Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year V, issue 103, September 16–30, 2007
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
The autumn-winter session of Moldova’s Parliament will begin on October 4. The Permanent Bureau of the Parliament made a decision in this respect on Friday, September 28.
Decision on growth of hospital health assistance. The Ministry of Health is due to work out a general plan of hospitals within one year and the following documents by the end of this year: the natural food norms for patients; the normative framework on ensuring hospitalised patients with drugs and proposals on rise of salaries of medical staff.
Decision on building a supermarket network in the Republic of Moldova. The Commercial Society IMC Market has won an investment contest for the development of the supermarket network in Moldova and local public administrations in several districts (Anenii Noi, Cahul, Comrat, Drochia, Hincesti, Rezina, Ungheni, Soroca, Orhei, and Balti and Chisinau municipalities). The Government asks local public authorities to begin negotiations with the winning society in order to attribute them the necessary building fields and financial conditions.
Decisions approving some draft laws:
- The draft State Budget Law for 2008. The approved document stipulates revenues worth 14,458,000,000 lei and expenses are estimated at about 14,681,000,000 lei. The expenses will be particularly go to the social sector, payment of increased salaries, indemnities and implementation of social programmes in 2008, too. Capital investments in maintaining the infrastructure, repairing and building roads will grow by more than 50 percent. The 2008 budget was calculated on basis of a 9.7-percent inflation rate and an exchange rate of 12.2 lei per U.S. dollar;
- The draft law on mandatory health insurance funds for 2008. The mandatory health insurance premium for 2008 calculated in a fixed amount for all categories of payers is expected to be worth 1,893.6 lei, by over 600 lei more than this year;
- The draft soil law.
Decisions approving some programmes, concepts, strategies:
- The Government’s action plan for the 4th quarter of 2007;
- The national programme against viral hepatitis B, C and D for 2007–11.
Tatiana Lapicus was appointed ambassador, Moldova’s resident representative to the Geneva-based U.N. Office.
Ion Ciornii was appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Moldova to Lithuania. Previously, he has worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Private pension funds
Moldova’s president has told a manifestation dedicated to the day of social assistant that the Moldovan pension insurance system must be substantially reformed in order to be adjusted to international standards, and building private pension funds is a possibility. Mr. Voronin launched this idea because pensions grow by 20 percent a year while the inflation annually increases by 10 percent, and thus retirees do not enjoy normal living conditions. It is worth to note that the Law # 329-XIV on non-state pension funds was adopted on March 25, 1999 and so the legal mechanism was introduced long ago. However, initiatives on creation of these funds were not promoted because of many bureaucratic problems and related inherent risks, as well as because of low confidence of population towards these institutions.
Development of transportation infrastructure
A meeting on development prospects of Moldovan transportation infrastructure has heard reports by the Ministry of Transportation and Road Management. The Chisinau-Balti, Chisinau-Hincesti-Cimislia-Comrat, Causeni-Stefan Voda routes, a segment of the road near Cricova town will be renovated in 2008, and the Orhei-Rezina highway will be rebuilt starting next year. Vladimir Voronin stressed the need of a responsible attitude towards the planned projects, noting that the high quality of building materials and works, the use of modern technologies, the respect for ecological norms must be the main criteria that builders should meet while repairing motorways. At the same time, the president underlined the necessity of reasonably and transparently using the public funds and resources of foreign partners and the importance of finding new finances, including by attracting investments more actively, in order to implement road renovation projects.
Concern for cultural and sport facilities
A sitting convoked by chief of state has summarised actions aimed at repairing or rebuilding a number of cultural and sport facilities, signalled problems related to execution of works and considered possibilities to remedy the existing difficulties. The Moldovan president stressed the importance of restoring very well and in the due term the Museum House A. Mateevici in the village of Zaim. Speaking about the stage of renovation works at the Kligman and Herta House, Vladimir Voronin ordered the reopening of the National Museum of Arts of Moldova by August 27, 2008 after renovation. He noted that a general entrepreneur was not selected so far to project the Eugen Ionesco Theatre and therefore, the rector of the Moldovan Technical University was allowed to involve students from the Urbanism and Architecture Faculty of this educational institution in designing works. In order to speed up the reconstruction of the Eugen Ionesco Theatre and Republican Theatre Luceafarul, the chief of state instructed competent governmental functionaries to find and allocate the funds needed for designing works. Also, the sitting studied problems related to construction of the Republican Stadium, the Central Stadium, the Sport Palace (with the financial aid of UEFA) and of the Chess Palace (with the assistance of FIDE).
Collegial council of MAFI
Vladimir Voronin has attended a sitting of the collegial council of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI), which focussed on situation of agro-food sector, farm land consolidation processes and elaboration of the draft National Sustainable Agro-Industrial Development Strategy. After being told the basic goals and structure of the draft strategy concerned, Vladimir Voronin stressed that this document must focus on two key issues: ensuring the food security of the country and training Moldova for accession to the European Union (E.U.). Also, it was stressed the necessity of establishing the priority development branches of Moldovan agriculture, given the possibilities of growing crops, economic productivity and their competitiveness on domestic and foreign markets, particularly in the E.U. Voronin stated that the economic side of the strategy must be elaborated so that the national budget to be relieved of the burden of subsidising the agriculture, but only strategic branches. The president also regretted that the agro-industrial sector is still very conservative and specialists from this area, who are mostly old, have out-of-date visions regarding the development prospect of this sector. Tackling the farm land consolidation issue, Voronin said that this idea must attract farmers, so that to intensify this process, adding that he supports an inter-district cooperation of agricultural producers, including for development of processing and trade infrastructure.
Implementation of regional development law
The chief of state has chaired a sitting on implementation of the regional development law and stressed the necessity of speeding up this process. The institutional framework of development areas was not created so far and the Ministry of Local Public Administration did not intensify its activity to create these structures. Mr. Voronin reiterated the importance of speeding up the implementation of this law, which is an important document for a balanced and sustained nationwide social-economic development.
Opinions uttered on TV channel NIT
President Voronin has reiterated, at the Talks with the President programme aired by TV channel NIT, his point of view that the acting Chisinau administration should tender resignation. He said that the Chisinau administration "lacks experience and qualified staff" and noted that "the implementation of many projects launched by former administration was stopped" after the new leadership was elected.
Sitting of EUBAM Advisory Board
Odessa hosted the 7th Meeting of the Advisory Board of the European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) to Moldova and Ukraine on September 26. According to a report on activities presented by EUBAM head, General Ferenc Banfi, the Mission continued in June-August 2007 to observe the implementation of the Joint Declaration of Moldovan and Ukrainian prime ministers, as well as of Moldovan regulations on foreign trade activities by Transnistria-based economic agents. Also, assistance aimed at strengthening capacities of customs and border guard bodies of the two states, improving trans-border cooperation and collaboration between agencies by providing them with technical support has continued. At the same time, EUBAM officers continued to record cases of human trafficking, illegal migration, trafficking in drugs and foodstuffs, particularly along the Transnistrian section of the border. They also detected many forged Moldovan certificates of origin, with an estimated loss of revenue worth 2 million Euros to the Ukrainian state budget. According to General Banfi, the illicit and smuggling activities at the border cannot be completely annihilated, but it is important to maintain the progress achieved and ensure border security.
Moldovan Deputy Interior Minister Sergiu Golovaci has appreciated the results of EUBAM, as the smuggling at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is not massive at present and shipments are smaller.
At the same time, the EU special representative to Moldova, Kalman Mizsei, said that the EU is satisfied with EUBAM activity, which it sees as a tangible contribution to ensuring the transparency at the border and to settling the Transnistrian problem.
It is worth to note that the EUBAM monitoring and advice have helped establish a mechanism whereby Transnistrian economic agents are able to access the EU preferential trade regime, thus stimulating legal foreign trade in compliance with Moldova’s international trade commitments. According to a communique by the Ministry of Reintegration, the State Registration Chamber of Moldova has registered 86 Transnistrian economic agents temporarily and another 21 agents permanently from January to August 2007. Thus, 355 Transnistria-based economic agents have been registered in Chisinau on a permanent or temporary basis to date.
Novel Transnistria settlement project
Former presidential advisor Sergiu Mocanu has recently presented a novel approach of the Transnistrian problem on behalf of the Initiative Group "Actiunea Populara" (People’s Action). Titled "In European Union with the Territory We Control", the initiative calls for the set-up of a border "with all necessary attributions" across the Nistru River. Assuming that "the European integration of Moldova, not the reintegration of the country is the No.1 priority," authors of this initiative assure that such a measure would "decouple the Transnistrian problem from Moldova’s European integration process" rather than "decouple Transnistria from the Republic of Moldova." According to the authors, such a radical change in the method of management of the Transnistrian crisis is the only way to help Moldova "catch the last Balkan train into the European Union."
Being a first public action of a new political entity, one may assume that the sensational nature of this initiative was deliberate. It is clear that the proposals lack any ground whatsoever, as well as practical feasibility, not in the least because a border across Nistru would not result in the territorial integrity of Moldova and the EU would never accept a state with territorial problems. However, the flawed nature of the said proposals left aside, they could play the useful role of launching public debates on medium and long-term national priorities, costs of an eventual territorial reintegration and the degree to which population from the right bank of the Nistru is ready to accept them.
Transnistrian authorities abrogate a number of political taxes
The Tiraspol legislature has decided to abrogate the so-called emigration tax paid by Moldovan and foreign citizens to regional migration services while crossing into Transnistria. The tax of about 8 lei (approximately 66 cents) was introduced five years ago with the apparent purpose of financing the Transnistrian migration services. Although many Transnistrian legislators have called for the maintenance of this tax as a compensation for the so-called economic damages produced by Chisinau to Transnistria, in the end the tax was annulled because it affected the image of the separatist region and made the crossing into the region excessively cumbersome.
During the period covered here, Tiraspol leader Igor Smirnov has annulled the 100% customs tax for certain Moldovan products, giving green light to an earlier request by Transnistrian legislators. Tiraspol lawmakers questioned the economic rationale of this tax, which they plan to annul completely at the beginning of next year. Smirnov decreed the 100% "special customs tax" on all Moldovan goods in April 2006 in retaliation to the so-called economic blockade introduced by Chisinau against the breakaway region.
Eighth meeting of the EU-Moldova Cooperation Sub-Committee on Justice and Home Affairs
The eighth meeting of the EU-Moldova Cooperation Sub-Committee on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) took place on September 19, 2007, in Brussels. Moldovan delegation to the meeting was led by Valeriu Ostalep, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, while the EU was represented by a group of officials led by Hilde Hardeman, head of unit within the European Commission DG-RELEX.
During the meeting the sides have paid attention to Moldova’s efforts towards reforming its judicial system; in the field of migration management, preventing and combating corruption, organised crime, trafficking in human beings. The EUBAM activity was another issue addressed. The sides have agreed that negotiations so that Moldova sign in 2008 a Cooperation Agreement with FRONTEX need to be initiated. Among others, it is to be observed that FRONTEX signed already such a document with Ukraine.
EU officials have underlined the need for Moldova to cooperate more actively with countries from the Black Sea region, and with SECI and GUAM members on JHA matters.
They have informed also Moldovan officials that the European Commission had made the formal inquiry to exclude the necessity of transit visas via Bulgaria and Romania for Moldovan citizens. Acquis favours such a move. For example, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic do not require transit visas for Moldovan citizens who have valid visas or residence permits in a number of European countries. Their example could be followed by Bulgaria, and especially by Romania.
National Commission for European Integration (NCEI) has met twice in this period, on 20 and 28 September. The Ministry of Justice, Superior Council of Magistrates, Supreme Court of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Prosecutor General Office, Coordination Council on Audiovisual, Ministry of Economy and Trade, and the Ministry of Transport and Road Management have reported at the sittings on the implementation process of the EU-Moldova Action Plan for January-August 2007 period. Representatives of these institutions informed that most of actions planned for this period have been finished. The only significant drawbacks have been found in the Coordination Council on Audiovisual activity.
The NCEI president, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, has worn again over the quality of reports prepared by public institutions, and has requested that public officer code of conduct and strategy of enhancing the enforcement system, etc. be approved by the next meeting of the EU-Moldova Cooperation Committee, as of 15 October 2007.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
During the reported period, the Romanian President Traian Basescu has brought again to the public attention the Romanian citizenship issue. He has requested at the Supreme Security Council of Romania sitting "the maximum simplification" of the awarding Romanian citizenship procedure to solicitors from the Republic of Moldova, having into account "moral [and] political obligations" towards them, and the fact that on the EU labour market there is a deficit of 20 millions people. The fact that this request follows the approval of an ordinance by the Romanian Government on September 5, might suggest that President Basescu sees Government’s amendments insufficient.
Being interviewed by BBC Chisinau Office on Basescu request, the Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said that his counterpart statement is for "internal use", and therefore it is pointless to comment on. Meantime, Marianne Mikko, Co-President of the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee has said that Basescu statement was not his "the most clever rhetoric". Similar opinions share some other Moldovan politicians and observers who consider that in the present circumstances such statements put fire on some spirits from the left bank of the Prut river.
On the other side, for those who for a number of years are waiting to get the Romanian citizenship, Basescu’s request is fully justified. In most of the cases, for them it is less important if such statements have or not a burning potential. What counts for them is to obtain quickly a Romanian passport, so that to leave then in a search for new hopes.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
MFAEI call to CoE member states
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) has made a call to the CoE member states urging them to ratify as soon as possible the European Convention on fight against trafficking in human beings.
The call shows the necessity of common actions of the CoE member states, that could be opposed to trafficking in human beings, as "a state cannot fight alone against a phenomenon which has starting and end points beyond clear-cut limits".
According to the MFAEI press service, for now the mentioned Convention has been signed by 36 countries, and ratified only by 9 – Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia.
In the reported period, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Moldova in two cases.
In Mizernaia vs. Moldova case, ECHR has indicated the violation of the rights to a fair trial and protection of property. Moldova was told to pay to the applicant 3987 euro as pecuniary damages, 2000 euro as non-pecuniary damages and 700 euro as costs and expenses.
In the second case, Bita and others vs. Moldova, ECHR has noted the violation of the rights to a fair trial, protection of property, and to an effective appeal. It obliged Moldovan Government to pay to Mr. Bita 67 euro as pecuniary damages, to Mr. Andrienco 2000 euro as pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, and to Mrs. Stanili 930 euro as pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Weekly meetings of the National Commission for European Integration – an early assessment
Margareta Mamaliga, 30 September 2007
At the 13 September meeting of the National Commission for European Integration (NCEI) Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev reiterated the irreversible nature of Moldova’s European integration objective and demanded the full implementation of the provisions of the European Union – Moldova Action Plan (AP) by 17 November 2007
Political consensus vs. competitiveness of public policies
Iurie Gotisan, 30 September 2007
I have recently attended an International Conference organised by the Independent Analytical Centre Expert-Grup in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, which focussed on the National Development Plan (NDP)