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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year VI, issue 116, April 15–30, 2008
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
1.1. Legal acts
Law on prevention and struggle against corruption. The document stipulates actions to prevent and combat the corruption, in order to ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms, public interests, national security and to remedy consequences of corruption. Although it has been worked out in a long period, the final draft is imperfect, with civil society experts signalling unclear responsibility; lack of concrete terms or presence of very short terms; inefficient regulations on protection of victims and persons holding corruption evidence; competition of the draft with provisions of the law in effect, etc.
Law on modification and completion of the Code of Civil Procedure. The draft law comes after findings of an ECHR decision against Moldova (Clionov vs. Moldova case.) and aims to prevent new sentences. It allows the Supreme Court of Justice to decide, at the demand of applicant concerning exemption, deferment and gradual payment of the state tax. Also, it allows the deferment or gradual payment of the state tax by legal entities and the right of the latter to appeal. According to draft developers, the implementation of this document shall ensure respect for Article 20 of Moldovan Constitution (right to an effective redress by competent law courts against actions violating rights, freedoms and interests) and Article 6 §1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Law on ratification / signing of certain international acts:
- The Convention between Government of the Republic of Moldova and Government of Cyprus concerning avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion on income taxes;
- The Protocol on accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between European Communities and their Member States and the Republic of Moldova;
- The Agreement between the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Governments of other states participating in SEECP, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 concerning commitments of the host country on the Regional Cooperation Council Secretariat;
- Amendments to Articles 8 and 18 of the Convention Establishing the Customs Cooperation Council;
- Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
Law on modification of the law concerning state medals of the Republic of Moldova. It introduces the honor titles "Artist of the Nation", "Emeritus Artist" and "Emeritus Artistic Group". This is an initiative by Moldovan President, being the 6th change promoted in 2001–2008.
Law on modification and completion of legal acts (implementation of the law on state-guaranteed legal assistance). A special attention is paid to provisions on ensuring the presence of a lawyer when this is required, regulating the mechanism of appointment of attorneys granting state-guaranteed legal assistance in criminal cases.
Draft law on social assistance. The document adopted in the first reading aims to optimise the social assistance system and direct this assistance to the poorest people by providing social aid established accordingly to the evaluation of the medium monthly overall revenue of family and need of social assistance. It regulates aspects such as:
- The selection of beneficiaries of social assistance on the basis of the overall medium revenue of family;
- The social assistance granting criteria;
- The rate and payment of social assistance by indexing it;
- The payment of social aid and control.
1.2. Parliamentary control. Statements
The parliamentary majority has turned down initiatives:
- By the Our Moldova Alliance faction seeking the establishing of an investigative commission to find out whether former heads of the Interior Ministry are involved in trafficking in drugs;
- By National Liberal Party representatives, who demand the maintenance of the EU travel restrictions on Transnistrian leaders;
- By Deputy Valentina Cusnir, who asked prime minister to report on considerable funds that the executive has allocated for works at the Giurgiulesti Oil Terminal and Port without Parliament’s consent.
The Interior Ministry has informed the Parliament regarding means of transport registered in the Transnistrian region, reporting actions taken to monitor the situation. Controls found that about 35 percent of motor vehicles are permanently used by citizens of Moldova who reside on the right bank of the Dniester, while the vehicle registration schemes are fraudulent: motor vehicles older than 7 years are imported. The Parliament will shortly receive a draft law on legalisation of vehicles with Transnistrian number plates.
The Ministry of Justice has reported the implementation of the law on victims of political repressions, noting that a governmental commission is periodically examining occurred problems and finds solutions to them, and then it notifies territorial commissions by letters. The commission and Government cannot take actions which do not correspond to the existing legal framework and, therefore, the problem of heritage evidence and prescription terms cannot be tackled selectively for cases of victims of repressions only.
OMA Deputy Gheorghe Susarenco has asked the Government to provide information regarding legality of an administrative act by the Fiscal Inspectorate, which obliges notaries to demand fees for notary services by using electronic cash registers, as such provisions of a previous Government decision have been outlawed (CC Decision # 13 from 29.05.2007).
Christian Democratic Deputy Ion Varta has asked the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to report on governmental strategies aimed to redirect remittances to national importance projects.
National Liberal Party leader Vitalia Pavlicenco has asked prime minister to provide information regarding state budget allocations for capital investments of the Government Chancellery, Parliament Apparatus and Presidency operated starting 2001, allocations for capital renovation, list of entrepreneurs with which work performing contracts have been signed and copies of these contracts. Also, all documents on contracts and volumes of work contracted with an economic agent who would be called Moldconstructmarket have been demanded.
Christian Democratic Deputy Iurie Rosca has asked the Ministry of Justice to report the number of definitive judicial decisions which the Chisinau City Hall and Chisinau Municipal Council did not execute.
Anatolii Zagorodnii has asked the Prosecutor-General, Government and Centre for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes and Corruption to report the goal of the visit to abroad by Mr. Anatolie Postolache, deputy chairman of the Hincesti district, on August 14–16 and December 16–23, 2007.
The parliamentary faction representing the Our Moldova Alliance (OMA) has released statements:
- Concerning the necessity of ceasing disputes and destructive confrontations in the democratic camp and strengthening democratic parties in the political battle against the regime of Vladimir Voronin;
- Concerning situation of agriculture, which OMA describes as disastrous and capable to affect the food security of the country;
- Concerning violation of constitutional provisions on freedom of the media.
Vitalia Pavlicenco has presented statements by the National Liberal Party:
- Concerning instauration of an authoritarian political regime in the Republic of Moldova, which outlines the necessity of finding the optimal way to ensure the victory of national pro-West reforming forces at the 2009 parliamentary elections;
- Concerning the offensive and abuse by the communist governance against the free media.
The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM), Vladimir Filat, has released a statement concerning the groundless obstruction of the small border traffic agreement with Romania by Moldovan Government.
The chairman of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, Iurie Rosca, has presented a statement "concerning doubtful financial schemes and political corruption used by Filat group," which accuses Vladimir Filat of fraudulently giving precious gifts to territorial LDPM leaders.
2.1. Appointments. Dismissals
Under governmental decisions:
- Sergiu Sitnic, directorate chief in the Ministry of Information Development, was nominated director-general of the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology;
- Ion Sturzu, former deputy chief of the Principal State Fiscal Inspectorate, was assigned deputy minister of finance;
- Oleg Rotaru, deputy chief of the Government Apparatus, was appointed deputy minister of information development;
- Galina Bulat was nominated deputy minister of education and youth;
- Alexei Virlan, former deputy directorate chief in the Chisinau City Hall, was appointed deputy minister of transportation and road management;
- Iurie Muntean, former director of the ARIA Centre, was nominated deputy minister of economy and commerce;
- Anatolie Zapanovici was appointed deputy chief of the Government Apparatus and Natalia Catrinescu was nominated head of the policy coordination and foreign assistance directorate of the Government Apparatus.
- Ivan Cilcic was assigned chief of the Comrat territorial directorate of the Ministry of Local Public Administration;
- Ion Ceban was relieved from the post of deputy minister of education and youth and Vadim Smintina was relieved from the office of deputy director-general of the Sport Agency on the basis of their "demands";
- Oleg Chirisenco was appointed deputy chief of the State Protection and Guard Service.
Decision on opening of the National Motor Transport Agency. The agency will take over the duties of organising and supervising the technological process of carriage of commodities and passengers in national and international transportation. It will also take over some functions of the state-run enterprise AMTAI, dissolved under the Government Decision # 153 from 14.02.2008, as well as some competences of the Ministry of Transportation and Road Management (supervision of motor stations, rationalisation and optimisation of regular passenger routes.
Decision concerning distribution of food wheat from state material reserves. In order to maintain bread prices, 7,000 tons of food wheat will be lent from the state reserve to bakery owners by September 30, 2008. The wheat will be supplied to economic agents on the basis of certain criteria: management of a bakery in the last 12 months, commitment to respect commercial addition rate for bread products, etc.
Decision concerning identity papers of beneficiaries of humanitarian protection. It approves models of identity cards and travel documents for beneficiaries of humanitarian protection which will be issued by the Interior Ministry.
Decision approving the structure of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. The new flowchart stipulates three functions for deputy ministers and three new directorates: the directorate-general on energy security (it will take over the functions of elaboration and promotion of energy policies); the directorate-general on quality infrastructure (it will take over the tasks of the Standardisation and Metrology Service); the directorate-general on coordination of the real sector of economy. The ministerial personnel will comprise 220 employees and about 2.8 million lei will be spent on salaries and other maintenance charges till the end of this year.
2.3. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
New reorganisation of Government Apparatus
The new executive has approved the reorganisation of the Government Apparatus, with main changes envisaging:
- The reduction of the number of employees (from 141 to 124 persons). The number of the Government Apparatus functionaries was recently increased from 136 up to 141 persons under the Government Decision # 108 from 06.02.2008;
- The reduction of the number of advisors for prime minister (from 10 down to 2);
- The transfer of some tasks of the Government Apparatus to ministries;
- The opening of three new directorates (for the coordination of policies and foreign assistance; for staff policy and human development; for humanitarian aid);
Note by ADEPT: The Government Apparatus has been reorganised and underwent essential structural changes in 2001–2008, in spite of political and administrative stability, in particular: GD # 500 from 21.06.2001; # 919 from 12.07.2002; # 1315 from 26.11.2004; # 44 from 17.01.2005; # 637 from 29.06.2005; # 1059 from 14.09.2006 and # 1004 from 10.09.2007. Although Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii has promised that the new structure of the Government will be "revolutionary" and efficient, one may note that the Government Apparatus was essentially modified last time (in 2005) at the indication of chief of state, being built after the model of the Presidential Apparatus, with specialised directorates and sections being dissolved and advisors for prime ministers taking over their duties. Independent experts and former high-ranking governmental functionaries described this structure as unsuccessful, but the Tarlev Government Apparatus functioned on the basis of this structure several years. Now the new Government reintroduces the former structure, which is acceptable in majority of countries with a ruling system like that in Moldova. But this situation reveals again the irrelevance and lack of conceptual, strategic approach in reforming the central public administration within which the Government Apparatus namely was reserved an important place.
Facilitated meat imports
The pork and beef imports will be liberalised for a certain period, in order to cover the meat deficit on domestic market and stabilise prices in the near future. Thus, the maximum rate of 110 tons of meat per import transaction will be cancelled for a certain period. According to data of the National Bureau for Statistics, meat prices on domestic market have grown by 40–45 percent in the first trimester of this year, while the Ministry of Economy and Commerce is explaining higher prices with the essential reduction of meat production on domestic market after the 2007 drought.
Moldovan president has decreed the nomination of Igor Malai as deputy minister of defence.
Under presidential decrees, the "Labour Glory" Order was awarded to:
- Vladimir Ciobanu, chairman of the parliamentary commission for public administration, environment and territorial development;
- Valentin Todercan, chairman of TeleRadio-Moldova Company;
- Ion Verbeniuc, chief of the TV technical centre.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Priorities of state leadership for this year
Moldovan president has chaired a sitting on priorities of the state leadership for this year, ways and possibilities to fulfil tasks in the period concerned. Vladimir Voronin outlined problems related to social-economic and political processes, which require more efforts by central government and legislators, in particular, the implementation of the European Union – Moldova Action Plan and negotiation of a new legal framework on cooperation with the EU; implementation of actions aimed at building confidence between Chisinau and Tiraspol, resumption of the "5+2" conflict resolution negotiations; optimisation of the process of implementation of gasification, drinkable water providing and road building programmes; intensification of business activity in territories and growth of domestic production; development of the farm land consolidation and modernisation process in agriculture; adoption and implementation of the social assistance law; ensuring primary specialised healthcare, computerisation of the pharmaceutical sector and healthcare system in general; enhanced attention for education sector, efficient implementation of youth policies, etc. The chief of state noted that the territorial work of cabinet members is inefficient and instructed Government members to visit regions a whole day at least twice a month and visit both district centres and localities from territorial administrative units.
Accelerating the implementation of actions for the Youth Year
Vladimir Voronin has chaired a working sitting which studied the course of the action programme on the Youth Year, stressing the need of accelerating ongoing actions and finalising further programmes. Participants studied issues related to an efficient implementation of national programmes on economic redress of youths and social support for young families called Housing for All. Decisions on admission and rise of the number of state-funded scholarships in institutions of higher learning and secondary professional institutions demanded on labour market will be further made. The sitting also tackled the patriotic education of youths and civic, moral and patriotic education campaigns will be launched in educational institutions. The president demanded an ample mediation of actions dedicated to the youth, with the purpose to ensure the access of youths to all available programmes. He insisted on participation of youths in the process of elaboration of the draft youth strategy for 2009–2013.
Official visit to Azerbaijan
The visit programme to Baku included meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliev, Speaker Oktai Asadov, Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and Rovnag Abdulaev, chairman of the State Oil Company. Vladimir Voronin has attended a festivity dedicated to the opening of the Days of Moldovan Culture in Azerbaijan.
Statements on NIT
Moldova’s president has stated on interior and foreign police during the programme "Talks with the President" aired by TV channel NIT, in particular:
- The present situation in the Chisinau municipal is catastrophic and it is created both by those who unsuccessfully try to administrate the city, and by former Chisinau mayor-general Serafim Urechean;
- The president was tolerant with the media in Moldova during seven years of rule;
- The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova will win the 2009 parliamentary elections and there is no other strong political force in Moldova at present to do more for the people;
- The Government headed by Vasile Tarlev has tendered resignation for the continuity of economic and social consolidation of the country, not for inactivity, as "there were many questions regarding the staff and some ministries should be restructured";
- The settlement of the Transnistrian conflict is the priority of the working agenda of the governance and the resumption of the "5+2" negotiations is now the stringent task;
- There are forces which do not want the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and they include both internal and external parties (and Romania is especially mentioned among them);
- The role of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin in settling the conflict was very important, with "a common ground and a way to settle the conflict" being found at more than 40 bilateral meetings;
- The Government hoped to redress the Moldovan economy at the level of 1991 in six years, but it failed and a 10–15 percent growth is needed so far to reach this goal.
1 See the CAPC expertise report.
IMF is very optimistic over evolution of macroeconomic indicators in 2008…
According to the World Economic Outlook 2008 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IMF is very optimistic over evolution of macroeconomic situation in Moldova, forecasting a 7-percent economic growth and 11-percent inflation for 2008. At the same time, the IMF report says that the current account deficit compared with the GDP will be 10.3 percent. The Government and the National Bank have forecasted a 10-percent inflation rate for 2008 (but this rate was recently revised and now they forecast 11.8 percent), with this rate being also included in the Policy Memorandum signed with the IMF. The higher inflation than expected before is linked to developments on international and regional markets, as well as to the U.S. crisis.
From fiscal-budgetary prospect, IMF experts consider that prudent policies will be further promoted and the condition of maintaining a budgetary deficit of 0.5 percent of GDP will be respected. Fiscal-budgetary incomes are expected to tend to a positive evolution in continuation, while fiscal-budgetary expenses shall correspond to the Programme with the IMF, including with regard to introduction of a new nominal social assistance system next autumn.
IMF is recommending Moldova to keep austere monetary policies in order to reduce the inflation and get through pressures linked to the rise of capital inflows, in particular, of remittances from other countries. In this regard, preliminary data by NBM reveal that Moldovans working abroad have sent home more than 270 million dollars in the 1st quarter via banks from Moldova.
2. Labour market
Minimum wage rate in Moldova is 30-fold lower than in Luxembourg…
According to a rating by the Federation of European Employers (FedEE), in spite of double rises in the past years, the minimum wage in Moldova is the lowest in Europe. Starting June 2007, after collective negotiations between social partners, the minimum wage rate is 900 lei (55 euros or 6.8 euros/hour). This rate ranks Moldova in the bottom of the standing, as it is about 30-fold lower than the maximum rate in the European Union Diagram 1.
Therefore, there is much room for a rise from statistical point of view. Even more, compared with the purchase power, salary earners in Moldova seem to be justified to seek more. On the other hand, the things are changing while comparing the salary-productivity relation. Unfortunately, this correlation is not a priority for unionists, with the economic conjuncture favouring demands of higher wages at a certain extent only.
The labour market in Moldova has entered a phase when the supply is higher than the demand. Thus, seeking higher salaries is positive. Hence, if trade unions demand, employers have to give green light at this juncture. But there is one basic condition: the productivity should grow accordingly to wages.
Major developments related to the relation between social dialogue and decent salaries include the June 7, 2007 merger of the two unionist confederations (Confederation of Free Trade Unions Solidaritatea and Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova) into the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova (NCTUM), with a total number of 720,000 members. The segregation of trade unions in December 2000 has weakened the unionist movement in 2001–2006, with the image of organisations being compromised meanwhile by unsettled property conflicts.
The merger of the two confederations could essentially improve the dialogue with the Government and employers and the protection of rights and interests of employees. One of goals assumed by NCTUM at the merger and constitution congress was to obtain "a lowest wage rate at the minimum subsistence level (which is about 1,100 lei at present)." At the same time, this goal will be accomplished should the new organisation be really independent from governance.
With regard to the FedEE rating, Moldova is ranked much behind some countries from the region. In particular, the minimum wage rate in Albania is 131 euros, in Serbia 138 euros, in Romania 140 euros. The minimum wage rate in Moldova is 10-fold lower than in Slovenia, which pays at least about 540 euros per month. On the other hand, Slovenia is known as ranking a leading place regarding the dependence of the cost of living.
Luxembourg pays a minimum wage of 1,570 euros to unqualified workers; that means the minimum wage rate on economy is much higher. Ireland pays a gross minimum wage of 1,500 euros a month, while employees in the Netherlands earn roughly 1,320 euros a month. Montenegro pays a gross minimum wage like Moldova, as workers in this country earn at least 55 euros a month (but this seems to be irrelevant).
Diagram 1. Gross minimum wage in some European countries, euros
3. Banking system
Overall assets of local banks estimated at about 34 billion lei…
According to NBM accounts and media reports, overall assets of the domestic banking system were worth about 34 billion lei (over 3.2 billion dollars), as of March 31, 2008, or the equivalent to 76 percent of the 2007 GDP (4.23 billion dollars). The rise of deposits by population in commercial banks fuelled by massive remittances (they exceeded 1.2 billion dollars in eight months of 2007), as well as the general growth of people’s incomes increased the assets Diagram 2.
Diagram 2. Top of Moldovan banks regarding overall assets, as for 31.03.2008, billion lei
Interesting: According to NBM, there were approximately 692,000 valid credit cards in Moldova on April 1, 2008, which is by over 12 percent more than in the similar period of 2007 (617,000 credit cards). For comparison, there are about 10 million valid credit cards in Romania. That means each second Romanian holds a credit card, compared with each fifth Moldovan.
1 It is worth to note that FedEE data for other countries date from 01.01.2007; therefore, one may suppose that the minimum wage rates have been increased and they could be higher now, but the available data were not updated.
Immediate impact of President Voronin’s meeting with Transnistrian leader
The April 11, 2008 meeting of President Vladimir Voronin and Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov was followed by a series of important events which took place with a certain regularity and frequency worthy of being noticed. On April 14, Odessa hosted consultations with the participation of Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova and Tiraspol foreign minister Valeriy Litskai. They preceded a seminar on building mutual confidence between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria in the area of economy and environment held in Odessa on April 15 under the OSCE auspices, with the participation of EU Special Representative to Moldova Kalman Mizsei, the head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Philip Remler, and the ambassador with special missions of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Valeri Nesterushkin. The debates focussed on restoration and facilitation of railway communication, normalisation of economic and commercial relations between the two banks of the Dniester. Transnistrian representatives told the seminar that the reactivation of previous agreements (signed before August 2001) would help strengthening the confidence between the sides. They denied statements by Chisinau that customs control measures introduced after March 3, 2006 help promoting exports from Transnistria. They claimed that Transnistrian commodities undergo a double customs control and the restricted railroads mark up the Transnistrian exports very much. A day later, on April 16, Odessa hosted consultations of participants in the "5+2" negotiations. They agreed that five expert groups co-opted from both banks of the Dniester to start negotiations on economy and trade, infrastructure development, social area and healthcare, humanitarian aid, environment and agriculture. On April 17, the EU special representative to Moldova, Kalman Mizsei, told a meeting with Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov that the EU is ready to assist joint projects which would eventually result from activity of working groups of Chisinau and Tiraspol. The same day, representatives of bilateral working groups met in Bender. Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova and Transnistrian foreign minister Valeriy Litkai coordinate the bilateral working groups. Moldovan heads of each group are deputy ministers. It was generally decided that the working groups will meet periodically.
In spite of the rapid start of consultations, it was concluded after a week that fast progresses are impossible. The first failure was the impossibility to resume the ordinary railway traffic via Transnistria. Tiraspol said that a benevolence step by Chisinau would be to resume the traffic of the Chisinau-Odessa passenger train via Transnistria and reciprocal renunciation to transit taxes by the sides. This issue will be discussed again later. The Tiraspol administration has heard members of working groups on behalf of Transnistria and established that Chisinau is intransigent, wishing to promote own solutions and ignoring Transnistrian proposals. The Transnistrian propaganda has made an effort to explain people Russia’s new approaches of the Transnistrian problem by the wish to promote solutions capable "to keep all Moldova, not only Transnistria under control."
Previous and recent experience shows that the consolidation of confidence between Chisinau and Tiraspol depends much on President Voronin’s relations with Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov. The quality of these relations was revealed in an April 25 interview with President Voronin, who delivered curious statements:
- We do not want, we have never wanted and we will unlikely want to see Igor Smirnov, but should this be opportune for the state, I will negotiate with the devil inclusively;
- Promises made by PCRM in 2001 to quickly settle the conflict have encountered interests of former ruling elites from Moldova and Transnsitria. "Now we are defusing the economic and political field that one has mined before us very ingeniously and for perspective";
- Transnistrian circles "had sold rocket and aircraft installations together with Transnistria, they had sold other weapons, too." "They were covering weapon boxes with sand and were carrying them by boats to Odessa and then to hot areas of the CIS and across the world. One will ever tell these episodes again";
- Moldova had to convince the world community, particularly Russia and Ukraine in the past years to set up a border control;
- "Once we go closer to the resolution of the Transnistrian problem, Romania is becoming hysterical while Basescu is spitting out what he can and how he can." "Nine intelligence services of Romania are working to suppress our initiatives. I think that not everybody knows that Romania had imposed Snegur to start the Dniester war";
- Putin has an absolute role in redressing Russian-Moldovan relations. "I am glad to have had found a common language and way to settle the conflict. Perhaps many have noticed that the State Duma has recognised the necessity of reunifying Moldova, when it discussed the Abkhazian and Ossetian problems";
- "We have to help Transnistrians who have been under the umbrella of separatism for many years." More than 300,000 Transnistrian residents have been issued acts of Moldovan citizens;
- About 500 Transnistrian economic agents have been introduced in the official record of Moldova;
- Exports from Transnistria have grown by 30 percent last year;
- Finding a final resolution of the Transnistrian conflict is a very difficult task, but resuming the "5+2"negotiation process is a tangible duty for the nearest future.
Finally, the following key accomplishments in "building confidence" between the two banks of the Dniester in the second half of April may be noted:
- Consultations within five working groups which will meet periodically;
- Confirmed support of the E.U., U.S., Russia and OSCE for the resumption of the Chisinau-Tiraspol dialogue;
- Minister of reintegration has met E.U., U.S., OSCE and Russian representatives and reconfirmed the plans of Moldovan authorities to demand the lifting of the E.U. and U.S. travel restrictions;
- A delegation from the Moldovan Church headed by the archbishop of Dubasari and Tiraspol, Iustian, a known admirer of the Transnistrian regime, has brought the Holy Fire from Jerusalem on the eve of the Easter for the religious service at the Nasterea Domnului Cathedral in Chisinau.
1 According to the INFOTAG translation of the interview with Moldovan president aired by TV channel NIT.
The second round of negotiations between Moldova and the European Union on Mobility Partnership
On April 22, in Brussels was held the second round of negotiations on Mobility Partnership between Moldova – European Union with the participation of representatives of the European Commission and more than 14 EU member states. The Moldovan delegation, headed by Valeriu Ostalep, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, included the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Economy and Trade, Ministry of Informational Development and Border Guards Service.
During the negotiations, the text of the Mobility Partnership Document was discussed. The document will consist of 2 parts: 1)general that will draw the main directions of cooperation between Moldova and EU within the framework of the Partnership; 2)operational that will include the project proposals from the EU interested member states which will be updated according to Moldova’s needs and interests. The Moldovan delegation reaffirmed the importance to exploit within the framework of the Partnership such domains as: efficient border management, cooperation in regulation of migrational flows, reinvestment of remittances, strengthening of the national migration management system, implementation of Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements. In addition, there were discussed the ways to organize the cooperation platform for a better implementation of the Mobility Partnership, assessment of the projects’ impact and their update depending on Moldova’s needs.
Financial assistance provided by the European Union to Moldova in 2008–2009
According to a declaration of the Head of Political and Economic section of the European Commission’s Delegation to Moldova, Paolo Berizzi, Moldova will benefit from 50 million euros in financial assistance from the European Commission in 2008–2009. This amount is allocated to carry out and promote more infrastructure projects in Moldova. The European official highlighted that the EU financial assistance is not aimed at solving the problems faced by Moldova, but to strengthen the reforms carried out by the Government of Moldova. Besides, it was mentioned that the EU financial assistance will significantly increase in the future if Moldova collaboration with European structures will be successful.
Note. Since 1991, the EU has provided financial assistance to Moldova totaling almost 450 million euro.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The disagreements related to the signing of the Convention on small cross-border traffic between Moldova and Romania continue to rule the Moldovan-Romanian relations. In response to the declaration of Romanian president Traian Basescu that the border agreement with Moldova is not a priority for Romania, since Romania has recognized Moldova’s independence within its current borders (see e-journal no.115), on April 17, 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova (MFAEI) made public a press release. In the press release is mentioned that Moldova launched the initiative to start the negotiations with Romania regarding the small border traffic agreement by a Political Declaration expressed simultaneously with the signing of the EU-Moldova Visa Facilitation Agreement (10 October 2007). Moreover, it is stressed the fact that the Romanian draft of the Convention on small cross-border traffic contains the collocation "Moldova -Romanian State border" that de facto exists, but without a legal bilateral documentation. Thus, according to the Moldovan authorities, the single solution to clear up the border relations between these two countries remain the simultaneous signing of the State Moldovan-Romanian border Agreement and the Convention on small cross-border traffic.
Note by ADEPT. The conditionality between the signing of the Convention on small cross-border traffic and the signing of the state border agreement generated critics from the opposition political parties. Two of them – Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova and Alliance "Our Moldova" – launched initiatives to speed up the signing of the Convention on small cross-border traffic, inclusively by collecting the signatures of citizens unsatisfied with the decision of Moldovan authorities. The tensions in Moldovan-Romanian relations only increased after, in a TV interview, Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin accused Romania of provoking the armed conflict in Transnistria, stating that Romania imposed the former Moldovan president Mircea Snegur to break out the 1992 war..
Republic of Moldova – Ukraine
The Moldovan-Ukrainian relations were centered on solving the energy problems, especially the issue of price formation to the Ukrainian electric power and the issue of participation quota to the Hydroelectic Power Plant Dnestrovsk. Moldova claims a participation quota to the power plant that occupies a part of the Moldovan territory.
The visit of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Trade, Igor Dodon, to Kiev for solving these problems did not bring real results; the new negotiations will take place on May 19–21, 2008 in Kiev.
Republic of Moldova – Slovenia
In the related period, Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Andrei Stratan paid an official visit to Slovenia, the country that holds the presidency of the European Union. Andrei Stratan met few Slovenian officials, among them: France Cukjati, President of the National Assembly, Dimitrij Rupel, Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs etc. The main subjects approached were: the Moldova-EU cooperation, in particular the future legal framework of the Moldova-EU relations; latest evolutions in the Transnistrian problem; bilateral Moldovan-Slovenian cooperation. Slovenian officials mentioned the importance for the Meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council to adopt a favorable decision of launching the reflections on the future Moldova-EU agreement, highlighting that Slovenia recognizes and supports the European perspective of Moldova. Regarding the Transnistrian subject, the Slovenian officials acclaimed the latest efforts of the Moldova leadership in settling the Transnistrian conflict, and Moldova’s consistency in promoting 5+2 negotiations format.
The Moldovan minister stressed that the cooperation with Slovenia, inclusively as the state holding the EU presidency, represents a priority for MFAEI and, as a consequence, designated a representative of the Ministry to have systematic contacts with the MFA of Slovenia, providing the necessary information regarding Moldova’s objectives in its relations with the EU.
Republic of Moldova – Azerbaijan
On April 23–24, the Moldovan President paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. According to the presidential press service, the aim of the visit was to intensify the commercial-economic cooperation between Moldova and Azerbaijan, in particular in energy and fuel domains. During the visit 3 intergovernmental collaboration agreements were signed: 1) collaboration in energy and fuel domains; 2) collaboration and the information exchange in combating the violation of the fiscal and economical legislation; 3) collaboration in the protection of intellectual property. There was also discussed the possibility to open an air route Chisinau-Baku.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
On April 14–18, the delegation of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova participated in the spring session on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held in Strasbourg. Delegation was headed by Maria Postoico, Deputy Chairwoman of the Parliament.
On April 29, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made public the third report on Moldova that assesses the situation in Moldova with regard to racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance for the period April 2003 – 14 December 2007. According to the report, Moldova made some progress on discrimination and intolerance, but the main problems mentioned already in the second report (from 15 April 2003) persist. Namely, these are: limitation on the freedom of religion for minority religious and Muslim groups, lack of an adequate legislation against discriminations, ongoing discrimination of Roma etc. ECRI had also expressed its concern regarding the amendments to the Moldovan law on citizenship in order to restrict the access of certain categories of citizen to public functions. ECRI shows that the amendments to the law on citizenship which disadvantage the access of Moldovan citizen with multiple citizenship to public functions compared with other Moldovan citizen, will lead to the discrimination and a differential treatment based on citizenship.
Republic of Moldova – Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
On April 17, in Kiev was held the XVIIIth Meeting of Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The Moldovan delegation was headed by Valeriu Ostalep, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. During the meeting, the Moldovan official mentioned that Moldova pleads for a more efficient use of the existent cooperation mechanism within the BSEC, in particular the intensification of the relations between the BSEC and the EU within the framework of the EU initiative "Black Sea Synergy".
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Things go wrong…
Igor Botan, 30 April 2008
The Barometer of Public Opinion (BPO) released on April 23, 2008 confirmed the stability of trends outlined half a year ago. Recent findings fix perceptions of Moldovan citizens to a period marked by a series of important regional developments with an impact on internal situations, and internal events, in particular