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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year V, issue 104, October 1–15, 2007
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
1.1. Appointments. Immunities
The Parliament has taken notice of the resignation demand of parliamentarian Ion Ciontoloi, who was elected on behalf of the Our Moldova Alliance (OMA). Ciontoloi has tendered resignation in connection with his election as chairman of the Causeni district. Earlier, the parliamentary majority has approved the withdrawal of the parliamentary immunity at the request of the Prosecutor-General’s Office and gave green light to the trying of Ciontoloi under penal charges, as he is accused of abusive administration of cooperative property. The fate of the penal case was not told to the public opinion.
Elena Pui was appointed member of the Management Board of the National Commission of Financial Market for a 2-year term.
Judge Nina Cernat was appointed deputy chairwoman of the economic college of the Supreme Court of Justice for a 4-year term, at the initiative of the Superior Council of Magistracy.
Deputy Vladimir Filat was excluded from the Moldovan Democratic Party faction after he has withdrawn from this party. Filat has become an "unaffiliated lawmaker".
1.2. Legal acts
Laws on ratification of some international acts:
- The protocol on modification of the agreement between Moldovan and Russian Governments concerning principles of payment of indirect taxes in reciprocal trade. The document aims to apply the VAT on natural gas and petroleum deliveries on destination principle;
- Loan framework agreement between Moldovan Government and the Council of Europe Development Bank. The loan is worth 4.9 million Euros, it is released for a 20-year term, including a 5-year grace term to facilitate the social housing building;
- The loan agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the road rebuilding project in Moldova). The loan is worth 30 million Euros and it will go to concrete segments of national roads;
- The financing agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the European Investment Bank (the European roads in Moldova project). This agreement also stipulates a 30-million-euro crediting;
- The convention between Moldovan Government and the Luxembourg Government on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion of income and capital taxes and the protocol to this agreement.
Draft law on state registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. The draft law passed in the first reading was worked out to implement the concept on automatic information system called state register of legal entities" and to execute the legislative programme for 2005–09, aiming to replace the Law # l265-XIV from October 5, 2000 concerning state registration of enterprises and organisations. It brings a shorter registration and erasing procedure (shorter registration term, fewer documents, special stipulation of the list of documents needed for registration, ban of the demand of additional documents, online application for state registration, etc.)
Draft law on modification of some legal acts. The document voted in the first reading is linked to the closing of the administrative military department of the Ministry of Defence and takeover of competences regarding administrative military activity (conduct of administrative military activity in the territory, establishing and payment of pensions and indemnities to retirees of the Armed Forces and their families) by the General Staff of the National Army. The draft is also conditioned by optimisation of administrative military leadership and activity in compliance with Chapter VI of the 2nd Stage (2005–08) of the military reform concept approved under the Parliament Decision # 1315-XV from July 26, 2002.
Draft law on modification and completion of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova. The amendments aim to introduce harsher punishments for offences against children (illegal adoption, infantile pornography).
1.3. Parliamentary control. Statements
The chairman of the Parliament has promised to start controlling the execution of laws at plenary sittings of the legislature in late October. Commission chairmen must raise proposals until then regarding ways to conduct the control and the laws which will be verified accordingly to individual priorities.
The Parliament has heard and debated on a report regarding the situation of agriculture and Government’s measures against the 2007 drought. Parliamentary opposition representatives described the actions of authorities as insufficient and inefficient, while seeking the aid of the international community is a premature step which deteriorates Moldova’s image.
OMA Deputy Anatolie Onceanu has asked the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption and the electronic media watchdog CCA to report if the airing frequency of the second national TV network (earlier owned by the Romanian Television Society) was legally awarded. In a second interpellation Onceanu asked the Government to report what provisions of the regulation on use of the reserve fund it has followed to distribute finances for the Culture Caravan in 2005–07, and demanded the Chamber of Auditors to control if the public funds used for this project have been legally and efficiently spent.
Christian Democratic Deputy Ion Varta has demanded information regarding the taking of credits from international financiers, when the situation on domestic market is favourable and there is a significant budgetary surplus. He demanded explanations, motivations, arguments regarding these credits; he wants to know the reimbursement conditions, interest rate, distribution mechanism, transparency, auctions, and the beneficiaries of these credits. Also, Varta asked the prosecutor-general and the prime minister to control if the persons in charge with publishing the official gazette Monitorul Oficial act legally, as they did not want for one month to publish the CCA decision on confirmation of Mr. Vlad Turcanu as CCA chairman.
Deputy Vladimir Filat has asked the Government to report the situation of students who visited the United States within the Work and Travel Programme and the situation regarding the resumption of wine exports to the Russian Federation.
Communist parliamentarian Victor Stepaniuc has asked the Government to take a position of principle towards Moldova-Romania relations.
Deputy Vitalia Pavlcenco has read a declaration by the National Liberal Party "concerning irresponsible statements delivered by President Vladimir Voronin after the local elections," expressing a deep concern with the anti-democratic actions of the chief of state.
2.1. Appointments. Reshuffles
The Government has appointed:
- Oleg Rotaru as chief of the Political Coordination Directorate of the Government’s Apparatus. Rotaru is also deputy chairman of the Government’s Apparatus;
- Andrei Sumleanschi and Andrei Pogurschi as deputy interior ministers;
- Mihail Harabadjiu as chief of the Civil Protection and Emergency Service of the Interior Ministry;
Decision on activity of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce in 2006 and in the first half of 2007. The document certifies the fulfilment of some tasks: the implementation and monitoring of strategic documents; the improvement of business environment; the entrepreneurship regulation reform; the cooperation with international financial organisations; job openings, etc. The shortcomings include among others:
- The vulnerability towards foreign factors;
- The insufficient diversification of exports;
- The poor development of small and medium businesses;
- The insufficiently attractive investment environment;
- The low quality of draft legislative and normative acts tabled to the Government.
Decision accepting the cession of rights and obligations. The Government allows the Redeco L.T.D. Company to cede all the rights and commitments resulting from the July 6, 1995 cession agreement on research and exploitation of the crude oil and gas deposits of Moldova to the Valiexchimp S.R.L. Company. The rights and commitments of Valiexchimp S.R.L. do not include the prospecting and exploitation of crude oil and gas resources in Moldova. At the same time, a governmental commission in charge with monitoring the takeover of the rights and commitments resulting from the concession agreement is being created.
Decisions approving some draft laws:
- Concerning currency regulation. The document establishes the regulatory principles in the area, the rights and obligations of residents and non-residents, as well as the tasks of competent control bodies.
- Concerning social assistance. The main goal of the law is to provide social assistance to families with very low real earnings. The size of assistance will be established on basis of patrimony of the beneficiary, number of family members, health, difference between guaranteed minimum monthly earning of the family and its overall income. This method will be tested for a couple of years and the assistance will be distributed meantime accordingly to the existing mechanism.
- Concerning the transplant of human organs, textures and cells. It aims to regulate the transplant of organs in compliance with international standards and prices. Very little surgeon’s operations will be made on account of health insurance because such medical services are very expensive.
- Concerning modification of some legal acts. The law aims to introduce a harsher responsibility for non-execution of judgments and groundless delaying of examination of lawsuits. Another innovation stipulates the possibility to verbally appeal during lawsuits directly.
Decisions on allocation of funds:
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration is allocated 129,000 lei from the reserve fund for the 15th anniversary of Moldova’s membership to the United Nations;
- The editorial staff of the social-cultural magazine Moldova is allocated 314,000 lei from the reserve fund "to pay off crediting debts";
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry is allocated 12 million lei from a special account to purchase seeds for autumn crops. The ministry will organise the public acquisition of seeds and their distribution for free to agricultural producers selected "on basis of well-chosen and transparent criteria";
- The Information and Security Service is allocated 1.26 million lei to organise and hold a sitting of the CIS council of security and intelligence heads.
2.3. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
300,000 new jobs and a 300-dollar salary
The executive has heard a report by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce regarding the implementation of the Government decision # 1332 from 22.11.2006 on opening of 300,000 new jobs by 2009 and rise of the medium monthly salary on economy up to the equivalent of 300 U.S. dollars. According to the report, the medium salary in certain branches (air transportation, post, energy, tobacco industry) has already reached the planned level and workers from other sectors will have the planned earnings by the end of 2008. At the same time, budgetary workers could earn a medium salary of 300 dollars by mid-2009. Jobs open in a high pace, as 46,600 jobs opened in the first half of 2007, which is more than 66 percent of the plan for this year. In comparison with 2006, the indicator has grown 3.8-fold, with jobs opening in industry, trade, building, transportation and telecommunication sectors. At present, approximately 30,000 jobseekers are formally registered, while 35,000 jobs are available.
Combating illegal migration, trafficking and smuggling
The prime minister has chaired a working sitting on struggle against illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling of commodities and currency. He admitted that the measures taken in these fields are insufficient to reach the assumed objectives, in spite of certain positive results. In order to combat these phenomena, Vasile Tarlev instructed the competent authorities to urgently promote the draft legislative and normative acts needed to improve the existing normative framework, and to work out and implement some realistic mechanisms for their further execution. The Interior Ministry will take the measures needed to boost the activity of the national committee against human trafficking and the competent governmental institutions will intensify the cooperation with civil society and mass media, in order to promote information, education and training campaigns. Also, preventive and practical measures will be taken among functionaries whose work is connected to migration and struggle against human trafficking, so that to find and sanction the corrupt persons. The Interior Ministry, the Information and Security Service, the Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption, customs and border guard services will have to intensify their activity in order to discover and combat smuggling schemes and ways.
Attention toward CPA Reform
The premier has chaired a sitting of the governmental commission for Central Public Administration Reform, which heard a report on implementation of the reform by the Ministry of Health and studied priority reform-related actions for 2008. Commission members drew the conclusion that the Ministry of Health has taken most of actions stipulated by reform strategy. In order to fortify the activity, subordinated institutions could open to ensure the implementation of policies on technical-material base of medical-sanitary facilities and on sanitary management. Vasile Tarlev noted that the Ministry of Health is now the first central public administration institution which has started elaborating such a plan to optimise its structure. Commission members examined a draft action plan on implementation of the CPA Reform Strategy and supported most of the proposed measures, so that the document will be additionally discussed with all participating institutions and delivered for approval by the end of this year.
Development of transportation infrastructure
A working sitting has studied transportation infrastructure development projects in Moldova and the assessment envisaged the building and repairing of national roads the next years. It decided to focus on modernisation and repairing of the high traffic road sectors Chisinau-Balti, Chisinau-Hincesti-Cimislia-Comrat, Causeni-Stefan-Voda, Orhei-Rezina in 2008. The premier urged competent bodies to finalise the action plan on construction of the highway Giurgiulesti-Criva. At the same time, it was stressed the importance of ensuring the traffic infrastructure, including the renovation of wait pavilions at bus stations, information of roads, planting of nut trees on the brink of routes.
MFAEI collegial council
A sitting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration collegial council has studied the present situation and perspectives to settle the Transdnistrian conflict. Participants also examined the work of Moldovan diplomatic missions, topics of political dialogue within European institutions on bilateral and multilateral dimensions. The importance of promoting a dynamic commercial-economic cooperation in order to widely ensure the foreign markets for Moldovan goods was particularly stressed. Diplomatic missions are expected to pay a greater attention to implementation of the strategy on attracting investments and promoting exports. In order to implement the basic tasks of the diplomatic missions, diplomats indicated the need of enhancing their responsibilities and improving the communication mechanism between missions and MFAEI.
Enhanced concern with using international assistance
According to a communication of the governmental press service, the executive is taking conjugated actions to efficiently use the foreign assistance worth 1.2 billion dollars declared within the Advisory Group of Donors for Moldova on December 12, 2006. A permanent process of use of the declared assistance and attraction of new sources for social-economic development of Moldova has started after that date. Approximately 800 million dollars are contracted for ongoing projects on sectors of major importance: education, development of private sector, infrastructure development, healthcare, development of agriculture, etc. The fields of assistance have been established for majority of funds identified jointly with all partners. The proper start of the projects is conditioned with standard pre-launching procedures such as finalisation of reference terms and other draft documents, negotiation process, approval of donor’s financing for projects, etc. According to the communication, the National Commission for Foreign Assistance created under the Government Decision # 322 from March 28, 2006, which includes members of Government, local public administration and civil society, is in charge with all decisions on use of foreign assistance and monitoring of ongoing projects.
- Journalist Constantin Staris, director of the Interstate TV-Radio Company Mir Representation in Moldova, was awarded the Honour Order, and Natalia Anisimov, chief editors at the same institution, was awarded the Civic Merit;
- Vasili Chirtoca, manager of the DAAC-Hermes" SA Company, was awarded the Labour Glory Order;
- Mihail Krotov, secretary-general of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly Council, was awarded the Civic Merit medal;
- The chief of state has signed a decree on dismissal of Alexandru Ursachi, chief of the State Guard and Protection Service (SGPS). The decree uses the traditional formula "at the demand" to motivate the dismissal. Also, the president appointed former deputy interior minister Igor Bodorin as SGPS chief.
- Two presidential decrees give green light to the awarding and regaining of Moldovan citizenship by 12 persons and another two decrees allow 253 persons to renunciate the Moldovan citizenship.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Interest for activity of Apele Moldovei Agency
Moldova’s president has convoked governmental decision makers at a working sitting to discuss the water and sewerage providing services for localities, enlargement of irrigated fields. He was told that the reorganisation of Apele Moldova (Moldova’s Waters) Agency is over; agency director Veaceslav Iordan noted that the newly-created structure is ready to launch projects on renovation and extension of existing systems or construction of new water pipes, in line with the strategy on nationwide water and sewerage providing of localities. Vladimir Voronin stressed the need to accurately respect the quality standards while modernising and exploiting the water providing and sewerage networks. Speaking about irrigation of farm land, Voronin indicated the opportunity of districts to work out own programmes on enlargement of irrigated fields and the necessity to find additional finances for irrigation projects within diverse investment programmes.
New ideas and proposals on settlement of the Transdnistrian conflict
Moldova’s president has launched many proposals on settlement of the Transdnistrian problem in mass media in the past two weeks. In particular, they call for:
- The maximal reduction of peacekeeping forces in the region and of border guard stations at the so-called border between the Republic of Moldova and Transdnistria.
- The restoration of the international route Leuseni-Chisinau-Dubasari with a way out to Ukraine and its transformation into a modern European corridor;
- The opening of the bridge over the Dniester River in Gura-Bacului;
- The creation of a joint TV station uncontrolled by Chisinau and Tiraspol authorities but monitored by civil society;
- The accreditation of the Transdnistria-based university at the Moldovan Ministry of Education;
- The dissolution of Moldovan and Transdnistrian armies and their substitution with military training centres.
Certain national and international observers welcomed the presidential initiatives, but the Tiraspol administration received them with scepticism.
The Moldovan president has had meetings with representatives of other countries and international organisations, including:
- European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, European commissioner for justice, freedom and security. Frattini handed in to the Moldovan president the European Union-Moldova facilitated visa application and readmission agreements, which were recently signed in Brussels;
- Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the Summit of CIS leaders in Dushanbe, Tajikistan;
- Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Miguel Angel Moratinos, OSCE chairman-in-office;
- Israeli Deputy Premier Avigdor Lieberman, minister for strategic affairs.
1 Earlier, this company had delivered cars to the Government Chancellery and was the plaintiff of a lawsuit vs. a Chisinau-based indpendent publication, with observers describing this case as a political-financial settling accounts.
2 For more details, see the ADEPT commentary "Transdnistrian settlement initiatives by President Voronin".
1. Prices and inflation
Rises by rises…
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the monthly inflation rate was 1.6 percent in September 2007. The cumulated inflation rate for three quarters was 9 percent. Prices of food products grew by 1.6 percent in September, of manufactured goods by 1.5 percent and tariffs of public services increased by 1.6 percent.
Inflation target for 2007 will be failed…
The 10-percent inflation target established by Government and National Bank of Moldova (NBM) will be failed for sure, though the central bank has increased the basic interest rate and the mandatory reserve rates for commercial banks. One anticipates possible price rises of volatile prices (vegetables, fruits or fuels) for the next months and this will probably increase the annual inflation rate in continuation.
…but it could decline due to appreciation of leu…
However, one believes that the inflation rate could decline a little this year due to the strong appreciation of the exchange rate. It was observed that the exchange rate has appreciated by 0.10–0.15 lei immediately after the inflation rate was published. Last changes in the monetary policy of NBM, which may be described as pretty aggressive, could strengthen the appreciation of exchange rate, and this fact would reduce the inflation rate a little.
Bank assets exceed 60 percent of GDP…
All assets of the banking have grown by about 30 percent in eight months of 2007. They were worth nearly 29.5 billion lei (2.56 million dollars) in early September and rose about 1.5-fold compared with the same period of last year. The growth of bank assets was particularly due to the rise of people’s deposits in commercial banks, as well as to the strong advance of foreign investments in capital of domestic banks, up to over 65 percent of the total.
Moldovan banks are being hunt more…
The share of foreign investments in banks’ capital has particularly grown after the share of the French group Societe Generale in the shareholder capital of Mobiasbanca rose up to over 95 percent and after Gruppo Veneto Banca, the only shareholder of EximBank, decided last August to raise by 15 million Euros the capital of the Chisinau-based bank and the Austrian investment fund VSP Capital Partners purchased all shares of the commercial bank Unibank from the Russian commercial bank Petrocomerts in exchange for 14.76 million Euros in September.
…while crediting is on permanent rise
Deposits of commercial banks have increased by more than 25 percent, up to about 21.6 billion lei (1.87 billion dollars). The credit portfolio of commercial banks registered a comparable rise. Credits rose by nearly 29.5 percent in January-August, up to about 17 billion lei (1.47 billion dollars). At the same time, deposits and credits have grown by about 40 percent and 50 percent, compared with the same period of 2007.
3. Foreign trade
Trade deficit reaches about 1.4 billion dollars…
Moldova’s deficit of trade balance reached nearly 1.4 billion dollars (about 38 percent of the 2007 GDP) after eight months of 2007 or rose by over 42 percent compared with the same period of last year. The alarming rise of the trade deficit was linked to the considerable difference between evolution of exports and imports. Moldova had a negative trade balance of 602.6 million dollars (+49.1 percent) with the European Union, 477.5 million dollars (+33.3 percent) with CIS, and 314 million dollars (+45.9 percent) with other countries.
Moldova had the highest deficit of 316.3 million dollars with Ukraine, followed by Russian Federation – 155.3 million dollars, Germany 141.5 million dollars, Romania 132 million dollars), China 109.8 million dollars. It exported goods worth 810.5 million dollars in January-August 2007 and imported goods worth over 2.2 billion dollars, which is by about 37 percent more than in the similar period of 2006. The import-export coverage rate was 36.8 percent, compared with 39.7 percent in January-August 2006.
Chronic deficit and growth of imports…
One thinks that the better economic growth performances in the period concerned (8 percent in Q1), as well as the rise of investments in restructuring and modernisation have probably increased the import demand. On the other hand, an analysis of the structure of trade deficit on main economic destinations reveals the factors which press the trade balance. One may say that the trade deficit is chronic and it will grow in continuation, so that it will be harder to finance it. Indeed, the economic growth structure in Moldova was particularly due to imports in the past years.
In two ample interviews granted in the period concerned, President Vladimir Voronin has raised a series of proposals to Tiraspol aimed at settlement of the Transdnistria problem. According to analysts, the initiatives are part of the "package of Moldovan proposals" which Chisinau has negotiated with Moscow last year. The main proposals raised by president in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda call for:
- Disarmament and demilitarisation: withdrawal of border guard, pseudo-customs and police stations and maximal reduction of joint peacekeeping stations in the security zone;
- Implementation of infrastructure projects jointly with the Transdnistrian region, for example, restoration of the international transportation corridor Leuseni-Chisinau-Dubasari, and opening of the Gura Bicului Bridge over the Dniester River, which would open the Chisinau-Tiraspol-Odessa route. In addition, the president proposed the restoration of the railway as a whole, with a proportional division of revenues raised from its exploitation;
- Cooperation in humanitarian sector – organisation of a common television administrated by civil society; accreditation of the Tiraspol University by the Chisinau Ministry of Education; distribution in the Transdnistrian region of one part of the assistance received by Moldova to remedy the consequences of the drought.
In the second interview the president has proposed the demilitarisation of the Republic of Moldova and Transdnistrian region. He reiterated the unconditional maintenance of the neutrality principle and raised the following proposals: destruction of military hardware, firesystems and all rocket complexes by Chisinau and Tiraspol; creation of Joint Armed Forces to function on basis of territorial completion of military units; replacement of military units with military training centres.
The Ministry of Reintegration transmitted a letter to the Transdnistrian representative at political negotiations, Valeri Litskai, on October 8, 2007, inviting him to start implementing the initiatives raised by President Voronin in the interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda. The ministry proposed the creation of a joint working group to elaborate the schedule and topics of sittings of joint expert groups, which would propose measures to implement the initiatives. Also, Chisinau seeks the ensuring of a free move, including by withdrawing the checkpoints from the security zone, withdrawal of travel restrictions on officials, implementation of joint projects to rebuild and modernise the infrastructure, remedy the consequences of the drought, measures aimed at demilitarisation and disarmament, etc.
The head of the Tiraspol foreign department, Valeri Litskai, has turned down Chisinau’s initiatives, describing them as "uninteresting, impossible and inopportune at present." Transdnistrian leader Igor Smirnov has released a communication, turning down all initiatives of Chisinau and signalling a "discrepancy between statements and actions of Moldovan president," whom he accused of hidden intentions to "annex Transdnistria". On the other hand, Transdnistrian "speaker" Evgeni Shevchyuk was more open-minded towards initiatives of Chisinau, appreciating the positive offer of Chisinau. According to Shevchyuk, "the non-aggressive rhetoric of the speech is welcome and it reveals a change of approaches," while the negotiations will be successful only if "Transdnistria receives positive initiatives and statements." Shevchyuk recommended the Chisinau and Tiraspol legislatures to ratify the agreements signed by Moldova and the Transdnistrian region and proposed the further monitoring of their enforcement. This would "improve the political atmosphere" and would create the framework "for the signing of new documents." In addition, Shevchyuk asked the Moldovan Parliament to annul the law on basic principles of status of Moldova’s eastern districts, which he noted, was a unilateral and inacceptable step for Tiraspol.
Vienna hosted a new round of consultations of mediators and observers of the Transdnistria settlement on October 11. According to a final statement adopted at the end of the consultation round, mediators and observers welcomed the Moldovan presidential initiatives on resolution of a series of social-economic problems between Chisinau and Tiraspol, as well as the decision of Chisinau to extend the registration deadline for Transdnistria-based enterprises until December 31, 2008. Also, they welcomed the decision of Transdnistrian authorities to annul the 100-percent tax on Moldovan goods and the "migration tax". Representatives of OSCE, Russia and Ukraine, as well as observers on behalf of the European Union and United States proposed the organisation of a "Five-Plus-Two" negotiation round before the OSCE Ministerial Meeting set for late November, inviting the sides to restart the negotiations unconditionally and immediately. The consultation round was preceded by a visit of OSCE Chairman-in-Office Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish foreign minister, to Chisinau. He reiterated his support for a lasting political solution to the Transdnistrian conflict, with respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Moldova. Moratinos called for identification of a common standpoint of OSCE member states regarding the Transdnistrian problem at the Madrid OSCE Ministerial Meeting.
1 See the interview with President Vladimir Voronin published by Komsomolskaya Pravda on October 4 and the interview published by Izvestya v Moldove on October 10.
2 See the statements on this issue delivered by Evgeni Shevchyuk at an October 11 news conference (in Russian).
10th Meeting of the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
Chisinau hosted the 10th Meeting of the European Union – Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) on October 1–2, 2007. PCC co-chairpersons Marianne Mikko on behalf of the European Parliament (EP) and Victor Stepaniuc on behalf of the Moldovan Parliament directed the PCC works. The meeting approved a final statement and recommendations for the EU-Moldova Cooperation Council.
EU-Moldova PCC welcomed Moldova’s efforts to implement the EU-Moldova Action Plan (EUMAP); reiterated the need for Moldovan authorities to redouble their efforts in order to implement democratic reforms in a series of areas such as respect for human rights, freedom of the media, respect for supremacy of the law; stressed that Moldova’s perspectives to join the EU are open; invited the European Commission to ensure the simultaneous enforcement of EU-Moldova agreements on facilitated visa regime and readmission of illegal migrants by January 1, 2008; called for resumption of the "Five-Plus-Two" Transdnistria settlement negotiations; rejected any parallels between Transdnistria and Kosovo, etc.
Marianne Mikko has stated to journalists at the end of the visit that Moldova still has much work to do in order to implement the EUMAP and this fact keeps the country far away from EU.
Signing of EU-Moldova agreements on facilitated visa regime and readmission
EU and Moldova signed facilitated visa application and readmission agreements in Brussels on October 10. Taking part in the signing ceremony were European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, and Manuel Lobo Antunes, state secretary for European affairs of Portugal, the country which runs the Council Chairmanship, on behalf of the EU and Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Stratan, minister of foreign affairs and European integration, on behalf of Moldova. These agreements were initialled on April 25, 2007, when the Common Application Centre (CAC) opened in Chisinau.
According to a joint press release by EU institutions, the facilitated visa application agreement maintains the 35-euro price for a Schengen visa for Moldovan citizens instead of 60 Euros and it even excludes the visa costs for certain categories of applicants. Also, the documents needed to apply for a visa will be simplified for certain applicants, for example, businessmen, students, journalists, and others. Certain categories of applicants who often travel to the EU will be issued multi-visas for a long term. Holders of diplomatic passports will not need visas to enter the EU. It is worth to note that the facilitated visa application agreement will not cover the United Kingdom and Ireland, which are not part of the Schengen area.
The readmission agreement regulates the management of illegal migration. It obliges the sides to reciprocally readmit the illegal migrants. Even more, it obliges the EU and Moldova to readmit the citizens of a third side who transited the territory of one or another country when they intended to enter the EU or Moldova.
Now the EP is expected to issue an opinion on these agreements and it is hoped that the documents will be enforced by January 1, 2008. Meantime, European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini handed in the two EU-Moldova agreements to President Vladimir Voronin in Chisinau on October 14.
Beyond the formal dimension of handing in the agreements, which could be sent to Chisinau via diplomatic post, Frattini’s visit was a message of EU political support for Moldova. Moldova was hinted that the EU is also concerned with its problems and the latter is ready to continue supporting Moldova if it honours its commitments.
Continuing the tradition introduced on September 13, 2007, the National Commission for European Integration (NCEI) held two sittings on October 4 and 12.
NCEI chairman Vasile Tarlev demanded public institutions at the October 4 sitting to work hard in order to create an ample information space regarding the results of implementation of EUMAP.
The sittings heard reports by the Ministry of Reintegration, Interior Ministry (IM), Ministry of Information Development, Information and Security Service, Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption (CSECC), Border Guard Service (BGS). Tarlev instructed IM, BGS and CSECC to remedy the signalled shortcomings by October 16 and to execute all tasks related to implementation of EUMAP.
Italian Ambassador to Moldova Daniele Mancini has announced that his country will join the Common Application Centre (CAC) inside the Hungarian Embassy in Chisinau starting January 1, 2008.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The relations between Moldova and Romania have been reduced to incidents without plausible explanations in the period concerned. Some delegations of Romanian functionaries invited to attend festivities on the Holiday of Chisinau were denied to enter Moldova on October 12. Moldovan border guards invoked the lack of original invitations in order to justify their refusal.
Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu notified the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in Luxembourg on October 15 over the incident at the Leuseni border crossing point. The problem was raised to consider a common standpoint of the EU for the October 25-scheduled 8th EU-Moldova Cooperation Committee.
To recall that under existing regulations, EU citizens do not need visas and other documents to justify their staying in Moldova starting January 1, 2007.
Republic of Moldova – Russia
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a summit of CIS leaders. They discussed the bilateral economic relations, in particular, the resumption of Moldovan wine exports to the Russian Federation and issues related to the Transdnistrian problem.
Shortly after the Dushanbe CIS Summit, the Moldova-Vin Agency reported that Moldovan producers have "restarted" the wine exports to the Russian Federation. Nicolae Casim, director of the national spirits record centre, stated to BASA-press that companies Vismos and DK-Intertrade have purchased trademarks to export wines to Russia, while Migdal-P, Calarasi-Divin and Lion-Gri have applied for trademarks.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
The autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has taken place in the period concerned. Moldovan Speaker Marian Lupu led the Moldovan parliamentary delegation at the session of the Strasbourg forum.
The PACE session approved a report on Moldova’s respect for commitments towards Council of Europe (CoE). Since the last monitoring report in 2005, Moldova has advanced significantly on the path of democratic reforms, reads the report, and Moldova has signed 63 Conventions dealing with the country’s commitments to the CoE. However, further improvements should be made to the legislation on the judiciary, the general prosecutor’s office, political parties and local self-government, as well as electoral legislation and practices.
The Assembly invited the Moldovan authorities to take concrete measures in order to move closer to honouring all country’s commitments, so that the closing of the monitoring procedure may be envisaged in the foreseeable future.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has passed three judgments on Moldova in the period concerned, in particular, in cases Clionov vs. Moldova, Grivneac vs. Moldova and Curararu vs. Moldova. The Strasbourg-based Court indicated the violation of the rights to a fair trial and property protection in all these cases.
It obliged Moldova to pay 300 Euros in pecuniary damages and 2,700 Euros in non-pecuniary damages to the applicant in the first case. In the second case the Moldovan Government was told to pay 1,500 Euros in non-pecuniary damages to the applicant and Moldovan authorities have to pay 4,000 Euros in non-pecuniary damages and 70 Euros in costs and expenses in the third case.
Republic of Moldova – CIS
President Vladimir Voronin has attended a summit of heads of state of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. At the summit, Moldova has signed with certain reservations a decision on CIS development concept and basic action plan on implementation of this concept. The interstate common action programme against crimes for 2008–10, the cooperation programme of CIS members against illicit trafficking in drugs for 2008–10, the cooperation programme of CIS members against terrorism and other violent and extremist manifestations for 2008–10 were also signed with reservations.
Also, Moldova undersigned a declaration on preparations for the 65th anniversary of Victory in the World War II; a declaration of the Council of the International Association of Academies of Sciences and decisions on elaboration of cooperation proposals in the field of coordinated transportation policy of CIS member states.
Also, Moldova accepted the appointment of Sergey Lebedev as chairman of the Executive Committee, CIS executive secretary.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Transdnistrian settlement initiatives by President Voronin
Igor Botan, 15 October 2007
Two interviews with President Vladimir Voronin published by the Moscow-based newspapers Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Moldova) and Izvestya on October 4 and 10, 2007 mark a new approach of the problems linked to the settlement of the Transdnistrian conflict
Dual citizenship restrictions: concern with public interests or fear over own citizens
Sergiu Grosu, 15 October 2007
After long and contradictory debates, the parliamentary majority passed on October 4, 2007 in the first reading the draft law on modification and completion of some legislative acts, which aims to "restrict Moldovan citizens from holding the citizenships of other states when they run public posts"