signed by the Republic of Moldova, the said term is only to be found in the Joint Declaration of the Republic of Moldova and People's Republic of China of June 6, 2000 "on the further consolidation of the multilateral co-operation in the XXI century". This Declaration is remarkable by the fact that is the only document specifying the terms of Moldova's eventual accession to EU, namely XXI century.
It is all-to-clear that the current legal framework is inappropriate for matching such an "objective of strategic importance" as European integration is. Establishing Commissions failed to deliver the expected results. On the contrary, it seems that Republic of Moldova's authorities follow the soviet-time practice thereby in order to compromise an initiative all sorts of commissions are to be established in order to implement it.
Indeed, after reviewing one-year achievements of the NCEI one may find that after its release had been postponed three times, the Strategy of European Integration ended being a simple conception. Probably, the Parliament didn't even examine, nor did it approve the Conception developed by the NCEI on the grounds that the Presidential decree referred specifically to the Strategy and not to the Conception which wasn't even made public for the citizens to read it. Authorities claim the document was directly submitted to the European Commission back in September 2003. It is still unclear whether EU officials took a stance on the Moldovan Conception. The recent European Parliament's resolution on the Republic of Moldova of December 18, 2003 makes reference to nine core documents related to the Republic of Moldova and there is no mention of the NCEI in it.
The strange thing here is that in his recent addresses to the decision makers who are to carry out the very same tasks of EU integration that were entrusted to the NCEI one year ago, President Voronin did not refer at all to its existence.
Even stranger is the fact that decision-makers whom the president addressed are no one but the members of the Commission themselves, namely Prime-Minister Vasile Tarlev, its Chairperson, as well as the rest of the Cabinet! One may say that Commission's name got to pay for the failure of any progress, rather than its members. Under those circumstances one may rightly wonder whether Presidential Decree - the main normative act referring to the Republic of Moldova's European integration issued specifically in order to establish the NCEI - still holds true.
The activity of the PCEI seems to have been as fruitful as that of the above. One thing is for sure, PCEI did not even made public its activity reports (on July 1 and on January 1) as was provided for in the Parliament resolution, thereby the Commission was established.
It comes as no surprise then, that in its action plan for the first quarter of 2004, approved via Resolution no.1577 of December 26, 2003 the Government does not envisage any actions in view of achieving the "objective of strategic importance for the Republic of Moldova". And this after President Voronin indicated in his address to the Parliament and Government at the end of summer Parliament session that "we should acknowledge the fact that European integration should necessarily be reflected in a joint and a well co-ordinated programme of the legislative and executive powers. This programme should not resume to a statement of intentions. I should say that this raft of measures should become a programme of the legislature as well, more precisely of that political majority that determines Parliament decisions. Otherwise, this endeavour is pointless. Both the Government and Parliament should act in this respect, observing a carefully designed agenda and having a clear objective, i.e. in 2007 Moldova should become an EU associated member".
It's hard to evaluate the activity of European Integration Department established just 5 months ago. It is hoped that the Department would become the propelling force of the Republic of Moldova's efforts to join EU, at least for the sake of justifying its name. However, for this to happen, in compliance with Article 66 of the Constitution, the Parliament is to adopt at last the "main priorities of the state foreign policy", that is, the new Conception of Foreign Policy, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had promised to deliver by the end of the year; as well as adopt the Strategy of European Integration of the Republic of Moldova in line with the Presidential decree issued more than a year ago.
Only in this case one may talk about an appropriate legal framework designed to embolden the "strategic course" towards European integration, which would determine decision-makers in the Presidency, Parliament, and Government to act in line with the Strategy of European Integration, instead of opportunist considerations. For instance, the existence of a legal framework to support the Strategy of European Integration would considerably diminish the possibility to develop and adopt "behind Europe's back" any documents such as the "Kozak Memorandum" and the like, which rule out prospects of eventual EU membership in the first place.
Also, the adoption by the Parliament of the Strategy of European Integration may have a considerable impact on the ruling party reform. If the Communist leaders were to compare the tasks outlined in the party political programme with the provisions of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement concluded between Moldova and EU on November 28, 1994, they would notice that they run counter to each other. Or may be it is exactly the indecision of the Communist party moguls' (members of NCEI and PCEI) on what's more important - European integration or party program, that generates inconsistency between words and deeds? To cite just one example. One month after President Voronin declared European integration as the country's strategic course, Eugenia Ostapciuc, Speaker of the Parliament stated during a press conference that "Communist Party sticks to all its options outlined in the electoral programme, including the one on joining Russia-Belarus Union". Therefore, European officials recommended Moldovan authorities in quite delicate manner to firstly comply with the provisions of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement before engaging in issuing European integration strategies.
In this respect, one may understand President Voronin's claim to reform central government and personnel policies in the Republic of Moldova. Beating time may stem from the fact that representatives of the incumbent ruling - who for ten years since independence while being in opposition kept winning about "disappearance of the socialist motherland" and singled-out URSS restoration as a strategic goal - are now called by the President to engage in the elaboration and implementation of the Strategy of European Integration. The fact is that the inconsistency of policies promoted by the Communist Party went to the most ludicrous length. For instance, immediately after President Voronin's meeting with Moldovan ambassadors when he urged them to promote integrationist policies and contribute to the elaboration of the Strategy of European Integration, Moldova Suverana governmental newspaper featured an interview with Alexei Tulbure, Republic of Moldova's Ambassador to the Council of Europe who unceremoniously claimed that "this year (2003) our country adopted the Strategy of European Integration, a document which outlines the top priorities for the country development in the next couple of years". This publicly state falsehood is another evidence to the fact that European integration efforts are nothing but an opportunist propaganda move. Thus one may well claim that the widely-publicised reform of the ruling party as well as the European integration strategy follow to a great extend the well known slogan "Movement is everything, goal is nothing" by Edward Bernstain, one of the opportunist leaders of the Second International.
In this respect, it is worth mentioning again President Voronin's opinion voiced during his meeting with decision-makers: "we are obliged to show maximum responsibility from our side so as to prove to EU, to the entire society, and to ourselves for that matter, that we are able to meet the highest requirements of the European community and that we may be accepted to the negotiation table in view of accession to EU". Moreover, President's call correlates very well with another of his statements of July 2003: "If we consider ourselves politicians, if we are ready to account for each of the word we speak up in front of the people, then, I believe, the time has come to take action". This is a paraphrase of Lenin's "Sincerity in politics, in that sphere of human relations which does not refer to a single person, but rather to millions - sincerity in politics is a thing that could be easily tested by comparing words to deeds" (v. 32, p. 259). Lenin words should serve as a strong incentive to the Communists' in power to engage in elaboration and implementation of the Republic of Moldova's Strategy of European Integration, the only thing is that Lenin considered that "United States of Europe are impossible or rather reactionary under capitalism".