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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, IV year, no. 69, 1-14 March 2006
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
1.1. Cooperation with civil society
The speaker has convoked the task forces of the Parliament at a sitting that examined the procedures of implementation of the concept on cooperation between Parliament and civil society, adopted in late 2005 (DP # 373-XVI of December 29, 2005). The speaker asked the heads of permanent commissions to pay more attention to cooperation with civil society, respecting the procedures established through the February 16, 2006 Decision of the Permanent Bureau, which determines the concrete mechanism of implementation of the concept: publishing of draft legislative acts on the website of the Parliament; reception of contributions of civil society organisations within 15 days; examination of proposals and their reporting.
Later, the Parliament has invited representatives of public associations at a meeting dedicated to the start of the process of cooperation with the Parliament. Marian Lupu said that all premises for the start of cooperation are prepared and the process of collaboration with civil society must focus on two areas:
- the implementation of the schedule of legislative actions in line with the Resolution and Recommendations of the commission for the respect for obligations and commitments of member states of the Council of Europe;
- the fulfilment of the legislative programme for 2005-2009.
It should be noted that draft legislative acts are being published on the official website of the Parliament starting late February, but the process is not orderly, it faces technical shortcomings: the arguments and other necessary additional acts are absent, operative information about submission of these documents to the Parliament. Also, the drafts are published selectively, while the Parliament Decision # 373-XVI stipulates that all draft legislative acts "registered in compliance with norms" will be published. Thus, the drafts that have challenged the most controversial and ardent debates within plenary sittings have not been proposed for public talks: draft laws on administrative and fiscal facilities for economic agents based on the left bank of the Dniester river; draft law on importation of granite items used for reconstruction of the Military Glory Memorial in the Chisinau municipality; the new draft law on vine and wine; draft law on online access to official acts; draft law on modification of the law on Governmental Agent; draft decision on findings of the control on execution of the law on making and circulation of ethyl alcohol and alcohol production, etc.
The Moldpres news agency said on March 2 that the permanent bureau of the Parliament has approved the regulation on accreditation of journalists at the works of the Parliament, as well as a list of accredited journalists. It noted that "the Permanent Bureau of the Parliament, at the initiative of the Press and Image Service," will accredit the journalists at plenary sittings, sittings of permanent commissions, news conferences and other political events within legislature. Also, a series of grounds for withdrawal of accreditation was instituted: inappropriate conduct; provocative actions, scandal and other actions that contravene to the "generally recognised norms". The draft regulation was not published, but the requirements for accreditation and issuing of identity papers, as well as the list of accredited journalists will be published soon on the website of the Parliament. It should be noted that lawmakers excluded in 2002 from the Parliament's Regulation the norm allowing the withdrawal of authorisation from a mass media representative who attended the plenary sitting, if he presents "clear misinformation about works of the Parliament" and did not comply to observations of the chairman of the plenary sitting, meeting recommendations of the Council of Europe this way. Starting 2002 to 2005, journalists were accredited in the Parliament without any regulations and special requirements for accreditation.
1.2. Legislative documents
- Law on additional support for entrepreneurial activity of the economic agents based in the Transnistrian region. According to the document, the territory of the localities Cocieri, Cosnita, Dorotcaia, Molovata Noua and Pirita will be a special area of additional support for entrepreneurial activity, with the purpose to speed up the social-economic development of these localities in the security zone under jurisdiction of the official authorities of Moldova. By departing from the Fiscal Code, the law establishes a series of additional rights and facilities (compensation of income tax, exemption from registration fee and tax for licence, reduction of duties for customs procedures, etc.) for resident economic agents based in the region (more than 200 subjects) or those that will invest there instead of assuming some correlative obligations.
- Law for the modification and completion of some legislative acts with the purpose to establish fiscal and administrative facilities for economic agents based in the Transnistrian region, which do not have relations with the state budget of Moldova. The document stipulates that the customs duties, VAT and excises for import-export operations of economic agents that do not hold fiscal relations with the country's budget will be applied in the order established by Government. According to Government's intentions, following will be the tax repayment scheme: the Transnistria-based enterprises registered with the relevant bodies of the Republic of Moldova will pay taxes in line with the Moldovan legislation, but these amounts will be raised in a special account of the Customs Service. These amounts must be repaid to economic agents after delivery of goods to destination, while businesses will pay them to the Transnistrian budget. Representatives of opposition factions supported the adoption of this law when the draft was examined in the first reading, but raised serious objections against provisions of proposed regulations. They feared that the Government's draft contravenes to Constitution, which says that the Parliament and local public administration establish the fees, taxes and other revenues of the national public budget, while the Government and fiscal bodies are only executors of these decisions.
- Law for the modification and completion of the law on mode of publication and enforcement of official acts. The amendments adopted at the proposal of the parliamentary faction representing the Democratic Party of Moldova establish that the laws, decisions of the Parliament, decrees of the Moldovan President, decisions and orders of the Government, decisions and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on cases in which Moldova is a defendant, acts of the Constitutional Court and Chamber of Auditors, normative acts of central public administration authorities, of the National Bank of Moldova and National Commission for Securities are published on the official web of the Government. The Government must provide free online access to all legislative and normative acts published before June 23, 1990, updated documents in the measure of amendments or completions. The approved document does not institute a term when these acts should be published, nor does it introduce terms when they should be published in the Internet. Therefore, the effects of the law will be observed after publication and the official acts they envisage will be accessible from that moment, accordingly to constitutional norms. However, the technical and financial aspects of implementation of the law have not been established and the Government will unlikely enforce it immediately.
- Law awarding supplementary rights to local public administration authorities regarding the legalisation of some juridical documents. It establishes the right of the secretary of the mayoralty to legalise the ownership right to value shares from patrimony of reorganised agricultural enterprises. The law aims to exempt owners from certain additional taxes that they must pay to notaries, and to facilitate the land consolidation process.
- Law for the modification of the law on Governmental Agent. The law adopted in the second reading establishes the procedure of payment of compensations established by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and establishes the general conditions for exercising of the right to regress against persons whose actions served as ground for the ECHR judgments or signing of an agreement on amiable settlement of the cause.
- Law on vine and wine. The new law regulates aspects of the classification of seeding material; it institutes a new classification of wines and establishes the particularities of attributing their origin names. Also, it establishes a series of rules on particularities of sale of wines both on domestic market and for export. Distinct chapters describe the implementation of the state policy in the area, evaluation of conformity of products, sanctions for violation of the law. It also includes provisions on setup of a special fund to sustain the creation of vineyards, which will include taxes for transactions with wine production.
- Law on importation of granite and granite items for reconstruction of the military memorial in the Chisinau municipality. The law exempts 1612 square metres (350 tons) of granite imported by the public association for the protection of rights of Slavs Vece from VAT. The enterprise Cariera de Piatra, general entrepreneur of reconstructions financed from the state budget, will pay for the imported goods and it will be also exempted from VAT for reception of the delivered goods. According to law developers, the granite is imported from the Russian Federation due to its low price compared with prices on the Moldovan market, while the VAT exemption saves the public money. The parliamentary opposition factions have raised some objections against this draft, saying that the granting of public money to a public non-profit organisation, headed by a Communist lawmaker who drafted this law, for administration is inadmissible. They invoked the fraudulent, non-transparent and lobbyist nature of the transaction carried out without the direct participation of the Government and relevant public administration institutions. The sums that will not be collected to the state budget, if the law is implemented, are estimated at about 700,000 lei (54,000 dollars).
- Decision on results of control on execution of the law on making and circulation of ethyl alcohol and alcohol production. The adopted document establishes that the relevant central bodies and economic agents do not fully execute the legal provisions in the area, while the main violations are: the lack of a daily record of raw material stocks for every provider, of processed raw material and quantities of made alcohol production; lack of a single electronic record system; sale of large quantities of counterfeit alcohol production on market. This decision obliges the Prosecutor-General's Office and the Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption to investigate the cases of harming of the state and consumers after non-execution of the law, to report on taken measures to the Parliament by October 2006.
1.3. Parliamentary control. Declarations
Questions and interpellations
- PPCD lawmaker Gheorghe Susarenco has asked the municipal local council and competent authorities of the Government to examine the dismissal of deputy mayors Vasile Ursu, Fiodor Negru and Petru Svet. He cited the legislation saying that the mayor-general can appoint an ad-interim mayor, but if he fails his tasks, the local council, must name another ad-interim mayor.
- PSL lawmaker Oleg Serebrian has asked the Foreign and European Integration Ministry to report on education of functionaries of the Moldovan diplomatic missions and relevant ministry. He asked information regarding the number of persons who have diplomatic education, speak a language of international circulation, while their knowledge of the language must be demonstrated through international recognised certificates.
- PCRM lawmaker Grigore Petrenco solicits the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry to report on situation in student hostels of the State Agrarian University, invoking bad living standards for students and insufficient measures taken by administration of the educational institutions in this regard.
- AMN lawmaker Ion Plesca has invoked many cases of illegal holding of some persons by employees of the Interior Ministry who are released later without any explanations. The parliamentarian has asked the Prosecutor-General and the Interior Ministry to report on the number of held persons, number of persons who were released meanwhile, number of cases filed against these persons and number of cases delivered to the court. We remark in this context that under Article 165 of the Code of Penal Procedure following persons can be held for 72 hours:
A person can be held on basis of: a report; order of the penal investigation body, ruling of the court. The released person cannot be held again on the same charges and the held person must be handed in a certificate indicating the person who held him, ground and hour of holding, ground and hour of release while being freed.
- persons suspected of committing a crime punished by law with a detention term longer than one year;
- the suspect who violates the preventive non-detention measures against him, if the crime is punished with detention;
- convicts whose punishment was conditionally suspended or who were released before term.
- AMN lawmaker Anatol Onceanu has asked the Government to report on measures of evacuation of the NIT Company from its headquarter in the 53 Hincesti street. Earlier, the Government has asked all private companies and public institutions based in that building to leave it by late 2005. According to the parliamentarian, the TV Company NIT was part of institutions that were summoned and threatened to be sued, but it still reside the building though the location contract expired in late 2005.
- Declaration of the Moldovan Parliament regarding the artificial worsening of tension in the Transnistrian section of the Moldovan-Ukrainian state border. According to the document, the Parliament expresses deep concern with the dangerous evolution of situation in the Transnistrian region of the country. It was established that the illegal Tiraspol administration has labelled the measures that Moldova and Ukraine have taken in compliance with the December 30, 2005 Joint Declaration of the prime ministers as an "economic blockade on Transnistria" without any reasons and there started the "self-isolation of the region, where a true hysteria against entrepreneurs and its entire population is generated." Lawmakers condemn the "subversive actions of the Tiraspol authorities against constructive efforts of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, the European Union and the United States aimed to legalise the economic activity of the eastern districts of the country and to destroy the criminal component of this activity." The Moldovan Parliament regrets that the Russian Federation does not appropriately judge the subversive actions of the Tiraspol authorities, that some political forces and politicians from Moscow fall under influence of the Tiraspol separatists who are obsessed of the fixed idea to pull out Transnistria from Moldova, to legalise the territorial division of the country, to turn the region into a true ghetto, and its population into a living shield in order to cover the criminal affairs of some persons." The parliament noted that "the entire responsibility for the recent dangerous developments in the region rests with the separatist leaders in Tiraspol and their protectors from other countries."
- On March 3, when the new customs regime was introduced at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, the group of lawmakers representing the Social Liberal Party (PSL) released a declaration on evolution of the social-political situation in the east of the Republic of Moldova, in which it described the efforts of the Moldovan authorities aimed to settle the Transnistrian conflict as failed. According to developers, the existence of the Transnistrian problem has made Moldova join the CIS, raise the Russian at the level of an official language, promote the idea of permanent neutrality. PSL proposes the establishing of a "de facto" border zone all the long of the limitrophe area, the setup of some control and customs stations all the long of the border. Also, it proposes to change the mode of settlement: "freezing of the conflict"; "use of some measures of economic influence aimed to discourage the separatist regime," "improvement of the economical-social condition on the right bank of the Dniester river."
- Declaration of historian lawmakers regarding the intentions to suppress the national history course and implementation of the integrated history course instead of this subject. It invokes persecutions of the authorities and especially of the Education Ministry, dismissal of teachers who oppose the testing of the integrated history course. In 2002, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommended the setup of a memorandum on studying of language and national history. In reply, representatives of the majority faction described the statement of their colleagues as "political" and assured that "the new integrated history concept is being tested with the support of the Council of Europe and some competent international institutions."
- The faction representing the Our Moldova Alliance has released a statement on situation in agriculture. It indicated some decisions that worsened the state of things: the introduction of the 20-percent VAT for agricultural production and hardware, material resources; two-fold rise of fuel prices in 2005; reduction of the initially foreseen subsidies for sustenance of high value-added branches (sugar beet, vegetable growing and livestock) and introduction of a hard and uncertain VAT repayment mechanism; implementation of hidden policy of support of the so-called agricultural production cooperatives only; blocking of traditional sale markets of agricultural production through Government decisions, which laid many obstacles on way of exportation of agricultural products, halving the prices, etc. AMN asked the Government to take some urgent actions including: to exempt farmers from land tax and contributions to the state social fund of agricultural fields for a five-year term; to extend the term of 5-percent VAT for pyrotechnic and horticulture production in kind and livestock production in kind until 2011; to exempt pesticides and fertilisers, agricultural hardware and spare parts imported for agriculture from VAT; to present the Agriculture Policy for 2006; to create an intervention fund for cereals; to purchase and distribute seeds, Diesel oil and lubricants needed for agricultural works for free or under shape of technical credits, under advantageous conditions; to compensate higher prices of oil products; to relieve the export (by abrogating the July 26, 2004 Government Decision # 834 on some measures regulating the acquisition and exportation of cereals and cereal products and guaranteeing the access of agricultural production to sale markets), etc.
The Government appointed on March 1, 2006 Ion Chicu as deputy finance minister. Ion Chicu has previously been adviser for first Deputy Premier Zinaida Greceanii.
Also on March 1, the Government appointed Maria Cara as rector of the Comrat-based State University.
The Government gave green light on March 7, 2006 to a proposal of the Foreign and European Integration Ministry to appoint Lidia Gutu as Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Romania.
Valentin Crudu was appointed on March 7 as deputy minister of education, youth and sport, while Valeriu Turcanu was named deputy minister of culture and tourism.
Decision on the rise of nominative compensations. The Government has decided to increase the nominative compensations paid to some layers of population to compensate the spending related to use of natural gas, starting February 1, 2006, in connection with the rise of natural gas tariffs. The number of beneficiaries is estimated at over 120,000 persons, while the annual cost of the rise is about 7.5 million lei (some 577,000 dollars). The annual cost of the law # 933/2000 on special social protection of some categories of population is estimated at 220 million lei (about 17 million dollars).
Decision on approval of the draft law that exempts goods and services used for construction of the Burlaceni power station from some taxes. The executive proposes the Parliament to exempt goods and services imported for capital investments in construction of the power station near the village of Burlaceni, the Cahul district, from customs duties and VAT. According to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure, the awarding of these facilities would speed up the building of the station and would reduce the cost of the objective, a fact that would be also reflected on tariffs of the electricity that plant will supply later. The station is built by Mold Itera Energy Company, which intends to invest about 250 million euros within three years. It should be noted that the Government has earlier proposed such exemptions for the construction in Burlaceni and a similar station in Balti, while the Parliament has adopted this law after long and controversial debates. However, the chief of state did not promulgate the law meanwhile, saying that the business is doubtful and non-transparent, while the parliament accepted his objections and turned down the draft. The problem of security and energy independence has become primary and the authorities resumed the implementation of some drafts that seem to fail, after the conflict related to the Dubasari power plant and rise of the natural gas price.
Decision on the allocation of financial means for a feasibility study on construction of a high tension power line. The Government has allocated 1.5 million lei (about 115,000 dollars) from the reserve fund for finalisation of a feasibility study on construction of the 330-mW high tension line Balti-Novodnestrovsk. Earlier, this construction was mentioned as priority for insurance of energy security of the country, which should ensure the importation of electricity energy from Ukraine and exportation of electricity from Balkans.
Decision on the development programme of the capital. The Government has approved the development priorities of the Chisinau municipality for 2006: the construction of a trolley line leading to the State Agrarian University (by the end of April); finalisation of repairing of the Nasterea Domnului Cathedral; re-dimension and reconstruction of the memorial complex Eternitate; reconstruction of the biological water cleaning station and building of the northern bus station. The reconstruction of the road leading to the Chisinau International Airport was included in the programme at the proposal of the prime minister.
Decision for the approval of the Regulation on order of introduction of digital signatures on electronic documents of public authorities. The regulation establishes the conditions of use of digital signatures in electronic documents of public authorities, order of certification of public keys, obligations and rights of person who applies the digital signature, security insurance requirement, etc. The implementation of this regulation is a condition for functioning of the Electronic Government, so that positive premises for implementation of electronic exchange of service documents are created, the time needed to execute and coordinate the documents is reduces, while the control on execution increases.
Decision on the creation of the national commission to work out initial and periodical reports on implementation of international conventions by the Republic of Moldova. The composition and functioning regulation of the commission is approved and it will fulfil among others the key tasks:
- the analysis and control on full respect for international conventions signed by Moldova;
- the coordination of activity for mode of drafting of initial and periodical reports on the implementation of international conventions signed by Moldova;
- the approval of initial and periodical reports on the implementation of international conventions signed by Moldova and their presentation to the Government;
- the creation of groups of experts to draft initial and periodical reports on the implementation of international conventions signed by Moldova and coordination of their activity;
- the publication of information about activity related to drafting of initial and periodical reports on implementation of international conventions signed by Moldova, as well as proper reports on mass media (press, radio, television, Internet, etc.).
Government Decision on allocation of financial means to the magazine Moldova. As much as 457,700 lei (35,000 dollars) was allocated from the reserve fund of the executive "to partly cover the maintenance spending." The magazine Moldova was founded through the September 17, 2003 Government Decision, while the executive is its only founder with a share of 10.000 lei (770 dollars). According to the statute of the magazine, its work is based on self-administration principles, while the financial sources are created from: financial and material shares of the founder; revenues from sale of the magazine, other polygraph production and goods, as well as from services, advertising, etc.; banking credits, other credits; charity donations; other sources that the legislation in force does not prohibit. It should be noted that the parliamentary opposition has earlier asked the Government to withdraw its quality of founder of two republican newspapers and it met this demand in 2005.
2.3. Sittings. Statements. Declarations
Implementation of the "Moldovan Village" Programme
A cabinet sitting has studied the actions taken in 2005 to implement the national programme Moldovan Village in 2005. According to available estimates, 1.7 billion lei (more than 130 million dollars) was used last year to implement this programme, of which only 370 million (28 million dollars) was contribution from the state budget. The rest of contributions came from local budgets, local and foreign investments, unreimbursable financial assistance. Most of means went to development of telephone network, gasification, creation of plantations, construction and modernisation of drinking water providing systems, etc. The largest sums were spent in the administrative territorial unit of Gagauzia, districts of Orhei, Ialoveni and Hincesti. Investments for 2006 are estimated at more than two billion lei, of which 600 million lei from the state budget.
Larger budget collections
According to data provided by the Finance Ministry, revenues in the amount of over 1.1 billion lei (84.5 million dollars) was raised to the state budget in the first two months of 2006, or by 22.2 percent more than in the first two months of 2005. The budgetary expense rose by over 10 percent and foreign payments worth about 7.5 million dollars were performed in January-February.
First report on EGPRSP
The Ministry of Economy and Trade has tabled the first report on assessment of implementation of the Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (EGPRSP) to the Government. The document was not made public but data published by mass media show that foreign direct investments in economy accounted for 260 million dollars in 2005, reaching the highest share in the past ten years. The priorities for the next period include the drafting of a strategy on attraction of investments and promotion of exports, strategy on sustenance of development of small- and medium-sized businesses for 2006-2008, cooperation wit international financial organisations, intensification of coordination with the World Trade Organisation, reduction of deficit of trade balance.
Priority of the employment strategy
The Ministry of Economy and Trade is due to complete the employment strategy for 2006-2020. The ministry will focus this year on the need of crediting for creation of jobs, elaboration of a system of analysis and real forecast of labour market. According to data of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, only 24,600 job seekers (41 percent of those registered) got employed last year.
Commentary on situation in the Transnistrian section of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border
The governmental press service has released a communication of prime minister regarding the situation in the Transnistrian region, saying that:
- About 300,000 persons have confirmed their Moldovan citizenship in the Transnistrian region and this process develops with a speed of approximately 1,000 identity cards a month, so that it should not be said that the latest joint actions of Moldova and Ukraine were planned with the purpose of a blockade and could have a negative effect on residents of the region and its economy.
- The European Union's Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, the Decision of the Moldovan Government regarding export-import operations for economic agents based in the Transnistrian region, which stipulates a privileged registration in Chisinau, adoption of the December 30, 2005 Joint Declaration of the Moldovan and Ukrainian prime ministers represent the first stage of the process of normalisation of situation at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.
- The accomplishment of the second stage - the joint declaration of the Moldovan and Ukrainian premiers was openly and transparently implemented during bilateral and multilateral consultations with information of all those interested, Transnistria-based economic agents.
- The temporary registration regime for Transnistrian enterprises is a simplified procedure of legalisation of foreign economic activity within short terms, without any customs duties.
- The mechanism of implementation of the December 30, 2005 Joint Declaration is, in principle, a comeback to the functioning of the temporary registration regime, which was successful in 2003-2004. The Transnistrian entrepreneurs have demanded this from the Moldovan side more than once.
- There is no room for references to the 1997 memorandum, as all experts know that the legal mechanisms for implementation of provisions of this memorandum are absent.
- The implementation of the joint declaration of prime ministers offers conditions for a legal and transparent activity of enterprises based in the Transnistrian region as an alternative of the shadow business and smuggling. The blockade and self-isolation are measures taken by the Transnistrian region to ban enterprises to get registered and to obtain customs documents from relevant departments of Moldova. The self-isolation policy affects the economic agents based on the left bank of the Dniester river and economy of the entire region and this policy is blameable.
The Moldovan President signed decrees on appointment of ambassadors on March 3, 2006:
- Natalia GHERMAN was named Ambassador of Moldova to Sweden;
- Victor POSTOLACHI was appointed Moldovan Ambassador to Austria, Resident Representative of Moldova to the OSCE and Representative to the Vienna-based U.N. Office.
- Veaceslav MADAN, Ambassador of Moldova to Bulgaria, was appointed as Sofia-based Ambassador of Moldova to Albania, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro.
Ten decrees of the chief of state on awarding of official orders were published on March 1-10, 2006.
Dumitru Ursu, former first deputy governor of the National Bank of Moldova, was awarded the Labour Glory order. It should be noted that Ursu, 46, has tendered resignation from this important post that he has run from 1992 from unknown reasons.
3.2. Sittings. Statements. Declarations
Renovation of some monuments and headquarters
The Moldovan president has chaired a working sitting on renovation and arrangement of the museum complex Alexei Mateevici in the village of Zaim, the Causeni district. The paternal home of the poet, church where his father had served and the building of the former primary school where Alexei Mateevici had studied will be renovated. According to mass media, the chief of state has insisted that the objects concerned be completely repaired and restored and these works include the consolidation of basements, walls, restoration of historical aspect of the building, arrangement of territory, repairing of road, construction of heating and water providing systems. Voronin proposed that different sources, including the central and local budgets, Social Investment Fund, financing, etc be used to cover the financial spending for works.
Vladimir Voronin convoked a working sitting on March 2 to discuss the problem of building of a new headquarter for the National College of Choreography. The chief of state said that the new headquarter of the National College of Choreography must be built in compliance with the latest requirements in the area, while its construction should become a priority in agendas of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Agency for Regional Development and Chisinau City Hall. He proposed as temporary solution that the Government find possibilities to finance rhythmically the construction of an addition to the present headquarter of the college.
Order and legality of medical expertise system
The Moldpres agency has reported that the Moldovan president convoked on March 9 a sitting on the mechanism of awarding of validity degrees, with the participation of officials of the Government, Parliament and Presidency, representatives of the Association of the Blind. The head of the Republican Council for Medical Vitality Expertise, Leonid Zaharia, has reported on functioning of the medical expertise system, signalling some grave shortcomings in the area. According to findings of some controls, there were cases of awarding of invalidity degree without necessary documents and 16,000 medical expertise files were absent in the archives. The director of the Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption has recently reported that a large number of cases of forged medical files for establishing of invalidity degree was discovered and the fake files represented about 20 percent of the medical expertise files in 2005. The sitting "decided that the Government will examine the opportunity to stop on April 1 the payment of invalidity pensions to the persons whose medical files are absent in archives and refuse a new expertise for reconfirmation of cases."
It should be noted in the context that the press reported in late 2005 the appearance of a serious conflict within the Medical Vitality Expertise Council, with many expert doctors being suspended from offices for some service investigations. In turn, they accused the council head of misuse of authority and corruption, invoking the fraudulent awarding of invalidity degrees to functionaries close to the Presidency, Government and Health Ministry.
Development plan of the capital
The presidential press service said that Vladimir Voronin has convoked a sitting on the implementation of the development plan of the Chisinau municipality in 2006. The proposals tabled in this regard by the city hall administration called for reconstruction of the Nasterea Domnului Cathedral, construction of an elderly asylum, repairing of a centre for minors, reconstruction and redimension of the Memorial Complex, finalisation of construction of the northern bus station, construction of the trolley line leading to the Agrarian University, continuation of arrangement of dwelling districts and implementation of projects on building of attics, etc. The chief of state demanded competent authorities to speed up the designing, identification of optimum solutions aimed to establish spending estimate and administration of means distributed for development of the municipality in 2006.
Statements on Moldova-1
The Moldovan president delivered a series of statements on interior and foreign policies of the country during a programme on the TV channel Moldova-1:
- Speaking about the Transnistrian problem, Vladimir Voronin said that the negotiations with representatives of the Transnistrian side have been inefficient and their withdrawal from talks will not be an obstacle, as the discussions will be held "with the democratic society from the region elected on democratic principles." Voronin has compared the participation of Transnistria in negotiations with the proceedings when the prosecutor and the judge negotiate the punishment with the accused person. The chief of state ruled out any possibility of a new armed conflict in Transnistria, saying that "all the problems are solved on a political way."
- New approached are expected in the relations with the Russian Federation, with the Moldovan president intending to visit Moscow in order to discuss issues related to the Transnistrian problem and development of relations of bilateral strategic partnership with President Vladimir Putin.
- Answering a question regarding the ground of accusations of exaggerated concentration of the power in state and refusal to tender resignation from the post of chairman of the Moldovan Party of Communists (PCRM) , Vladimir Voronin said that the post of PCRM leader helps him fulfil his tasks through leading bodies of the party and parliamentary majority faction, develop cooperation between the Presidency, Parliament and Government, contributing to an operative settlement of country's problems this way.
- Speaking about the April 4, 2005 vote of some opposition political parties for his candidacy, Vladimir Voronin said that these parties have demonstrated political maturity and they did not betray anybody. He considers that the coalition have allowed these parties to fulfil certain objectives, as for example, the "ten conditions" of PPCD, which have been already fulfilled.
- The chief of state said that he will not bid for a new mandate of chief of state and will respect the constitutional provisions this way.
- As regards the European integration objective, Voronin considers that it will not be reached by 2009, but promised to do his best in order to hand over a strong state with normal living standards for population to his successor. The chief of state noted that there is no contradiction between the European vector of Moldova and the membership of our country to the CIS, because this structure is the fastest sale market for Moldovan products, where they enjoy some facilities.
1. Real sector
Moldovan economy rose by 7.1 percent in 2005...
The Moldovan economy rose by 7.1 percent in 2005, while GDP amounted to 34.2 billion lei (2.7 billion dollars) in comparable prices. At the same time, the rise pace was slower than in 2004, when a 7.3 percent growth was registered.
In particular, the rise of GDP was due both to positive evolutions in commodity and service sectors and to considerable collection of taxes on products and imports. Also, more than 60 percent of GDP collections came from services and trade, while the share of industry and agriculture still remains low enough. As for example, the agriculture registered a one-percent rise compared with 2004 and it contributed with about 25 percent to GDP in 2005.
...but rise paces slowed down like in other states in CIS area
On the other hand, according to data of the CIS Committee for Statistics, Azerbaijan has reported the highest economic growth - 26.4 percent, followed by Armenia - 13.9 percent, Belarus and Kazakhstan - 9.2 percent of GDP. If a GDP growth standing is worked out, Moldova would rank the 4th place in CIS. Indeed, according to a recent report of the United Nations., the transition countries (including in the CIS) registered the highest economic growths in 2000-2005, 6 percent on average, while CIS recorded a 7-percent average. On the other hand, in Armenia and Azerbaijan only the economic growths in 2005 were higher than in 2004, an evolution reflected in the table below.
According to governmental forecasts, GDP will grow by 6.5 percent in 2006, but this could decline moderately down to 5 percent due to higher prices of fuels and lower investments in production process. The large remittances from abroad and the increasing price of imported fuel could generate a higher inflation in 2006.
On the other hand, the Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts a 4.1 percent average rise pace for Central Europe (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia), 4.4 percent for the Balkan states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia-Montenegro), 6.6 percent for the Baltic countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) and 5.9 percent for the CIS (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan).
2. Prices and inflation
Inflation grows slowly but surely...
The inflation rate in January 2006 was by 1.9 percent higher than in December 2005, while the consumer price indicator in February was 1.4 percent. The cumulated inflation rate for the first two months of this year was 3.3 percent. In our opinion, this level will be maintained in March as well or it will even grow moderately. The tariffs of services provided to population rose the most - by 3.3 percent (mainly generated by higher prices of natural gas), prices of food products grew by 3.1 percent, while prices of manufactured goods rose by 2.6 percent.
According to BH data (budgets of households), food products will hold 44.5 percent in the CPI (consumer price index) calculation in 2006, compared with 45.77 percent last year, manufactured goods - 30.19 percent, compared with 29.77 percent last year, while services for population will hold 25.36 percent, compared with 24.47 percent in 2005.
...with Moldova ranking the 3rd place in CIS regarding price rise
The Republic of Moldova is ranked the 3rd place in CIS regarding the CPI rise, after Armenia and Russia, which registered 3.6 percent and, respectively, 2.4 percent. Following Moldova is Tajikistan, which reported a 1.5-percent inflation, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, by 1.3 percent each. Ukraine and Georgia have reported the lowest price rises, by 1.2 percent each, while Kazakhstan posted the lowest inflation rate in CIS - 0.9 percent.
The Government and the National Bank have forecasted a 10-percent maximal inflation rate for this year, but we fear that it will be hard to maintain this level because the economy could be affected by higher prices of fuels. We note that the natural gas tariffs rose by about 37 percent in February, and these tariffs will be in effect till April 1, 2006 and they will generate, in turn, a rise of electricity tariffs.
3. Bank sector
Total assets of the Moldovan banking system rose in January 2006...
The total assets of the Moldovan banking system rose by 147 million lei (11.4 million dollars) in January, fuelling estimates that the rise trends registered in the past two years will be maintained in continuation. The assets were valued at about 18.2 billion lei (some 1.401 billion dollars or 1.175 billion euros) in early February. For comparison, the assets of the Romanian banking system are estimated at over 36 billion euros and these assets are 30-fold higher than of the Moldovan banking system.
...but the volume of forward deposits in Moldovan lei dropped...
At the same time, the volume of forward deposits in Moldovan lei has dropped, mainly due to the decline of deposits of businesses. On the other hand, the share of forward deposits of individuals rose by 11.7 % compared with December 2005, up to 69.8% of the overall volume of deposits in domestic currency attracted in January 2006.
...on background of a higher interest rate
The average interest rate of forward deposits in Moldovan lei rose by 0.28 percentage points in January, up to 10.83 percent (7.91 percent for businesses and 12.10 percent for individuals, compared with 7.98 percent and 12.41 percent in December 2005). At the same time, the average interest rate on deposits in foreign currency dropped by 0.18 percentage points, down to 5% (4% for businesses and 5.19% for individuals).
According to data of BNM, the supply of deposits in the banking system turned over 11.245 billion lei in early February, declining by 10.8 million lei (0.1%) compared with December 2005. The decline was due to reduction of deposits in domestic currency by 211.4 million lei (3.2%).
Population could look for other investments due to low interests on deposits...
Forecast for 2006: The value and number of credits will grow, but not the same will happen with deposits, as people could look to place their savings in other, more profitable investments because of low interest rates.
Central banks in the world modify their currency reserves...
According to a survey published the London-based publication Central Banking in the mid-February, a trend of national currency reserves to migrate from dollar to euro was outlined last year. The Central Banking survey covered 56 central banks in the world.
10 banks have reduced the ratio of reserves in euros.
23 banks have increased the ratio of international reserves in euros.
Most of those which reoriented to euro were European central banks from outside of the euro area.
15 banks have reduced their ratio of reserves in dollars.
12 banks have increased the ratio of international reserves in dollars.
Most of those which have consolidated on dollar were central banks in Asia, Latin America and other petrol producing countries.
The reserves of banks participating in the survey represent about 42 percent of the total of 4.4 trillion dollars administrated by central banks in the world in late June 2005. The National Bank of Moldova holds international reserves worth about 600 million dollars, while 30% of them are denominated in euros.
4. Public finances
State budget revenues could decline in the next period...
Basic revenues in the amount of about 1.1 billion lei (71.2 million euros) were raised to the state budget in January-February 2006 and they rose by 22.2% compared with the first two months of 2005. However, this strong rise could be tempered after the reduction of the corporate tax down to 15%, reduction of incomes of economic agents due to higher prices of fuels, governmental regulations and, not the last, the commercial obstacles like those introduces by Russia.
5. Foreign trade
Trade deficit grows with "perspectives"...
Moldova's trade deficit turned over 76.5 million dollars in January and rose almost 1.9-fold compared with January 2005, with "perspectives" of a strong rise in the next months. Statistics show that the foreign trade volume was 220 million dollars in the first month of this year, by over 17 percent more than in January 2005. Although CIS countries remain the main partners of Moldova in export-import relations, with an overall share of 46.7 percent, the Moldovan exports to the European Union rose from 29.7 percent in December 2005 up to 34.7 percent in January 2006, and this growth was mainly due to reorientation of food and vegetal production to the E.U.
The value and volume of Moldovan exports could grow after Romania and Ukraine resume the importation of Moldovan sugar (the Kiev Government is to examine a draft in this regard soon). The Government has forecasted a 13-percent growth of exports and an 11-percent rise of imports for 2006.
Moldovan - Ukrainian customs procedures
On 3 March Ukraine started the implementation of the unified Moldovan-Ukrainian customs procedures following an agreement reached with the Moldovan side in late February regarding the mechanism of implementation of the Joint Statement of the Moldovan and Ukrainian Prime Ministers of 30 December (see issue no. 68 of the e-journal). Thus, from 3 March the Ukrainian customs authorities allow through the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, including the Transnistrian segment, only goods accompanied by Moldovan official customs documents. The Moldovan authorities have introduced a number of facilities for the provisional registration of Transnistrian enterprises with the Moldovan State Registration Chamber, which also include issue of certificates that allow for preferential trade with Ukraine. Moreover, on 10 March the Moldovan Parliament passed a law whereby the Transnistrian economic agents undertaking import-export operations on the basis of Moldovan customs documents are to be reimbursed customs duties.
Saluted by the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, the Moldovan-Ukrainian measures have been received with a lot of irritation in both Moscow and Transnistria. On 4 March, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement which expressed concern regarding the "unannounced" imposition of measures aimed at "toughening" the transit regime of Transnistrian goods over the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. Under the pretext of restoring order at the border, Ukraine and Moldova exercise pressure on Transnistria to force it give up on issues related to the Transnistrian settlement, the communique said. On 6 March the Russian State Duma adopted the Statement "Regarding the breach by Ukraine of agreements regarding the Transnistrian settlement and the establishment of a total blockade against Transnistria". Invoking the wellbeing of the 170,000 co-nationals residing in Transnistria, the Russian deputies expressed concern regarding the tense situation created as a result of the introduction of the unified Moldovan-Ukrainian customs procedures. The new measures are qualified as "repressive economic measures" towards Transnistria, intended to make it accept the unilateral Moldovan settlement plan. The Russian deputies request the suspension of the Moldovan- Ukrainian procedures and their revision. Both the Russian MID communique and the one of the State Duma make reference to the Moscow Memorandum of 1997 which establishes the right of Transnistrian to independent foreign economic activity. The Moldovan authorities have repeatedly specified that that right could only be exercised by Transnistria within the legal and constitutional framework of the Republic of Moldova, which is one of the objective of the recently introduced customs procedures.
The Transnistrian authorities have qualified the Moldovan-Ukrainian measures as economic blockade and have accused Ukraine of taking Moldova's side in the conflict. The Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov even threatened that Transnistria will pull out of the negotiations in response to the Moldovan-Ukrainian measures. On 10 March the region's "minister of economy" stated that Transnistria suffered losses worth 20,2 million dollars as a result of the "economic blockade" instituted by Ukraine. These would be due in the first place to the halt of activity of 10 Transnistrian enterprises, the main payers to the region's budget, and the cuts in the working time of about 20 enterprises to 3-4 days per week. In the region are being organised protest meetings by the so-called patriotic public organisations, including the youth corporation "Proriv" (Breakthrough) created by the region's security structures. On 7 March the break away leader Igor Smirnov issued a decree which bans foreign funding of non-governmental organisations from the region invoking the need to "ensure state security and avoid destabilisation of the political situation in Transnistria". Transnistrian and Russian media reported increases in the consumption goods prices and have warned with regard to other possible devastating humanitarian consequences of Ukraine's actions on the region.
At the same time, the Ukrainian border guards' authorities stated that they did not create any problems for the transit of Transnistrian goods through the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. "The problems and vehicles queues at the border check points are created artificially and unilaterally by the Transnistrian side", Ukrainian border authorities said. These statements were confirmed by Ukraine's Special Representative at the settlement talks, Dmitri Tkaci, who said on 10 March in Odessa that "Transnistria is organising a self-blockade and self-isolation". "I have visited the check points on the Transnistrian segment of the border. I can confidently say that there is no blockade. On the contrary, Transnistria blocks itself the transports that head for the region.", stated Tkaci giving the example of 10 trucks with chicken fillets belonging to the Scheriff Firm which were allowed through the border by the Ukrainian customs but then stopped by the Transnistrian customs. "We can speak today of a self-blockade. Transnistria wants in this way to break all agreements, create hysteria around the so-called blockade. Thus, the Tiraspol administration puts pressure on Kiev", the Ukrainian official added. The Ukrainian President Victor Yushcenko stated on 11 March that Ukraine's position on the situation on the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is in full compliance with international norms and the settlement plan accepted both by Moldova and Transnistrian authorities. Yushcenko stated that in the near future he will discuss the situation with the Transnistrian side in Kiev. Also, Yushcenko stated that Ukraine will be settling all trade and economic issues with Moldova on the basis of the recognition of the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Moldova and on the basis of existing international norms. According to the Ukrainian President, the customs procedures at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border have been introduced in order to ensure transparency at the border, and the EU Border Assistance Mission sees that the new procedures meet international practice.
Negotiations in the "5+2" format
The negotiations round in the "5+2" format of 27-28 February was interrupted on 28 February after the Moldovan delegation left unexpectedly the negotiations. After several hours, the Moldovan delegation published a communique in which it expressed concern at the lack of progress on the issue of ensuring the free circulation of persons and goods in the security zone and encouraged the participants in the talks to concentrate on the resolution of this problem, given the nearing of spring agricultural works. On the same day the Transnistrian self-proclaimed leader Igor Smirnov issued a disposition regarding the use of agricultural plots in the Dubasari district, which provides that the cultivation of the said land and the transportation of harvest from it by farmers and economic agents from the villages under Moldovan jurisdiction will be done on the basis of certificates of "special preferential registration of the rights of using the agricultural plots". This registration will be done on the basis of lease contracts to be concluded with the Transnistrian authorities, whereas the harvest that will transported from these lands will be subject to customs duties according to "Transnistrian legislation".
The only document signed at the negotiations round has been a joint statement of the mediators and observers in which these expressed regret at the disruption of the talks, but reaffirmed readiness to continue contacts and consultations with a view to continuing the negotiations process in the "5+2" format. Media outlets in Chisinau reported that the next round of talks will take place on 4-5 April, but these dates were not been officially confirmed by any of the participants in the negotiations.
Republic of Moldova - Council of Europe
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has approved a new interim resolution on execution of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgment on the "Ilascu and others versus the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation" case. The document insists on execution of the ECHR judgment and release of Andrei Ivantoc and Tudor Petrov-Popa, who are illegally imprisoned by the Tiraspol authorities.
On March 7, the ECHR started public hearings on the case "Manole and other versus Moldova" which admissibility is being examined with the participation of representatives of petitioners and their lawyers and representatives of the Government. The case includes Larisa Manole, Corina Fusu, Mircea Surdu, Dinu Rusnac, Viorica Cucereanu-Bogatu, Angela Arama-Leahu, Ludmila Vasilache, Leonid Melnic and Diana Donica, former employees of the TeleRadio-Moldova Company. These applicants complain of the violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of expression). The ECHR has ordered the Moldovan authorities to answer some questions by March 21, 2006.
The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for Moldova, Josette Durrieu and Egidijus Vareikis, arrived in Chisinau on March 12 for a working visit. They will meet with the Moldovan authorities, representatives of parliamentary factions, public associations. It should be noted that the outcome of last visit of rapporteurs has served as ground for adoption of the October 2005 PACE Resolution and Recommendations on functioning of democratic institutions in Moldova, and the Parliament has adopted a special legislative programme on implementation of recommendations under their impact. The rapporteurs met first with representatives of parliamentary factions who appreciated the interest of the Council of Europe and favourable for promotion of reforms, saying that the continued monitoring of Moldova does not have negative effects. Representatives of the parliamentary opposition told the rapporteurs that they want more serious effects of reforms, their promotion in areas of immediate major impact. The PACE rapporteurs told a meeting with Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev that Moldova must do its best at the current stage in order to implement the institutional reforms, to obtain progress in the area of functioning of democratic institutions, having a decisive contribution to promotion of the international image of the country.
Republic of Moldova - European Union
The Republic of Moldova will negotiate with the European Union (E.U.) this year the awarding of a regime of Autonomous Preferences for a series of products exported by our country. These actions represent a priority for the Ministry of Economy and Trade in 2006. Moldova wants a more advantageous regime, but it must reform the system of certification of origin of exported goods and consolidate the customs management. Statistics show that Moldova exported goods worth about 325 million dollars in 2005, by 9.5 percent more than in 2004. However, it should be noted that the imports from the E.U. have grown by 29 percent compared with 2004, up to over 750 million dollars.
The European Commission has said in a statement that it is following closely developments on the border between Moldova and Ukraine, with the E.U. Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine being present on the ground and constantly monitoring the situation. The Commission appreciates the determination with which Moldova and Ukraine are putting in place the necessary measures to implement the Joint Declaration on customs matters that Prime Ministers Yekhanurov and Tarlev issued on 30 December 2005. The Commission notes that the purpose of these measures is to ensure transparency of border operations, allowing any legitimate goods to pass the border between Moldova and Ukraine freely. These measures do not in any way constitute a "blockade". The Commission condemns any efforts by the self-proclaimed Transnistrian authorities to hamper the legitimate movement of goods across the Moldovan - Ukrainian State border and to impede registration of economic operators with the Moldovan authorities.
Republic of Moldova - Romania
Representatives of Romania have told a meeting of environment ministers from member states of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organisation that they will support the Republic of Moldova in accomplishing its European environment protection objectives. Romania has offered the set of European environment directives translated into Romanian to the environment authorities of Moldova.
Republic of Moldova - Russian Federation
The State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted on March 10 a declaration on the implementation of the new customs regime at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, saying that the actions of the authorities of the two states "seriously harm the economy of Transnistria and they could develop into a humanitarian catastrophe," and describing them as "economic sanctions". Russian lawmakers consider that "the rights of Transnistria to hold an independent economic activity are violated" this way and call for the "restoration of the precedent customs regime at the Ukrainian-Transnistrian border," inviting all the interested sides "to support negotiations and consultations."
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry commented to mass media the conclusions of the visit of a Russian delegation to Moldova's breakaway enclave of Transnistria. Mikhail Kalminin said that the "stricter customs regime at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border was introduced immediately after the ministerial meeting of the E.U. Troika with Ukraine." He claimed that these measures "have been planned as a political measure of economic influence of the region from the very beginning."
Valery Keniaikin, special envoy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Russia "will do its best in order to relieve the situation in Transnistria," because the region faces the danger of a humanitarian catastrophe." He promised that the Russian Federation will help "its citizens who reside Transnistria, as well as other residents of the region by providing them the necessary humanitarian aid." Answering question about granting of financial assistance to the Transnistrian authorities, the Russian official said that the Russian government is considering such a possibility and it will pass a necessary decision. Keniaykin noted that a meeting is scheduled for April which "will examine political issues related to the negotiations on settlement of the Transnistrian problem." Some statements of the Russian official regarding recent declarations of the Moldovan president have challenged a replying reaction of the presidential administration, with adviser Mark Tkaciuk rejecting the interpretations due to what he described as "very poor information" of the Russian foreign department.
Asked about the imminent rise of the price of natural gas supplied to the Republic of Moldova, the chairman of the Russian giant Gazprom, Aleksy Miler, said that the Russian gas price for Moldova "must be at the level of the European price," though negotiations go on. He motivated this stance through "applying of principles of market economy" and "single treatment for all former Soviet states."
The Russian holding Vinny Mir, a leading importer of wines from Moldova, says that the share of the Moldovan wines on the Russian market is on the decline. The market share of Moldovan wines declined from 60 percent down to 52 percent of the overall imported wines in 2005 and it is expected to drop down to 40 percent in 2006. Although the exports from Moldova are on the rise, the share market is on the decline because of the considerable growth of wine consumption in the Russian Federation.
According to a communication released by the Moldpres agency, the Moldovan Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry has received a letter from the Russian Food Security Agency, which seeks the presentation of a plan on exportation of agricultural production to the Russian market. At the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry continues the negotiations with the federal service for phyto-sanitary and veterinary control of Russia, in order to relieve the exportation of Moldovan agricultural production, since the Moldovan authorities have complied with all requirements of the Russian side.
Moldova in the world
The U.S. Embassy has expressed concern regarding recent allegations in the Moldovan media that the Embassy's 17 February statement regarding the Pasat case "amounted to interference in Moldova's internal affairs or was intended to damage Moldova in some way.". According to a March 1 statement of the U.S. Embassy, "Moldova has no better friend than the United States, one of the first countries to recognize Moldova's independence and establish an embassy here and the largest bilateral assistance donor." The Embassy warned that the persons whom representatives of some Chisinau newspapers labelled members of some groups of interests "are all outstanding current or former American officials who have worked tirelessly to promote America's national interests." The U.S. reiterated that the MiG transaction of 1997 was in the interests of Moldova as well as of the United States and noted that it considers it appropriate to challenge assertions to the contrary, from whatever source, which might mislead readers to believe that the United States took advantage of Moldova in this transaction.
On March 8, the U.S. Department of State has released the annual report on human rights that includes a distinct chapter on Moldova, which says that the Moldovan Government respects the rights of its citizens, but there are problems in certain areas, especially related to the situation in the Transnistrian region. In order to correspond to international human rights standards, the Chisinau Government should take some actions, in a move to improve the situation of justice and conditions in prisons. Also, the report indicated the need of appropriate measures for insurance of freedom of mass media, rights of the political opposition, combat of trafficking in persons and discrimination against women and children.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
The hostages of Transnistrian regime
Igor Botan, 14 March 2006
The Russian authorities must persuade the separatist leaders to release the "Transnistrian hostages" or to do what they have done with the "regimes" that take hostages
Potential economic consequences of new customs regime
Iurie Gotisan, 14 March 2006
"Economic blockade" - a term that the Tiraspol administration uses with ostentation and bombast in its statements - is rather a self-blockade