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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year V, issue 109, December 17–30, 2007
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
1.1. Appointments. Dismissals
Dumitru Godoroja has become member of the Parliament. He participated in parliamentary elections on the lists of the electoral bloc Democratic Moldova on behalf of the Party of Social Democracy.
Deputy Gheorghe Musteata, who has succeeded to the Parliament on the list of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), has quitted the PCRM and joined the Patria-Moldova Party, which was recently created but was not yet registered with the Ministry of Justice. Mustata said that his announced exclusion from the parliamentary faction and party last spring was illegitimate and there were no formal decisions in this respect. According to an open letter to the Parliament head and PCRM chairman, Musteata says that he withdraws from the PCRM because he does not warm the new programme of the party and cannot bear any longer the insupportable atmosphere inside the party faced by those who do not like the present policy and ideological changes. Before succeeding to the Parliament Musteata was first secretary of the PCRM District Committee in Soldanesti, district where the ruling party has won more than 60 percent of the votes.
1.2. Legal acts
Law on political parties. The document has been modified compared with the initial version, with key innovations envisaging the reduction of the number of members (from 5,000 down to 4,000); authorisation of dissolution for non-participation in elections; funding from the state budget (0.2 percent) only after the 2009 parliamentary elections. For more details, see the commentary "Legislation on parties: Quo Vadis and how?".
Law approving the National Development Strategy (Plan) for 2008–2011. The document establishes the following priorities:
- The consolidation of the democratic state based on supremacy of the law and respect for human rights;
- The settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and reintegration of the country;
- The enhanced competitiveness of national economy;
- The development of human resources, rise of employment rate and promotion of social inclusion;
- The regional development.
The Government is due to work out and to approve an action plan and a system to monitor the execution of the strategy. Although it was earlier stated that the new strategy document will unify the main policy documents, the Parliament did not decide so far to concomitantly abrogate some effective strategies, plans, concepts and programmes.
Laws on ratification of international acts:
- The UNESCO International Convention Against Doping in Sport;
- The Memorandum of Understanding on Coordinated Development of the Black Sea Beltway;
- The European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN);
- The convention between the Republic of Moldova and Spain concerning avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal taxation on income and capital tax and the protocol to this convention;
- The agreement between Moldovan Government and Liechtenstein Government concerning humanitarian assistance and technical cooperation.
Law on modification of the law concerning disciplinary college and reprimanding of judges. The modified law fits the regulations on creation of the legal inspection and aims to delimit competences between bodies which consider petitions from citizens regarding judiciary ethic.
Law concerning the safeguard tax on sugar imports in Moldova. According to data from the Moldovan Union of Sugar Producers, the special safeguard tax introduced under the Law # 8-XV from 05.02.2004 favoured the sugar industry, particularly the domestic production, which rose by 78.3 percent in 2007 compared with 2003. The productivity increased 2.4-fold in 2007 compared with 2003. The special tax is needed to ensure a reasonable protection of the domestic market against cheap sugar imports, with the term of the technical tax being extended for the fourth year in a row.
Law on modification and completion of legal acts (appointment of SIS as single executor of technical interception of telephone calls and other communications via electronic networks). The Information and Security Service will ensure the necessities of operative and criminal investigative bodies, being expected to "enhance the potential of all legal bodies in combating grave offences with human, technical resources and small funds."
Decision approving the regulation on use of finances from the fund for subsidising farmers. In 2008, the fund for subsidising farmers will comprise 270 million lei and the currency will be distributed on two basic directions:
- 141 million lei will be spent to modernise the agriculture and to invest in growing saplings and planting fruit and nut trees, buy equipment for small and medium fruit and vegetable processing, drying and freezing enterprises in rural areas, as well as for packing facilities and fridges, to endow with technical and agricultural equipment and machines and revive the livestock sector;
- 129 million lei will be allocated to subsidise users of phyto-sanitary products (pesticides) and fertilisers (mineral fertilisers), promote insurance services in agriculture, supply the domestic market with qualitative agro-food products by subsidising farmers while delivering own agricultural production inside the country, etc.
Decision on modification of the annex to the Parliament Decision which approves the national strategy on prevention and combat of corruption. The document is adopted to update the plan on implementation of the strategy. Many amendments envisage the implementation of the GRECO recommendations identified within the 2nd evaluation cycle and reduction of possible corruption in building sector, border zone, judiciary, etc.
1.3. Parliamentary control. Statements
Deputy minister of justice has reported the situation of Moldova’s cases at the ECHR and punishment of guilty persons, saying that the Government is in charge with notifying the Prosecutor-General’s Office over these cases and the latter decides on proceedings after a legal analysis of every case. The legislation does not stipulate unconditional responsibility, but the persons who are to blame for the sentencing of Moldova by the European Court of Human Rights will pay the necessary damages, if the law stipulates so.
Director-general of the Building and Territorial Development Agency has explained the order which bans the receiving of the so-called "white-version" (unfinished) constructions. He cited the law on quality of constructions and the regulation on the final reception of buildings. The agency issued this order to stop violations in the building sector and to prevent cardinal re-designing and changes which affect the resistance of buildings. The commission receives the unfinished construction, and neither the State Building Inspection, nor local public authorities and other commissions have access to apartments or blocks, and giving the finished apartments will remedy this situation.
The lawmaker who demanded this information said that the legal arguments were insufficient and asked the Prosecutor-General to verify the order by the Building and Territorial Development Agency which bans the reception of unfinished constructions.
Speaker Marian Lupu has summed up the three months of work at the end of the autumn-winter session, stating in particular:
- The Parliament has adopted 27 decisions and approximately 100 draft laws;
- Cooperation with civil society was interesting and productive, a special inter-parliamentary group is being created to work on a development concept of associative sector and prepare a new framework law on functioning of nongovernmental organisations;
- The parliamentary diplomacy has developed and deepened, particularly on European dimension;
- The Parliament has honoured its commitments towards the Council of Europe;
- A distinct chapter envisages the relations with Romania and seeks the intensification of parliamentary dialogue between the two countries, which could substantially reduce the reciprocally aggressive political rhetoric;
- The parliamentary control on implementation of laws shall be consolidated, etc.
Our Moldova Alliance (OMA) leader Serafim Urechean has stated at the end of the session that though a number of new legal acts have been adopted in 2005–06 and introduced as great achievements forward democratisation, everybody realised this year the null or negative effects of these pseudo-reforms. Even the few positive results have been annulled by those who initiated them. Urechean noted that:
- The enforcement of a new regulation of the Parliament has annulled the free access of citizens to plenary sittings, live broadcasting of sittings;
- Supplementary limitations and restrictions have been introduced in the Electoral Code;
- The CDPP-PCRM coalition simulates in continuation the reforms and substitutes the true parliamentary partnership for fulfilment of European integration objectives;
- The judiciary, human rights, market economy, state based on the rule of law, freedom of the media, autonomy of local authorities have no perspectives to improve until 2009;
- The acting leadership of Moldova rejects the European integration of the country because they refuse to prepare and submit an official appeal in this respect, accordingly to an OMA initiative;
- The regress in terms of democratic norms and achievements continues at parliamentary level, principles of transparent elaboration of legal acts and examination of rules are violated, the control on legislation, in particular, on Government’s activity is ignored;
- Authorities plagiarise the legal initiatives of the opposition in convenient forms;
- Starting next session, the OMA faction will block the activity of the Parliament every time when the majority and the parliamentary leadership will breach the regulation.
The chairman of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (CDPP), Iurie Rosca, has stated at the end of the parliamentary session that:
- The latest conflicts between Moldova and Romania affect the citizens of Moldova above all and the CDPP is ready to help improving the relations between the two countries on all available ways;
- The development direction of Moldova was right in 2007, but paces and quality of political, institutional and economic reforms were quite modest compared with expectations of society;
- Following areas raise concern so far: democratic institutions, independence of the judiciary, human rights and freedom of the media;
- The identity issue is a conflicting topic and it requires a political non-interference in academic matters;
- In order to settle identity-related conflicts, the Parliament shall draft and adopt by consensus a special document capable to stop controversies which had been inherent to the building of the Republic of Moldova as a state.
The faction representing the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) considers that the political battle in 2008 will be very difficult and the PCRM could resort to most inadmissible methods, but 2008 will be the last year of governance of a communist party in Europe. This statement was delivered by Oleg Serebrian, deputy chairman of the joint faction of DPM and Social Liberal Party. Serebrian noted that decline trends were observed in all areas in 2007, too, in particular:
- The inflation rate exceeded 13 percent;
- Moldova is ranked the last place in Europe so far as regards the foreign direct investments per capita;
- The settlement of the Transnistrian conflict did not progress;
- Relations with Romania have reached the lowest level ever registered, relations with Ukraine have slacked down, relations with Russia did not improve;
- Moldova is chronically behind as regards the honouring of commitments from the Moldova-EU Action Plan and Moldova-NATO Individual Action Plan;
Also, Serebrian indicated some encouraging signs observed in 2007, in particular, the victory of democrats at the June 3, 2007 local elections, including the gain in Chisinau; the creation of democratic majorities in most district councils; the launching of important political merger projects on the centre and centre-left segment.
Eugenia Ostapciuc, chairwoman of the PCRM parliamentary faction, stated that Communist lawmakers will focus on wishes of electors. Keeping and developing the social orientation of economic policy, improving the life of population were primordial tasks in 2007. For this reason, all resources have been mobilised, other possibilities have been used to ensure the continuity of this course at maximum. Lawmakers continued to focus on ensuring an efficient political stability in country. In this context, the Parliament adopted some legal acts, in particular, the law on political parties, and modified the Electoral Code. The PCRM faction is very interested to ensure the stability, the democratic development of the country, to improve the work of democratic institutions, optimise social-political forces in strict accordance with legal norms. For these reasons, the PCRM wants the future electoral campaign to be fair and democratic as well, and prevent any falsifications and violations.
Decision on official website of the Moldovan Government. It approves the concept of the Official Website of the Government and appoints the Government Apparatus to administrate the information from the website. The State Enterprise Centrul de Telecomunicatii Speciale will be the technical-technological administrator of the website and it will have to modernise the website accordingly to this concept by December 31, 2007.
Decisions approving regulations:
- Concerning the enforcement of the regulation on conduct of a contest to select residents and investment projects for the industrial park;
- Concerning fiscal facilities awarded to residents of scientific-technological parks and residents of innovation incubators;
- Concerning the enforcement of the type-regulation on access to headquarters of ministries and other central administrative authorities. The document does not contain a legal ground of adoption (citing legal acts on execution of the issued document) and obliges central administrative authorities to issue internal instructions accordingly to this regulation;
- Concerning the registration of maximum retail prices of filtered cigarettes.
Decision approving the immigration rate for 2008. The immigration rate in Moldova in 2008 will be 2,068 persons, by 22 people less than in 2007. According to authorities, the immigration rate last year was used up in 9 months only due to the very big demand of highly-qualified specialists in investment projects.
Decisions approving programmes, concepts, strategies:
- The European integration communication;
- The public land delimitation programme;
- The draft National Sustainable Agro-Industrial Development Strategy of Moldova (2008–2015);
- The ground transportation infrastructure strategy for 2008–2017;
- The concept of the automatic information system called register of execution procedures.
Decision approving a draft law:
- Concerning protection of witnesses and other participants in trials.
2.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Interview published by Novosti Moldova Agency
The prime minister says that the key goal of the Government is becoming true – the economic growth registered in the past years is maintained. According to the premier, it was a difficult year but the Government has successfully mobilised its efforts to remedy the consequences of negative factors (drought, embargo on Moldovan wine imports). The regulatory reform is actively promoted; capital legalisation mechanisms and procedures have been implemented. Cooperation with international financial bodies is a priority direction of activity aimed to enhance the credibility and attractiveness of the country. The key priorities of the Government are: the European integration, the consolidation of the state based on the rule of law and democracy, the guaranteeing and development of private property, the stimulation of investments and improvement of investment climate.
Moldova’s president has signed a decree which declares 2008 as the Year of the Youth. Under the presidential decree, the Government will create by January 25, 2008 a national commission in charge with holding actions dedicated to the Year of the Youth, which will work out an action programme on the Year of the Youth within one month, jointly with central and local public authorities and nongovernmental youth organisations. The executive will identify the funds needed for the actions dedicated to the Year of the Youth and will take the necessary measures to implement them.
Under a presidential decree, Valentin Dediu was relieved from the post of deputy director of the Information and Security Service without a formal motivation.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Preoccupations with local public fund system
Moldovan president has chaired a sitting on the draft law concerning local public funds, worked out accordingly to European norms and studied by European organisations. Vladimir Voronin appreciated the high quality of the document, but noted the opportunity of editing and conceptual changes. The president called for the improvement of the law in order to ensure an optimal legal framework of the process of mobilisation and use of funds at level of administrative territorial units on basis of the local autonomy principle. The law is expected to ensure a transparent, fair and balanced local public fund system, he stressed. Also, participants in the sitting discussed the internal auditing of local public funds, underlining the importance of exactly establishing the procedure of organisation and conduct of internal control. The Government will finalise the draft law on local public funds within one month and half and experts of European organisations will make an expertise of this document.
Trademark protection mechanisms
The chief of state has convoked a sitting on protection of Moldovan trademarks, with participants sharing opinions regarding further actions of Moldovan authorities aimed to maintain the property right of Moldova on the Bely Aist brand. A Russian company claims the rights on this brand because this product has not been sold in Russia for three years. Vladimir Voronin instructed competent governmental officials to take operative measures accordingly to international norms and standards, in order to protect the Bely Aist brand and maintain the exclusive right of Moldova on this brand. The Government was asked to work out and implement a mechanism to protect all Moldovan trademarks.
Support for young specialists from villages
Vladimir Voronin has recommended the Government to consider possibilities of granting credits to young specialists who will agree to work in villages after graduation. According to the chief of state, the credits would be worth 200,000–300,000 lei and they would be released to young specialists to build houses, and the state would cover the bank interests. At the same time, in order to improve the demographic situation, it was proposed to reduce certain percent rates on credits for families of young specialists who give birth to children. Voronin noted that demographic problems and better lives of Moldovan citizens should be priorities, in particular, because a serious shortage of labour force is expected in all areas the next years (according to the president, the medium salary on economy shall account for 300 dollars in 2009 and 500 euros after 2009).
Totals of Government’s work
Vladimir Voronin has told the last governmental sitting this year that restructuring the central apparatus is a primordial task for 2008, raising dissatisfaction with the delayed implementation of the central public administration reform. Elsewhere, Voronin indicated the need of implementing in 2008 a package of laws on liberalisation of economy, in order to intensify the economic activity inside the country and boost investments in national economy.
Interviews and statements delivered to mass media
The president has stated to the TV channel Euronews that the stable relations and important economic interests with the Russian Federation do not contravene to the European integration course chosen by Moldova. Vladimir Voronin noted that Moldova does not have divergences with the Russian Federation regarding the European vector of Chisinau. Speaking about the Moldova-European Union Action Plan, the chief of state stated that Moldovan authorities shall focus on the judiciary reform, human rights and anti-corruption fight. He added that the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict depends inclusively on the result of negotiations between great powers, the Russian Federation and the United States.
The Moldovan president tackled interior and foreign policy issues at a December 19 news conference, stating among others that:
- The unprecedented drought has affected the most the economic development of the country in 2007, and it had a serious impact on economic growth;
- It is clearer now that the vulnerability of the Moldovan agriculture, its dependence on weather are consequences of the failure to apply modern technologies in this sector of economy;
- Investments have grown by 28 percent, the planned indicators of the budget have been exceeded by more than one billion lei, salaries have increased by about 22 percent (by 10 percent in a real expression), the trend of lowering the inflation rate is evident, and the rise pace of exports has reached the rise pace of imports;
- Roads have been actively built and new infrastructure development projects have been implemented (the gas pipe Tocuz-Cainari-Mereni, the motorway Leuseni-Chisinau, the construction of the Cahul-Giurgiulesti railway, intense works on the Orhei-Rezina and Hincesti-Cimislia-Comrat highways);
- Moldova is on the threshold of an investment boom;
- The format of relations with Russia and CIS has been modified; these ties have become true partnership relations, not simply pragmatic;
- The European modernisation of Moldova within the Moldova-EU Action Plan has become a very important stimulant and a factor for internal reforms;
- Moldova will not have faults in implementing the Moldova-EU Action Plan and it will not extend the implementation term of this document after February 2008;
- Vladimir Voronin said that there are some versions of the further cooperation with the EU;
- The complete economic liberalisation has been promoted (registration of enterprises with a single one-stop-shop, reduction of competences of control bodies, the two guillotines, capital amnesty, fiscal amnesty and introduction of the zero tax on benefit on January 1, 2008);
- There are problems linked to the legal system, competence of public functionaries, but they can be settled;
- The Moldova-Romanian case is being studied by the EU, this being now a problem of relations between Romania and the EU, not of Moldova with Romania;
- As regards the Transnistrian settlement, I can tell one thing only – in moral-psychological terms, the problem has already been settled in the mind by all key players;
- The internal policy issue does not alarm much, the opposition is acting again in favour of the Party of Communists and the PCRM will repeat the 2001 success at parliamentary elections;
- The state symbols will be revised, so that to reflect the independence and sovereignty of the country. In this regard, the Parliament will discuss soon a new symbol of Moldova.
Vladimir Voronin stated to the TV channel NIT ("Mai Ai Ceva De Spus" programme) on December 28 that the future relations between Moldova and EU will be discussed at a meeting with the European Commission president on January 14, 2008. Moldova’s president will visit Moscow on January 22, 2008 to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss the Transnistrian conflict. The EU and other states back Moldova’s stance on relations with Romania on a bilateral dimension. At the same time, Voronin considers that relations between the two countries will improve, so that they will become exemplary for European states inclusively. In the context, he called for an urgent signing of documents on relations between Romania and Moldova, in particular, the basic agreement and the border agreement. "The non-signing of these acts means in terms of international norms and other international legal norms that Romania did not recognise the Republic of Moldova as a sovereign and independent country so far," Voronin added.
1. Inflation and prices
Old inflation problem…
The 2007 inflation seems to be out of control, with prices declining a little in July only. The evolution of local and regional prices could press the central bank to increase the monetary policy interest soon, in order to stop the growth of inflation a little. Even more, analysts do not rule out an inflammation of the inflation on spring 2008 up to 15 percent a year.
The rise of the basic interest followed, of course, by interests on money market could induce the phenomenon of speculative transactions on domestic market, creating premises for a new groundless appreciation of the leu. Deals of exporters will be hit again, and the budgetary, commercial and current account deficits will reach new "records", and there will be one way to settle them: the depreciation of the leu. The non-confidence of people towards domestic currency will be worse than an eventual inflation rise in 2008 and the inflationist side-slip for the fourth year in a row.
Remittances fuel inflationist expectations…
Moldovan citizens working abroad sent home more than 972 million dollars in January-October 2007. Remittances fuelled the inflationist expectations and the appreciation of the leu for sure. But the leu cannot appreciate for a long time, as foreign deficits could tell their word at a moment and depreciation with an inflationist impact could occur. Remittances in the period concerned exceeded by about 14 percent the transfers for 2006. Nearly 80 percent of remittances come via rapid transfer systems. The Western Union system, the main operator, covers about half of transactions. Largest remittances came from Moldovans working in Russia.
The continuous rise of remittances is a consequence of the advance of the number of citizens working abroad, their legalisation and growth of collections. According to an IMF forecast, currency inflows could reach 1.283 billion dollars in 2007 and 1.411 billion dollars in 2008. The share of remittances in the GDP exceeds 36 percent and ranks Moldova on the first place in the latest World Bank standing.
Diagram 1. Annual remittances
Source: NBM, 2007
2. Real sector
Industry declines GDP…
The Moldovan industry has decreased by about 2 percent in January-November 2007, compared with the similar period of 2006. All industrial enterprises manufactured production worth about 23.8 billion lei (more than 2 billion dollars) in current prices in the period concerned. The industrial production has declined compared with January-November 2006 because the wine production decreased by nearly 31 percent, sugar by 52 percent, distilled spirits by approximately 28 percent, and tobacco products by more than 10 percent. The production volume of food and drink enterprises has decreased by about 10 percent.
The negative trends of the industry have influenced much the evolution of GDP for the first three trimesters. It increased by 3.3 percent after an 8.2-percent rise in the 1st quarter. This indicator is lower than forecasted by Government, which anticipated a 5-percent advance for 2007. The growth was due to the rise of net taxes on products and imports by about 21 percent, intermediary consumption by more than 6 percent, while the gross valued-added rose by 0.2 percent only, and the production volume increased by nearly 4 percent. Many analysts contest this economic growth, saying that it is "arithmetically bloated" and runs counter the decline of industrial production, stagnation of agriculture, reduction of wine production, etc.
3. Foreign trade
Wine exports increased at all…
Wine exports to the CIS, except for Russia, have increased by 35 percent in January-October 2007, while deliveries to the European Unions have advanced by more than 14 percent. They reached 82.72 million dollars, compared with 60.65 million dollars in January-October 2006. The largest exports went to Ukraine – 37.3 million dollars, Belarus 27.5 million dollars, and Kazakhstan 14.3 million dollars.
Exports to the EU have advanced by 2.2 million dollars. Poland ranked the 1st place, receiving Moldovan wines worth 4.4 million dollars, followed by the Czech Republic – 1.67 million dollars and Germany about 1.4 million dollars. At the same time, following the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU and enforcement of community requirements for Moldovan wine exports, deliveries to these states have declined much. Moldovan wine exports to Romania have decreased by about 14 million dollars and deliveries to Bulgaria by 1.16 million dollars. Exports outside the CIS and EU have advanced by 11 percent, up to 2.23 million dollars. Large wine exports went to the United States, Israel and Japan.
4. Labour market
Evolution of salaries…
The medium salary on economy accounted for 2,234 lei (197 dollars) in November 2007. The average pay in the budgetary sector amounted to 1,792 lei (158 dollars) in November, while the medium salary in the real sector accounted for 2,468 lei (218 dollars). Moldovan farmers earned 1,339 lei (118 dollars) on average in November; teachers were paid 1,545 lei (136 dollars), while doctors and social assistants earned 1,791 lei (158 dollars) on average.
President Vladimir Voronin has revealed plans to visit Moscow on January 22, 2008. According to the chief of state, the Transnistrian problem will be the key topic, though the visit agenda is not ready yet. Knowledgeable sources said that it will depend on the result of Voronin’s visit to Moscow whether 2008 will be the year of settlement of the Transnistrian conflict or the resolution will be deliberately postponed after the March 2008 parliamentary elections in Moldova.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Veselovsky visited Transnistria on December 25 and met there Transnistrian vice-president Alexandr Korolyov. The Ukrainian official stressed that Transnistria is very important for his country because:
- There are many Ukrainians in Transnistria;
- Ukraine and Transnistria are deeply tightened in terms of economy, as well as of history, culture and common traditions. Ukraine is grateful to the Transnsitrin leadership for supporting Ukrainian projects in the region;
- The interaction of Transnistria with afferent Ukrainian regions shall stir up;
- The "Five-Plus-Two" negotiations must restart, with Ukraine considering that the conflicting sides should be equal;
- The problem regarding the prohibition of vehicles with Transnistrian number plates by Moldovan authorities starting January 1, 2008 shall be settled in the interest of Transnistrian and Ukrainian citizens, and authorities shall not halt the normal work of people.
In his turn, Korolyov stressed the expectations of Transnistrian authorities from Ukraine, in particular:
- A solution to the problem of transit of Transnistrian commodities via Ukraine without involvement of Moldovan customs bodies;
- A wider presence of Ukraine in the peacekeeping operation in the region.
Later, Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov has stated that Ukraine will not back Moldova’s initiative to stage the "transport blockade".
On December 20, the Supreme Soviet passed in the final reading the 2008 budget of the Transnistrian region, but Smirnov threatened to veto some articles. Smirnov does not like the reduction of allocations for some ministries; reduction by 0.8 million dollars of allocations for the customs committee headed by his son. In consequence, a compromise will be required or the Soviet Supreme will have to outlaw the veto.
Under a September 13, 2007 decree by Smirnov, Transnistria will increase the tariffs for public services for population starting January 1, 2007; in particular, electricity tariffs will grow by 11 percent, gas tariffs by 14 percent, and water tariffs by 125 percent. In order to attenuate eventual dissatisfaction of citizens, the Transnistrian media recommends them to compare the expenditures of owners of apartments from Transnistria, Moldova and Ukraine for communal services: 30 dollars; 44 dollars and 56 dollars. The effects of the "economic blockade" by Moldova motivate the price rises. In order to assist Transnistria, the Russian Federation decided to transfer approximately 27 million dollars to the secessionist region, without consulting the constitutional authorities of Moldova.
According to Moldpres, President Voronin has promised at a news conference summing up the year 2007 that "Moldova will not be behind with implementing the Moldova-European Union Action Plan (EUMAP) and it will not extend the implementation term of this document after the February 2008 deadline." The conviction that Moldova will not be defaulted reveals much optimism, while the decision not to extend the EUMAP implementation term signals a lack of information.
On the first day of President Voronin’s visit to Brussels, on December 5, the European Commission released a new communication recommending the roll-over of the EUMAP with one year. Although at a level of proposal, the Commission initiative is credited with great chances to be accepted by the Council, in particular because the Commission has wide discretionary competences in the European Neighbourhood Policy area. In addition, the Commission initiative could not be part of the Communication if not consulted with the Council or EP committees. The president should be notified over this recommendation of the Commission within two weeks, from December 5 to 19.
In 2008 Moldova will benefit by an EU TWINNING project aimed at sharing the experience of the French and Hungarian Parliaments with the Moldovan legislature. The inter-institutional cooperation project will assist the Moldovan Parliament in four basic areas: harmonisation of the national legislation with European standards, consolidation of the parliamentary control, introduction of the procedure of assessing the impact of legislation, and optimisation of the structure and competences of the Parliament Apparatus.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
Moldovan authorities have continued criticising Romania in the period concerned. President Vladimir Voronin has told a news conference summing up the year 2007 that by turning down the basic and border treaties, Romania does not recognise Moldova’s sovereignty. Further, the Moldovan president stated that the "Moldovan-Romanian case is being studied by the EU, as this is now the problem of the Romania-EU relations rather than of the Moldova-Romania relations." But President Voronin did not explain why he calls the case as "Moldovan-Romanian" if it rests with Romania’s problem with the EU.
Secondly, the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) has described as unfriendly the gesture of Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu, who did not request a meeting with official Moldovan authorities while on a visit to Chisinau on December 21, on occasion of the opening of the new headquarters of the Romanian Consulate. His gesture, the MFAEI continued, will not help improving the bilateral relations between Moldova and Romania.
On the other hand, no Moldovan official attended the opening of the new headquarters of the Romanian Consulate in Chisinau, though the Romanian Embassy has sent invitations. It means that the claim of the MFAEI carries a dose of hypocrisy.
In his turn, Adrian Cioroianu told journalists on December 21 that he would like to meet his Moldovan counterpart Andrei Stratan. If so, why his majesty did not demand a meeting with the Moldovan foreign minister in order to "break down the wall of suspicion and non-confidence which has been built" between the two states? A simple formality would not give room to the MFAEI to blame its absence.
In spite of present tensions in the Moldovan-Romanian relations, Cioroianu assured that Romania is interested in continuation to simplify the access of Moldovan youths to the Romanian and EU labour market and to give an opportunity to those interested to study in Romania.
While Cioroianu said that Romania awards priority to development of bilateral relations with Moldova as a subject of the international law, with respect for its sovereignty, independence and integrity, statements delivered by Romanian President Traian Basescu during a TV programme left room for equivocal interpretations. Replying to accusations brought by Chisinau authorities against Romania, he told some important things: the aggressiveness of Moldovan authorities will not halt Romania to be close in continuation to the "Romanian people from the other side of the Proute"; Moldovan citizens who are not Romanian ethnics inclusively should also be awarded the Romanian citizenship, as they are citizens of Moldova "in a sea of Romanians"; the communism did not succeed anywhere, nor it will succeed in Moldova; Moldovans "are victims of an injustice of the history" committed through the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
Some statements by Romania’s president will be probably invoked as evidence that Romania has a revisionist vision and it wants to recover Bessarabia, and this will be the origin of new "bridgeheads" for further accusations against Romania. The increasing race of statements will hit common Moldovan citizens the most, particularly those self-identifying as Romanians. It means those whom Bucharest reassures that it will continue supporting them.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
Speaker Marian Lupu has stated at the end of the autumn-winter 2007 session of the Parliament that the schedule of legal actions assumed in compliance with commitments by Council of Europe member states has been honoured. But independent experts fear that Moldova is still behind with implementing this programme. In particular, they signal the failure to adopt new laws on status of the Chisinau municipality, consolidation of the parliamentary immunity and the education laws code. Also, the Parliament did not investigate so far the reasons of criminal cases filed against opposition leaders at national and local levels and it did not "condemn" the principle of dismissal of the Comrat mayor by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia.
1 PD #284-XVI from 11.11.2005, Monitorul Oficial, issue 157–160/788 from 25.11.2005
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Political year 2007
Igor Botan, 27 December 2007
The key events of the political year 2007 were linked to preparation and conduct of general local elections