Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year V, issue 106, November 1–16, 2007
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
Mrs. PAKNEHAD Ecaterina was appointed member of the Court of Auditors for a 5-year term.
1.2. Legal acts
Law on electronic communications. It establishes the main rules and conditions for electronic communications, the general policy and strategy framework, the general framework regulating the functioning of electronic communication networks and services, rights and commitments of the state, individuals and legal entities while building, administrating, using, and maintaining electronic communication networks. The law regulates the activity of all operators and providers of electronic communication services in the field of civil electronic communications. The law does not cover the special communication networks which ensure the needs of public authorities, defence, national security and protection of public order.
Law on mediation (re-examination). The enforcement and implementation of regulations on mediation of civil, family and criminal cases was postponed until July 1, 2008, at the insistence of Moldovan president, who fears that the Government will fail many actions needed for this purpose. The adoption and efficient enforcement of this law is a commitment assumed in the Moldova – European Union Action Plan (chapter 2.1, Article (2) – development of alternative ways to settle litigations, including mediation) and the law should be initially adopted by early 2006. As the law was not implemented so far, this commitment from the Action Plan was not accomplished and the legal and institutional implementation of the mediation mechanism was protracted.
Law on vegetal regnum. The law fits the EU acts in the area and establishes a specific legal framework on conservation, protection and use of the vegetal regnum objectives, as well as competences of public authorities of all levels and all competent scientific institutions maintained as culture to regenerate and preserve the genetic fund.
Law on modification of the law on integrated automatic information system of record of offences, criminal cases and offenders. It aims to prevent uncertainties related to establishing and implementing criteria for assessment of criminal investigation bodies. The law is a response to findings of controls held by Prosecutor’s Office bodies on implementation of this law by police departments in the Chisinau municipality, which revealed a series of breaches linked to record of offences, criminal cases and offenders, as well as groundless increase of labour indicators. The amendments aim to empower the prosecutor-general to approve instructions, kits, primary record acts, printed forms of generalised statistical reports on crime rate; to assess the work of criminal investigators on basis of a pluralism of criteria capable to ensure updated and true information, etc.
Laws on ratification of international acts:
- The Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in relation to State Succession;
- The Agreement between Moldovan Government and Cyprian Government concerning mutual promotion and protection of investments;
- The Visa Facilitation Agreement between Moldova and European Union;
- The Agreement between Moldova and European Union concerning of readmission of illegal migrants;
- The amendment to the convention on access to information, justice and participation of the public in making decisions on environment.
Draft law on mandatory health insurance funds for 2008. The document approved in the first reading increases the cost of the health insurance policy up to 1,893.6 lei. Those who will buy the insurance policy in the first three months will pay only half of this price. Also, the draft increases the mandatory health insurance premium calculated in percent per salary from 5 percent up to 6 percent, so that the employer and the salary-earner will pay by 3 percent each. Opposition lawmakers have criticised this draft law, warning over expensive insurance policies, high useless expenditures, and non-transparent use of certain funds.
1.3. Parliamentary control. Statements
The Ministry of Justice has reported the implementation of the law on victims of political repressions to the Parliament. According to deputy minister of justice, problems in this area rest with the functioning of special commissions created by local public authorities in territory, while the implementation of the governmental regulation (mechanism of repayment or compensation of the value of goods and mode of distribution of budget expenses) gave birth to many problems, so that changes and amendments aimed to remedy the existing barriers are being discussed. At the same time, there are conceptual problems generated by initial provisions of laws and they cannot be remedied: the presence of heir certificate, issuance of documents on owned goods, and others.
The Border Guard Service director-general has reported why a Romanian delegation coming to celebrate the Holiday of Chisinau was denied access. According to Colenov, the Romanian citizens were denied access to Moldova because they violated the crossing point rules, intending to cross the border through the checkpoint for diplomatic corps, while the driver of their vehicle did not have car insurance for Moldova. The responsible persons have been reprimanded for not presenting this report in the due term. Opposition lawmakers described the report as implausible, deviating from initial statements, and noted that the Border Guard Service chief should be dismissed.
Our Moldova Alliance Deputy Ion Plesca has asked the Prosecutor-General, the Ministry of Justice and the governmental agent to report all cases that Moldova has lost in front of the European Court of Human Rights, the list of all criminal investigation officers, prosecutors and judges who contributed to these cases.
Christian Democratic Deputy Ion Varta has demanded the executive to report the policies applied to reduce the exodus of highly qualified youths. Also, parliamentarian Varta asked the Government what stimulatory policies it applies to amplify the foreign investment inflow, demanded it to report the crediting via the Millennium Challenge Account, the promised EU credit worth over one billion dollars, the stage of implementation of these projects.
Deputy Zoia Jalba has asked the Government, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Centre for the Struggle against Economic Crimes and Corruption to provide information about Moldova’s patrimony in Ukraine, unconfirmed property which is abusively alienated by their managers and Ukrainian authorities.
Speaker Marian Lupu has told the roundtable on work of Moldovan NGOs and necessary legislative measures to improve it that the participation of civil society has become indispensable in the decision-making process. At the same time, the cooperation between Parliament and civil society is insufficient and it involves a limited number of NGOs, while the interest and participation of the competent nongovernmental sector is insufficiently active.
The Our Moldova Alliance faction has addressed the Parliament concerning:
- "The lack of a youth policy in the Republic of Moldova";
- The draft law on mandatory health insurance funds for 2008;
The faction representing the Democratic Party of Moldova has released a statement regarding the campaign launched by communist authorities to libel doctors and teachers.
Former Christian Democratic deputy Ion Neagu and the leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (CDPP), Iurie Rosca, have exchanged statements regarding the disappearance and reappearance of Deputy Vlad Cubreacov, accusing each other of misinformation.
Deputy Vladimir Filat has tackled the functioning of the judiciary in Moldova, including in the light of recent sentences by ECHR, and recommended authorities to consider the possibility of creating a special parliamentary commission in order to study the legislation and the state of things in this area.
2.1. Appointments. Reshuffles
- Iurie Bucinschi, former chief of the Health Directorate of the Chisinau City Hall, was appointed deputy minister of social protection, family and child.
- The former advisor of prime minister, Sergiu Tatarov, former coordinator of the expert group in charge with implementing the Central Public Administration Reform, was appointed deputy minister of local public administration;
- Sergiu Rata was appointed deputy minister of health;
- Ion Pochin was assigned deputy director of the National Agency for Regulation in Telecommunications and Informatics;
- Moldova State University rector Gheorghe Rusnac, was proposed as Moldovan ambassador to Italy;
- Valentin Dragan, former deputy minister of transportation, was assigned the representative of Moldova to the CIS Economic Commission;
- Stefan Calancea was relieved from the post of deputy minister of agriculture and food industry and Valentina Haheu was dismissed from the office of prime minister’s advisor for social affairs.
The prime minister reprimanded certain members of his cabinet on November 14 for protracting or bureaucratising the execution of some governmental decisions. He reprimanded the minister of defence, the minister of local public administration, the minister of finance, the interior minister, and the director of the Building Agency.
Decision approving the temporary regulation on free traffic of vehicles with irregular documents and number plates in Moldova. According to the decision, motor vehicles with number plates and documents registered in the eastern region of the country (Transnistria) will be prohibited to cross the state territory of Moldova starting January 1, 2008, and they will be forbidden in Moldova starting January 1, 2009. Owners of such vehicles will have to pay the necessary customs duties within half a year. The governmental amendments challenged contradictory reactions, with representatives of the Transnistrian regime describing them as new restrictions and threatening to take similar measures.
Decisions approving draft laws:
- Concerning modification of Article 32 of the Moldovan Constitution. It aims to exclude the sentence "contestation and libelling of the state and people" from Article 32 (3), so that opinions and speeches on this issue not to be sanctioned as long as they do not fuel major breaches and damages. According to European norms, only violent actions may be punished, otherwise the right to criticism and the freedom of expression, talks on political issues and of general interest are affected.
- Concerning protection of brands;
- Concerning domestic trade;
- Concerning protection of plants;
- Concerning documentation of some categories of vehicles.
Decisions approving concepts, strategies, plans:
- The 2008–17 health development strategy;
- The single mandatory health insurance programme;
- The concept of farmer subsidising system for 2008–2015.
Decisions on allocation of funds:
- Two million lei is allocated from the reserve fund of the Government to the Agro-Industrial Agency Moldova-Vin for the state participation in the registered capital of the mortgage investment company Moldvinipoteca SA;
- 69.5 million lei is allocated from "general revenues of the state budget" to serve the internal state debt.
2.3. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Government’s Action Programme in 9 months of 2007
Cabinet members have heard a report by the Ministry of Economy and Trade regarding the implementation of the action programme, drawing the key conclusion that "the social-political situation in the country has improved." The executive observed positive macroeconomic indicators: the rise of national public budget collections; the GDP growth (by 8 percent in the first half-year); the revival of constructions, the advance of services for population. The medium monthly salary on economy accounted for 2,130 lei, growing 1.93-fold compared with 2004, and the average retirement pension amounted to 558.5 lei, increasing 6.4-fold compared with 2001. The cabinet indicated the following tasks: development of real sector of economy; revision of the number and structure of control bodies, etc.
Governmental structure for translation of documents
The Government will create a structure to officially translate international documents from other languages into Moldovan and vice versa. This issue was examined at a working sitting with decision makers chaired by Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration noted that this structure must be created because the number of international documents, treaties has increased during implementation of measures aimed at Moldova’s accession to the European Union and they will be translated and certified. The premier ordered the creation of a working group to establish the structure and to find funds for the new institution. Experts seriously criticise the governmental decision, saying that a special structure is useless since all European legislation can be taken over from the Romanian Government (see article "8 mln. lei … aruncati in vint" (wasted 8 million lei) at www.expert-grup.org), which wants to give it for free, and Moldovan authorities should officially demand it.
Concern with renovation of Museum of Arts
Although the chief of state has been reported that the first stage of renovation of the Home of Kligman and Herta was successfully completed, it was stressed at a recent sitting convoked by prime minister that these works should be based on quality norms and the original architectural aspect should be maintained. It was decided to select an experienced entrepreneur in charge with restoration and an architect to coordinate the works, and a board of observers will be create to monitor the quality of works and the efficient use of funds, so that to ensure a transparent restoration process. It is worth to note that the mass media has criticised the work of authorities in this area, arguing with assessments by cultural, art and architectural experts.
New statements on cooperation with nongovernmental organisations
The National Commission for European Integration has assured again that competent institutions had accomplished most of the planned actions in the period concerned. The prime minister warned that "Moldova’s minimal commitments toward EU" must be entirely honoured in the due terms. Thanks to the recent issue (8th) of Euromonitor, and reactions toward this report, ministries and other central administrative authorities have been instructed to intensify the dialogue with civil society regarding the European issue, including by building "councils to coordinate nongovernmental associations".
Concerns with tourism and pharmaceutical sectors
The prime minister has convoked a working sitting with decision makers in charge with improving the legal-normative base of Moldovan tourism, and considered problems related to enforcement of the law on tourism. The prime minister called for the creation of national tourism areas on basis of experience of countries with a well-developed tourism infrastructure, and demanded the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to raise argued and efficient proposals in order to build a true tourism infrastructure in Moldova.
The minister of economy and commerce has told a sitting on development of pharmaceutical sector that an action plan in this area is being worked out. The prime minister demanded that at least one pharmacy be available in every locality of Moldova, so that people be able to buy qualitative drugs for a reasonable price. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce was told that the pharmaceutical system should work efficiently starting 2008, and the Drug Agency was instructed to work out a business plan to indicate concrete terms and officials in charge with developing the domestic drug industry.
The Moldovan president has operated structural and nominal changes in his apparatus:
- Igor Vremea will be advisor for legal affairs, head of the directorate for law and public relations of the Presidential Apparatus;
- Viorelia Moldovan-Batrinac was appointed advisor for culture, education and science;
- Valerii Diozu, chief of the analytical information directorate of the Presidential Apparatus, was appointed to the new post of advisor for information development;
- The function of "advisor for interior affairs" turned into "advisor for political affairs" and Marc Tcaciuk will run this office;
- The post of advisor with special missions was cancelled.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Interviews in mass media
Moldova’s president has tackled issues of interior and foreign policy in an interview with Radio Free Europe, saying among others that:
- "the draft status of the Transnistrian autonomy, the mechanism guaranteeing the execution of this status and reunification problems" have been established during consultations with the United States, Russian Federation, Ukraine and EU;
- Kosovo cannot be a model for the Transnistrian conflict;
- Moldova plays an increasing role of a bridge between the East and the West;
- The relations with the Russian Federation do not contradict and they fit Moldova’s European integration interests;
- Something similar with the EU work was modified in the CIS activity, but the situation is more complicated as regards GUAM, as development directions of this organisation are unclear so far;
- The experience of Romania, Bulgaria and new EU members is important and raises a special interest, since activities of these countries "are fresh in accession technology";
- "The Romanian initiative on dual citizenship" has challenged very serious problems to the Moldovan state;
- The new draft programme of the Party of Communists will be made public on November 17, it will be discussed on March 15, and it will be raised at the ordinary congress of the party in order to be approved;
- The Government is aware that not all citizens of Moldova live well but the migration problem has stabilised and the migrant inflow is not like several years ago;
- The labour force export is not an official statistical economic category, remittances are not taken into consideration to analyse and calculate the GDP.
In an interview with the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, Vladimir Voronin has accused Romanian authorities and criticised the policy of the neighbouring country. Romanian authorities refrained from comments.
Speech dedicated to the 1917 Socialist Revolution
Supporters and members of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova have attended a meeting dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution. Taking part in the meeting was also the state leadership, members of the PCRM Central Committee, lawmakers and ministers. The Moldovan president addressed the meeting, describing the event as important and the October Revolution as a key page of the history. Voronin regretted that the noble goal of the October Socialist Revolution is confounded with its consequences, but assured that the idea of the October Revolution will exist in continuation, being necessary "for us and for next generations."
Restoration of capacities and enlargement of the Republican Centre for Children and Youth
The Moldovan president has visited the Republican Centre for Children and Youth in Chisinau, collecting facts regarding the work of this institution. Most buildings of the centre are deteriorated and they lack conditions for a normal extra-school education of children and youths. The inefficient and inappropriate administration of buildings of the centre has degraded this institution and reduced the activities. Many places of this institution have been rented by economic agents in the past 15 years and the abusive exploitation of the patrimony for children and youths by entrepreneurs completely degraded the centre: only 500 out of 15,000 square metres correspond to functioning requirements for such institutions. Voronin ordered the finalisation of the organisational structure and concept of the National Centre for Children and Youths within limited terms, so that to restore the capacities of this institution and to extend and permanently develop it.
Visa facilitation and readmission agreements
On November 8, 2007, the Moldovan Parliament ratified and President Vladimir Voronin promulgated the European Union – Moldova visa facilitation and readmission agreements. On the other hand, the European Parliament (EP) approved on November 13 these documents. The EU Council is due to adopt the two agreements. According to effective procedures, the Council must approve the agreements with qualified majority voting (QMV); it means at least 255 out of the 345 votes of member states, which represent at least 62 percent of the EU population.
The National Commission for European Integration (NCEI) has held two sittings in the period concerned. As a rule, starting September 13 since the NCEI held sittings every week, central public authorities have reported the implementation of the EU-Moldova Action Plan (EUMAP) in their fields. The governmental institutions which reported the implementation of EUMAP include among others the Ministry of Education and Youth, the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, the Bureau for Interethnic Relations (BIR), the Ministry of Finance, the Customs Service, the National Agency for the Protection of Competition, and the State Administration of Civil Aviation (SACA) .
According to the website www.europa.md, Minister of Finance Mihai Pop told the November 9 NCEI sitting that the EUMAP stipulates 41 measures for the Ministry of Finance. He noted that the ministry has accomplished 22 out of the 41 measures, another 17 are being implemented, one was transferred to the charge of the Commission for Financial Market and another one was not executed yet. The last measure is linked to the draft law on budgetary system and budgetary process, which will be worked out concomitantly with the draft law on management of public finances.
Representatives of other authorities reported that most of the actions planned for implementation of EUMAP have been executed. BIR and SACA assured that they have executed all their actions stipulated by EUMAP.
After the 8th issue of Euromonitor report concerning the implementation of EUMAP in the 3rd quarter of 2007 was released on November 6, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev ordered central public bodies at the November 9 NCEI sitting to study this document and to remedy the signalled shortcomings. Tarlev underlined the need to create a coordinating council of independent experts, competent NGOs, in order to ensure the complete implementation of EUMAP.
The prime minister explained that the political shortcomings of EUMAP signalled by this report are linked to the lack of clear assessment criteria "which leaves room for wrong, populist, declarative interpretations." "All so-called reports, Tarlev continued, are delivered to the European Commission and Moldova is accused and punished. Developers of these reports must carry responsibility for statements of so-called reports, including nongovernmental organisations, because there are laws and rules of the game."
The statements by prime minister reveal the way he understands the cooperation between authorities and civil society in the European integration process, they strengthen the conviction that there is an important dose of formalism in this cooperation process, prove that benefits of the state-civil society partnership still are realised a little bit at the highest level, and not the last, begin from the false premise that "developers of reports" would be interested to see Moldova "punished" and to harden its European course.
Interview with President Voronin
President Voronin commented on the key priority of foreign policy – the European integration – in an interview with the Moldpres news agency on November 15, two days before the deadline established by Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev for the plenary implementation of EUMAP.
In contrast with reports by central public authorities which assure that the majority of EUMAP provisions have been implemented, President Voronin said that "further we have to work hard within this action plan. We still have many tasks to fulfil." The president’s opinion coincides to a certain extent with the opinion by nongovernmental organisations which monitor the EUMAP implementation, and indicates with two days before November 17 that the objective formulated by prime minister was failed.
Voronin drew the attention on the same problematical fields related to the EUMAP implementation, which the European Commission signalled in the December 2006 Progress Report on Moldova. The signalled areas are: the respect for human rights, the freedom of the media, the investment climate and the anti-corruption struggle.
In order to protect the human rights better, President Voronin said that it is planned the extension of the Constitutional Court competences, so that to become the last national court in this area. The dignitary acknowledged that there are problems related to the editorial policy of the TeleRadio-Moldova (TRM) Company, a fact which the TRM administration has insistently denied more than once.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The Moldova-Romania relations are very turbulent in continuation. The identity issue is the main reason of dispute. Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan has also confirmed this fact in an interview with Radio Free Europe.
After a certain desire to relieve the bilateral relations was observed in late October 2007, developments in the first half of November proved that this wish was apparent.
By stating to the Romanian newspaper Ziua that Romania is to blame for many problems related to bilateral relations, President Voronin drew one more demarcation line in the official dialogue between the sides. Voronin resumed in his interview older invectives against Romania, saying that the neighbouring country is the "last empire in Europe," and launched new accusations. Voronin’s statements consternated one part of Romanian and Moldovan public opinion.
This time the Romanian political class was more cautious to comment the accusations brought by Moldova’s president. Many Romanian officials refrained from commenting Voronin’s statements, others made moderate comments, giving Voronin’s accusations in the charge of ideology and mentality of the party he leads.
Republic of Moldova – Russia
The Russian State Duma decided on November 7 to introduce a moratorium on the CFE Adapted Treaty. Competent experts say the Duma decision affects Moldova’s interests and introduces more discretion which Russia will be able to use in order to justify its European and international conduct.
According to Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan, Moldova will use the OSCE summit set for the end of this year in order to raise concern over this decision by the Russian State Duma and to demand in continuation the withdrawal of the Russian military presence from its territory.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe (CoE)
Visit of Terry Davis to Chisinau
CoE Secretary-General Terry Davis visited Chisinau on November 9. He arrived in Chisinau to attend the opening of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
On this occasion, Mr. Davis has met Moldovan officials including President Vladimir Voronin, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan. The talks focussed on topics such as Moldova-CoE cooperation, reformation of democratic institutions, adjustment of national legislation to European standards, Transnistrian conflict, developments in the European integration and regional cooperation process.
According to Moldpres, President Voronin has assured Terry Davis that Moldova "is respecting exactly" the schedule of legislative actions, in order to honour its commitments towards CoE. According to independent observers, Moldova is behind with fulfilling this programme. In particular, it delays the adoption of new laws on status of the Chisinau municipality, consolidation of parliamentary immunity, Code of Education Laws. Also, competent authorities did not investigate the reasons of criminal cases filed against opposition leaders at national and local levels and did not condemn the principle of dismissing the Comrat mayor by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Moldova in another 7 cases in the period concerned, in particular, Musuc vs. Moldova; Stepuleac vs. Moldova; Banca VIAS vs. Moldova; Cebotari vs. Moldova; Dolneanu vs. Moldova; Becciu vs. Moldova, and Gusovschi vs. Moldova. It sentenced Moldova for violation of the rights to a fair trial, protection of property, trying of cases of plaintiffs in a reasonable term, appealing to the ECHR, and illegal detention of plaintiffs, improper detention conditions, and lack of guarantees during detention. Moldova will have to pay 350,433 Euros (approximately 5.78 million lei) in damages in the 7 cases.
The Strasbourg-based Court has sentenced Moldova in 98 cases until now. It sentenced Moldova in 53 cases (54 percent) in 2007 only.
1 PD # 284-XVI from 11.11.2005, Monitorul Oficial # 157–160/788 from 25.11.2005.
2 The ECHR has obliged Moldova to pay damages in the amount of 1.88 million Euros (approximately 31 million lei) to applicants until now.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
New elections in Rezina
Igor Botan, 16 November 2007
The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) won the new elections in the Rezina district council on November 11, 2007, garnering three mandates more than the opposition, though the opposition gained one mandate more than the ruling party at the June 3, 2007 ordinary elections
Inflation is thickening
Iurie Gotisan, 16 November 2007
Official data of the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) have confirmed our forecasts from the precedent issue of the e-journal Governing and Democracy in Moldova regarding the inflation for October 2007