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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, II year, no. 32, 16 June 2004
Activity of public institutions
Studies, analyses, comments
I. Activity of public institutions
During the June 3 session, Parliament fiercely debated on the outcomes of the administrative-territorial division in rayons. Senior Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Iovv that reported on the issue mentioned that both economic growth and GDP growth, surge in volume of exported goods, as well as gas supplied to numerous localities were the concrete outcomes of the administrative-territorial reform. Opposition deputies viewed the revision of local public administration system as an anti-reform, they argued that the money spent on its enforcement were unjustly high as the reform failed to bring local government closer to people. In this respect, they cited many problems related to limiting the number of local officials, financial dependence of administrative-territorial units on central government and rayon authorities, politicization of administration structures, lack of material resources, etc.
1.2. Legal acts
Law on Establishing Insolvency Procedure for Financial Institutions provides some exemptions from the Law on Insolvency, thereby insolvency procedures against certain financial institutions started until February 15, 2002 shall be undertaken in compliance with the law in force at the time the procedures were started. The reason for passing the law was the fact that throughout 1996- 2002 National Bank withdrew a number of licenses to financial institutions and appointed ex officio administrators to oversee liquidation procedures. Due to the fact that insolvency procedures continued even after the enforcement of the new Law on Insolvency it was necessary to provide for their settlement under the previous legal provisions.
Noteworthy, on November 14, 2001 Parliament passed the Law on Insolvency, thus abrogating the Law no. 786-XIII of March 26, 1996 on Bankruptcy and the Law on Restructuring Enterprises no. 958-XIII of July 19, 1996.
Law on Deducting the Amounts Wired to the Fund for Guaranteeing Bank Deposits provides that financial institutions that contribute to the Fund for guaranteeing bank deposits, shall be allowed to deduct the obligatory contributions set by the Law on Guaranteeing Natural Entities Bank Deposits in the Banking System.
Via the Law on canceling the penalties and sanctions incurred but not paid by "Fabrica de brinzeturi din Leova" Parliament cancelled the penalties and sanctions due by the Leova Cheese Factory to the state social insurance budget, amounting to 1.2 million Lei. The state had to intervene as the company failed to pay back the credit, due to the fact that the major suppliers of raw material disappeared from the market.
The adoption of the Law on Amending Article 49 of the Fiscal Code, proposed by the President, is seen as an important step towards supporting small businesses. It provides for full exemption from income tax, over three years, of the following economic agents:
- Agents whose average yearly number of staff is not greater than 19 and whose yearly amount of net sales, including services, does not exceed 3 million MDL;
- Peasant farms created pursuant to the Law on Peasant Farms;
- Agricultural cooperatives for provision of services meeting the requirements of the Law on Enterprise Cooperatives, provided that at least 75% of the total volume of own production (services) is being sold to members and/or at least 75% of the total volume of production (services) is purchased from own members.
The income tax exemption will not apply on economic agents who hold a dominant position in the market; whose social capital has a share of more than 35% shareholders who are not small business agents; producers and importers of goods subject to excises; investment funds; banks, etc.
The right to be exempted from the income tax will be granted upon the conclusion by the economic agent concludes of a special agreement with the State Fiscal Service, and the term for granting the exemption will not depend on the fact whether the agent obtained income subject to taxation or whether the agent suffered losses during the period for which the exemption was obtained.
Via the Law on the Ratification of some International Acts in the Field of Telecommunications the following has been ratified: The Instrument for the Modification of the Convention of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Instrument for the Modification of the By Laws of the International Telecommunications Union. The amendments operated to these two acts were adopted at the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU in 2002, and relate to the following: selection and activity of ITU leadership bodies, access to plenipotentiary conferences, radio telecommunications conferences and assemblies, world conferences on standardisation in telecommunications and conferences on developments in telecommunications, etc.
Also was adopted the Law on the Ratification of the Decision of the Council of Heads of States of the CIS. This law ratified the Decision of the Council of CIS Heads of States adopted in 2003 on changes to the CIS Statute, which included the introduction of the principle of alphabetical rotation for chairing the CIS bodies (Council of Heads of States, Heads of Governments, and Foreign Ministers).
(For further details on Parliament activity see http://www.e-democracy.md/en/comments/legislative/)
On June 2, Government appointed Iurie Tabirta as Director of the National Agency for Regulations in Telecommunications and IT, Ilie Boian as Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, and Valeriu Renita (former press secretary of the Presidency) as General Director of the State Information Agency "Moldpres".
On 9 June, Messrs Mircea Grigorev and Ghenadie Muntean were substituted by Andrei Ivancov and Nicolae Chitoroaga in the positions of deputy directors of the Centre for the Fight of Economic Crimes and Corruption. At the same Government meeting, Eugenia Gonciar was appointed Head of Division on Personnel Policy of the State Chancellery.
- The Cabinet adopted a decision on the selection of commercial banks to serve the territorial treasuries of the Ministry of Finances. The decision approved: the criteria for the selection of banks that will have the task to serve the territorial treasuries of the Ministry of Finance in 2004-2006; the nominal composition of the panel which will select these banks and of the panel regulations.
- An intergovernmental agreement with Kyrgyzstan was adopted via another Cabinet motion. The motion provides for the Department for Information Technologies to take on the obligation to issue passports and identity cards for the Kyrgyz citizens. Experts watch very closely the deal given that no details were made public and given Departments past track record (Parliament Commission found that it was improperly administrating the money on its account wired by Moldovan citizens for their passports and IDs).
- The Cabinet has also approved the maximum staff of the General Division for Refugees under the Migration Department, division that will have to create a shelter for asylum applicants and refugees. According to this decision, the Migration Department has to approve within one month the Regulations and structure of the division's staff, as well as the Regulations of the Centre.
- The Government approved the proposal by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to set up a CEC Information Centre and gave green light to a draft law in this sense. The centre will function as a sub-division of CEC and will have the purpose to facilitate the process of organisation and administration of the electoral process, as well as to support the activity of the CEC. According to the draft, the Centre will perform work related to the use of information technologies both during elections and referendums and in-between them; will create data bases in support of the electoral process; will provide informational and technical support to the CEC; will cooperate in the field of information technologies with local and central public authorities; will ensure the security of storing and transmitting information.
At the same time the Cabinet rejected the proposal from the People's Christian Democratic Party to modify the Electoral Code, whereby the voting ballots to be filled in would have a detachable coupon on which the voter would enter his/her name and identity card number. The cabinet also rejected another legislative initiative from the same party which proposed to organise elections for the President of Moldova two months after the expiration of mandate of the president in office. This proposal was intended to avoid the possibility of the head of state being elected twice by the same composition of the legislative body.
3.1. Stability and Security Pact for the Republic of Moldova
On 1 June 2004 President Vladimir Voronin summoned a meeting of foreign ambassadors accredited in Chisinau, to which he proposed a Stability and Security Pact for the Republic of Moldova. At the start of his address, the Head of State enumerated a number of actions taken by the Moldovan authorities with a view to create "an area of stability, transparency and security, an area which is of interest both to Moldova's direct neighbours - Romania and Ukraine, and indirect neighbours - the European Union, the US and the Russian Federation", and called upon the states and organisations in question to support the proposed Pact. President Voronin reiterated Moldova's commitment to the principle of "strategic neutrality" and stressed that Moldova "advances on its road to European integration and at the same time maintains an efficient and functional system of bilateral and multilateral relations within the CIS". In the same context, Voronin stressed that "any attempt to break this natural balance, including to give up the principles of poly-ethnicity and the ones of a federal solution of the Transmission conflict may provoke crises and stagnation".
Expressing his full confidence that "an open and coordinated position of Romania, Ukraine, the European Union, the US and the Russian Federation in a number of major issues related to Moldova may constitute the cornerstone of long term stability in this area", President Voronin called upon the said actors to seek a multilateral compromise on the following issues:
- Confirm their support for Moldova's efforts towards territorial integration within the internationally recognised borders;
- Confirm their support for creating the conditions to guarantee the participation of the entire society in the free democratic process throughout Moldova;
- Recognise the fact that cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity is a fundamental value of the poly-ethnic state, which is the Republic of Moldova, and confirm support for the creation of an atmosphere of tolerance and interethnic dialogue, poly-ethnicity and ethno-cultural diversity;
- Recognise the fact that the creation of a single defence space of the Republic of Moldova is only possible on the basis of developing and consolidating the permanent neutrality of the Republic of Moldova. Moldova would like all parties to express their availability to guarantee the strategic neutrality of Moldova;
- Recognise the fact that the most acceptable basis for the final resolution of the Transnistrian issue are the principles of federal state organisation of the Republic of Moldova, to be envisioned in the Constitution, and that these principles alone represent a viable mechanism to ensure internal guarantees for stability in Moldova.
The Moldovan President proposed that this multilateral compromise be reached in the result of a political conference of the heads of foreign affairs departments of the states and organisations concerned and that the Pact has the status of a document of international law. The text of the draft was sent to these states and organisations for consideration. Some of the first reactions to the presidential initiative have denoted a certain degree of confusion (Romania), whereas others have implied that the idea of such a pact is interesting (US, Poland) and even deserves to be supported (Slovenia).
Despite the numerous criticisms to the initiative by the parliamentary opposition, extra parliamentary parties and mass media and civil society representatives - criticisms that invoke the electoral context in which this initiative has been made, as well as its subversive and extravagant character, the will of the current government to undermine the natural course towards European integration of Moldova, and the defiant attitude towards Moldova's main partners - Vladimir Voronin reaffirmed, at last week's meeting with the group of ambassadors accredited at the OSCE on a visit to Chisinau, that the signature of the pact will have positive implications for the development of Moldova.
3.2. Legislative proposals
As a follow up to the presidential decree of 19 March 2004 on the creation of the informational society in the Republic of Moldova, as well as the promises made to the International Conference "BIT +", Vladimir Voronin submitted to Parliament, as a legislative initiative, the draft law on the electronic document and the digital signature. According to the press service of the Presidency, the draft provides for the legal conditions for the utilisation of the electronic document and the digital signature, and establishes the mechanism for guaranteeing, through special cryptographic methods, the security of this type of signature used in the process of electronic circulation of documents.
Another draft law submitted to Parliament for consideration by the Head of State has been the one on micro-finance organisations. The document was developed with a view to implement the State Programme for the support of small businesses in 2002-2005, and is regarded as likely to contribute to the creation of the legal framework necessary for the founding and functioning of micro-finance institutions in Moldova, the development of micro-finance market and the provision of some legal and political guarantees for the foreign investors. According to the Presidential press service, the major objective of this draft is to increase access of small businesses and population to financial resources.
II. Transdnistrian conflict
1. 26 OSCE Ambassadors visit Chisinau
A delegation made up of 26 ambassadors accredited at the OSCE in Vienna, including the US, the Russian and the Irish Ambassadors, visited Moldova on 9-12 June. This was a documentation visit, during which the ambassadors wanted to familiarise themselves with the issue of the Transnistrian conflict resolution.
The programme of the visit included meetings with President Vladimir Voronin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Stratan and the Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova, as well as a meeting with representatives of political parties and civil society organisations. The delegation also visited Transnistria where it met with members of the break away administration.
The US Ambassador at the Permanent Council of the OSCE Stephan Minikes told a press conference organised in Chisinau at the end of the visit that, in the opinion of the US Administration, the Russian Federation has plenty of leverages to determine the Transnistrians to unblock the process of withdrawal of Russian weapons from the region. Minikes expressed on behalf of his colleagues from the delegation the OSCE's concerns regarding the halt in this process and reiterated that the commitments taken by Russia at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in 1999, including the one to withdraw its troops from Moldova, may not be dissociated from the adapted Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. In this context, Minikes mentioned that the withdrawal of Russian troops and weapons from Transnistria is an essential precondition for the ratification of the treaty by the NATO Member States.
Presenting the conclusions of visit to Moldova of the members of the OSCE Delegation, the head of the delegation, Ivo Petrov, Bulgarian Ambassador at the OSCE, called abnormal the current situation at the eastern border of Moldova. He said that the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the OSCE will intensify its efforts with a view to identify as soon as possible a final solution for the Transnistrian conflict, and underlined that the Bulgarian diplomacy believes that the political plan developed by the mediators under the OSCE aegis last year is a very good basis for this.
2. President Voronin proposes international monitoring at eastern borders
In his address to the International Conference "Building Security Along Frontiers: the Role of the OSCE", held on 10 June in Slovenia, the Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin pleaded for the institution, under the OSCE aegis and with the EU support of an international mission for monitoring the eastern border of the Republic of Moldova. According to a communique by the Presidential Press Service, Voronin said that that such a monitoring mission on the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border would constitute "a good example of applying into practice the experience of European states in the field of border management" as well as "an example of successful cooperation between the EU and the OSCE in this field".
President's Voronin plea comes after almost two years of unsuccessful talks with the Ukrainian authorities to ensure an efficient control at the Eastern border of Moldova. According to some statements made by President Kuchma though, Ukraine is not interested to introduce tight controls over its border with Transnistria because most of the external trade of the latter is being done through the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Il'ychev, which fact brings Ukraine enormous financial revenues.
3. Political detainee Alexandru Lesco released after serving full sentence
On 2 June the political detainee of the Transnistrian regime Alexandu Lesco was released from the Tiraspol jail after the expiration of his detention term to which he was sentenced in 1992 together with other members of the "Ilascu Group". After the release, Lesco made a brief statement for the press in which he said that he did not recognise his sentence and that he hoped that he and his other mates from the "Ilascu Group" will be rehabilitated by the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Notably, although the release of Lesco had been announced by the Transnistrian authorities beforehand, no Moldovan official came to meet him and the car in which he was driven from Tiraspol to Chisinau was not escorted by the police.
After the release of Alexandru Lesco and earlier of Ilie Ilascu, in the Tiraspol jail are still detained Tudor Petrov-Popa and Andrei Ivantoc. These, together with lesco and Ilascu started a case at the ECHR against the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation which they have accused of flagrant violations of human rights.
III. Foreign affairs
1. The Republic of Moldova-EU Action Plan
On 4 June, two months and a half later than initially planned, the third, final round of talks on the Republic of Moldova-EU Action Plan was concluded in Chisinau. According to the Media Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consultations were held in four working groups: "Political dialogue and regional cooperation", "Economic development", "Infrastructure, education and the environment" and "Justice and home affairs".
According to the same source, "on 15 June 2004, during which period the political aspects of the Plan will continue to be considered in Brussels, the European experts will forward to Chisinau the written agreements reached", so that the document is officially approved at a later stage.
Until now little information has been disclosed regarding the contents of the document. This is due to the relatively poor coverage in the media of the character and contents of talks carried out, which fact speaks for limited transparency on behalf of the Moldovan authorities in this subject and/or the for the fact that the subject of the Moldova-EU Action Plan is not one of particular interest to the local press.
2. Moldovan-Slovene Relations
On 9-10 June, a delegation of Moldovan dignitaries, headed by President Vladimir Voronin, paid an official visit to Slovenia. During the visit, the Moldovan President had meetings with his Slovene counterpart, Janez Drnovsek, the Slovene Prime Minister, Anton Rop, the Speakers of both chambers of the Slovene Parliament, Borut Pahor and Janez Susnik, and the mayor of Ljubljana, Danica Simsic.
Most Slovene officials ensured the Moldovan delegation that Slovenia will support Moldova's efforts at European integration, as well as those channelled towards the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict, all the more so that in 2005 Slovenia will hold for half a year the chairmanship of the OSCE.
The reunion in plenum of the Moldovan and Slovenian delegations was followed by the signature by the two Foreign Ministers of the Agreement on Developing Cooperation between the Moldovan and Slovene Governments.
IV. Studies, analyses, comments
Employment is the Key Issue
Galina Selari, 16 June 2004
The economic growth, its quality, rate, parents and sustainability is one of the vexed question today. And it is widely discussed by politicians, economists and journalists. The issues of export-import, migrants' remittances and others are put on the discussion
Mass-media in Moldova
Igor Botan, 16 June 2004
There is a clear distinction in the Republic of Moldova, at least in the legal framework, between public versus state-run media. Things are quite different in audio-visual and printed media