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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year VI, issue 121, 1–15 July 2008
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
The Parliament finished the spring-summer session on July 11, 2008, and it will restart plenary sittings in late September. The holidays announced two weeks earlier that usual were not motivated by fulfilment of the Parliament’s agenda, but by tiredness of lawmakers, forthcoming electoral campaign in 2009 and necessity of gathering new forces for this purpose. The heads of state and Government did not attend the final sitting, and the Parliament leadership did not tell lawmakers if they have been formally invited or their absence was "coordinated". Lawmakers, leaders of factions and Speaker of the Parliament have made the parliamentary totals, giving different marks in this regard:
- LDPM leader Vladimir Filat considers that the Parliament has no tangency with major processes and developments in the country, while the legislative process has a low quality: 74 out of 144 laws and decisions adopted during the spring-summer session envisage amendments, completions and abrogations of legislative acts adopted mostly in 2001–2007, and this reveals the low professionalism in making laws; the Parliament does not almost participate in important processes for the country, such as, European integration, settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, as well as galloping price rise, crisis in agriculture, violation of human rights; – the Government and Presidency remember the Parliament when they need votes," and the communist majority supported by those cooperating with the governing accepts the Parliament’s marginalisation.
- The CDPP faction considers that the Parliament has maintained political stability and this allowed important reforms in the area of justice, broadcasting, religious denominations, legislation on parties, Central Election Commission, Chamber of Auditors, etc. Arrears concern the freedom of the media, local autonomy, human rights, while problems related to language, ethics, and religion shall be avoided, as they may strain the situation. CDPP criticised other opposition representatives, calling them "instruments serving the imperial interests of the Kremlin."
- The OMA faction fears that the Republic of Moldova is regressing internally and externally because of the inefficient governing and its policy which undermines the European vector." OMA has divided the previous period into several rounds: in 2005, the legislature was delivering romantic statements regarding the pro-European consensus; lots of allegedly reforming laws have been voted in 2006, while they were hiding clan interests; democratic effects of these laws were expected so far in 2007, and latest appearances of some democratic trends have disappeared in 2008. OMA considers that the Republic of Moldova is signalled grave problems in the following areas: business climate; independent justice; free media; political system and conditions to guarantee fair elections. Serious regresses are the following: dissemination of allocations from the state budget for local public administration on the basis of political criteria; assaults on media institutions disloyal to the governance; harassment of youths who criticised communists on online forums; limited immunity of judges; refusal to seriously combat corruption, trafficking in drugs and human beings protected by police bodies, etc.
- The DPM faction considers that many drafts by the opposition concerning major problems for the country have not been studied, and a series of ongoing reforms (on elections, depoliticising of functions) have been abandoned or reversed.
- The PCRM faction considers that the acting corps of lawmakers has generally fulfilled the task of legally ensuring the further development of the country and society, in spite of very complicated socio-economic circumstances. It noted that ensuring a stable development of the economic complex, improving living standards of people, boosting Moldova’s authority on international arena are arguments proving the effectiveness of the ruling Party of Communists, high labour output of the parliamentary majority. The Parliament has actively contributed to the implementation of the EU-Moldova Action Plan, cooperated with civil society. The PCRM criticises opposition lawmakers for populist proposals and anti-communist rhetoric.
- The Speaker of the Parliament stressed the following key accomplishments of the session: the confidence vote given to the new Government and approval of its action programme; adoption of new socio-economic and legal laws; continued promotion of democratic values. Marian Lupu highly appreciated the parliamentary diplomacy and cooperation with civil society, which will deepen due to a Development Concept studied by Parliament.
On July 14, the Liberal Party (LP) held a press conference and described the work of the Parliament as irresponsible and faulty, saying that the PCRM-led communist coalition is to blame for this situation. Liberals sought an extraordinary sitting of the legislature to remove from the Electoral Code the norms restricting electoral blocs, demanded the reduction of the electoral threshold and annulment of restrictions on holders of dual citizenship to run public offices; modification of the Audiovisual Code to oblige TeleRadio-Moldova to organise public debates; adjustment of legislation on judicial system, prosecution, police, Information and Security Service to European standards; adoption of laws on social aid, subsidising of agriculture; integration of youth into society; rise of salaries for public servants, rise of pensions for retirees up to the minimum consumer basket; liberalisation of economy to attract foreign capital in Moldova.
PCRM Deputy Grigore Petrenco, Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for Foreign Policy and European Integration, was appointed Co-chairman of the Moldova – European Union Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.
Iurie Bejenari, Chairman of the Buiucani district court in the Chisinau municipality, was nominated judge of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Note by ADEPT: Talks on this candidacy have been hot, with opposition lawmakers (DPM, LDPM and OMA) saying that Bejenari has passed decisions contested by ECHR, which indicated the violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. PCRM and CDPP supported this candidate. Observers noted that this time PCRM and CDPP lawmakers have indicated legal norms which allegedly "oblige" the Parliament to accept candidacies proposed by SCM, though PCRM lawmakers did not earlier vote other candidates proposed by SCM (case of Gheorghe Ulianovschi and others), saying that "constitutional norms do not oblige a lawmaker to vote in a certain manner."
1.2. Legal acts
The Parliament has examined and adopted many legal acts in the period concerned, including (basic) framework laws and laws on ratification of international acts:
- Concerning public office and status of public servant;
- Concerning labour migration; the law on labour security and health;
- Concerning public-private partnership;
- Concerning control and prevention of tuberculosis;
- Concerning amnesty in connection with declaration of 2008 as the Year of the Youth;
- Concerning construction of a prison;
- Concerning the Free International Airport Marculesti;
- Declaring the national public utility of building works at the Free International Port Giurgiulesti;
- On ratification of the Financing Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the International Development Association for Additional Financing to the 2nd Rural Investments and Services Project (RISP2);
- Concerning the ratification of the Agreement between Moldovan Government and Finnish Government for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion on income taxes;
- Approving Guidelines and Procedure Rules of the Central European Initiative.
The following documents raise interest among amended and completed acts of the existing legislation:
- The law on modification and completion of the Code of the Republic of Moldova on Science and Innovations which stipulates a new composition and a smaller number of scientific sections (from 6 down to 3); management of sections by deputy chairpersons of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (ASM) and reduction of the number of members to the Supreme Council for Science and Technological Development (from 17 down to 15); limitation of the total number of entitled members and correspondent members of ASM (to 105 persons under 70 years old); higher rise for academic and scientific degrees (300–3,000 lei).
- The law on completion of the law concerning salary system in budgetary sector, which says that teaching and leading personnel of educational institutions of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova will be paid a rise of up to 100 percent of the basic salary for the creative, individualised and specific education of talented students accordingly to criteria, norms of evaluation of individual professional performances, and these funds will be included in the finances allocated to ASM every year. Professors of the ASM high school (21 persons) and ASM University (23 persons) will be paid the rise.
- The law on modification and completion of the law on customs service, amendments aimed to implement anti-corruption standards in customs legislation (release of information about vacancies; avoidance of hiring a former employee who was dismissed or sentenced for certain actions hich have a direct tangency with corruption; supporting and protecting illegally denigrated personnel, etc.
- The law on modification and completion of some legal acts (Criminal Code, Code on Administrative Contraventions, law on operative investigations, law on private detective and security activity). It introduces administrative or criminal responsibility for projecting, illegal possession and use of special technical means used to secretly get information, violation of rules on import, export, projecting, manufacturing or trading of these means.
- The law on completion of Article 15 of the Law on Government. Under amendments, the Government is entrusted to set up state prizes, approve awarding conditions and deliver to the president of Moldova the draft decree on awarding of state prizes.
Note by ADEPT: the amendments come much later than the contest has opened, the contest commission was established and the value of state prizes was announced, so that opposition lawmakers have described actions taken by the executive and chief of state as abusive and illegal.
- The law on modification and completion of the law on Government. The document legalises the dissolution of the Ministry of Transportation and Road Management (through reorganisation of the Ministry of Transportation and Road Management and State Administration of Civil Aviation), establishing of the Transport Agency and re-establishing of the Agency Apele Moldovei.
Note by ADEPT: In spite of statements that the amendments are based on the necessity of implementing exigencies of the central public administration reform and reform of regulatory framework on entrepreneurship, the way it was acted reveals many faults: the State Administration of Civil Aviation was involved in many scandals and accused of abuses; the civil aviation in Moldova is in a lamentable condition (deplorable endowment; few aircraft; few served routes; high prices, etc.); the Ministry of Transport was maintained in Government’s structure three months ago, and the ministry was sworn in and committed itself to execute the governing programme; three months ago, in order to implement the CPA reform, the Apele Moldovei Agency was amalgamated with the Ministry of Construction and Territorial Development and now it becomes an independent structure again, etc.
- The law on modification and completion of the Law on 2008 state budget. Incomes and expenses of the state budget are raised by 340.6 million lei and 216.6 million lei, and thus the budgetary deficit is expected to decrease by 124 million lei, down to 99.7 million lei. Revenues have increased by 66.9 million lei from tax on entrepreneurship income on basis of income declarations for 2007; VAT on imported goods and taxes on external trade by 260.2 million lei; some types of excises by 159 million lei.
- The law on completion of some legal acts (Law on notary’s office, law on real estate cadastre). The law aims to prevent financial pyramids and appropriation of investments of individuals. Amendments regulate the registration and mandatory authentification of contracts on investments in housing building, contracts on cesassion of related rights by notary. Also, it bans the payment of any fees by individual contracting side stipulated by the contract before being registered.
The Parliament has also adopted some decisions:
- Concerning the approval of the estimate of the Supreme Court of Justice, law courts and Superior Council of Magistracy for 2009: the estimate of SCJ will be 34,867,300 lei (16,619,700 lei in 2008); estimate of law courts will be 144,649,900 lei (92,816,500 lei in 2008); estimate of SCM will be 2,400,100 lei (3,381,300 lei in 2008).
Note by ADEPT: Although it claims to reform the financing of the justice, the document is just a formal approval of the rate coordinated beforehand with the Government, with necessities of the justice being much bigger than these amounts. In 2008 for example, the Ministry of Interior was allocated more than 745 million lei, SIS – 120 million lei, Prosecutor’s Office 80 million lei, Government Apparatus more than 158 million lei, NPBC TeleRadio-Moldova – 51 million lei (it demands more than 120 million lei for 2009), etc. According to researches in the area, the justice is allocated a little compared with the GDP, with Moldova registering smallest expenses for justice per capita in Europe (0.8 Euro).
- Approving the structure, maximum personnel and funding of the National Centre for the Protection of Personal Data. The centre will have 21 functionaries and the Government is due to find and foresee the necessary funds.
Note by ADEPT: the law on protection of personal data was adopted on February 15, 2007 and entered into force on July 27, 2007. The law was ineffective for more than one year because it did not include enough regulations on activity and financing of the centre. Nor the new amendments were clear enough, as they say that the centre will be funded from the state budget and other sources foreseen by legislation and the Government "will open the funding of the centre" without specifying any concrete share or date when the funding will begin. The state budget law for 2008 does not stipulate financing, but the centre will undergo transition measures even after the release of the funding, in particular, takeover of databases, setup of new information bases and systems, etc., and this situation will delay the application of the law enacted a year ago for an indefinite period.
- Concerning the participation of the National Army military in international humanitarian post-conflict in Iraq. It approves a 6-month participation of 20 military of the National Army serving under contract (16 bomb experts and 4 military officers) with individual equipment, munitions and weapons. Additional expenses for the training and participation of the contingent will account for about four million lei.
1.2. Parliamentary control. Statements
Reports on execution of 2007 budget
The report by the Ministry of Finance has assessed a good execution of the budget, but stressed certain faults. The report by the Chamber of Auditors was harsher, with this institution signalling many drawbacks in management of budgetary funds and public patrimony. The parliamentary opposition has described the report on execution of the budget as populist and aimed to mislead people. PCRM representatives consider that the reports reveal progresses made by the Government in 2007, cover positive results in implementing economic and social policies. At the same time, Chairman of the parliamentary commission for economic policy, budget and finances asked the Government to carefully consider the report by the Chamber of Auditors, make corrections and prevent other shortcomings in the future.
The Parliament has heard a report by the Audio-Visual Coordinating Council (CCA) and made a decision in this respect. Although opposition parliamentarians have bitterly criticised the CCA, the Parliament decision "takes notice of the report" and instructs the CCA to consider proposals by working bodies of the Parliament and lawmakers and to work out an action programme within two months "with the view to optimise its work and activity of broadcasters from country."
Speech by PACE president
The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Lluis Maria de Puig, has stated in an address to Moldovan parliamentarians that the state leadership and opposition in Moldova have the political willingness to implement commitments towards the Council of Europe. The PACE president stressed that reforms in the area of the rule of law, freedom of the media, anti-corruption fight shall be accelerated. The 2009 elections must be free and fair, as they will be a test of what Moldova has learned as democratic practice. The European official recommended Moldovan legislators to get the Venice Commission’s review on latest amendments to the electoral legislation concerning electoral threshold, electoral blocs and dual citizenship.
Note by ADEPT: The PACE president and parliamentary leadership have avoided tackling arrears from the Special legislative action plan on fulfilment of EC recommendations, though these drawbacks raise serious conflicts.
The faction representing the Our Moldova Alliance (OMA) has presented a declaration concerning situation of agriculture, accusing the parliamentary majority of avoiding studying the situation in the sector and lacking adequate policies to redress the situation.
The CDPP faction has released a statement concerning quality of mineral and drinking water sold on domestic market, asking the Government to conduct a legal expertise of documents on which basis the mineral water is attributed to a category, as well as to conduct an independent and fair survey of all mineral waters sold on Moldovan market.
Deputy Vladimir Filat, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova, has released statements concerning:
- Resolution of problems of former deported people, rehabilitation and retroceding of estates taken over by state during deportations;
- Refusal of President Voronin to attend the GUAM Summit;
- Activity of the new Government.
1 "Financing of justice in the Republic of Moldova", the Centre of Legal Researches and Policies, IDIS Viitorul, Chisinau, 2005.
2 The report by the Chamber of Auditors is available at www.ccrm.md/md/rapoarte/.
3 Under PD # 284/11.11.2005, the Parliament should adopt by mid-2006 new laws or amendments concerning the status of the Chisinau municipality; local public funds; Education Code; revision of the status and extended competences of the Prosecutor’s Office; the Election Code should cover proposals by the Venice Commission (concerning the electoral threshold, possibility to create regional parties, and others). The Parliament should also condemn the dismissal of the Comrat mayor by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia and investigate criminal charges brought against national and local opposition leaders, recommendations neglected in general.
2.1. Appointments. Dismissals
Mr. Viorel Zabolotnic was appointed advisor for Deputy Prime Minister.
Under a judicial decision, Mr. Gheorghe Radu was reinstated as senior state advisor for legal affairs and a previous governmental decision on his dismissal was abrogated. Under a governmental decision issued the same day, Mr. Gheorghe Radu was relieved from the post of senior state advisor for legal affairs on the basis of Article 28 (1) of the law on public service (as the public authority head was changed).
Note by ADEPT: Gheorghe Radu was advisor for legal affairs throughout mandate of premier Tarlev and his dismissal before the resignation of the cabinet of ministers was an abusive action for which the law court had to get involved.
Decision concerning transmission of an institution. The studio theatre S Ulitsi Roz and an unfinished building of the theatral high school are transmitted free of charge from property of the Chisinau municipality to the public ownership of the state.
Note by ADEPT: the document approved by the Government does not provide information about consent of the Municipal Council to cede the property, nor any information about the field concerned, value of real estates, etc. The Government had earlier made a decision to dispossess the Chisinau municipality of buildings of the municipal association Buciumul. Local authorities described this step as abusive, but governmental decisions (# 761 from 02.07.2007 and # 192 from 25.02.2008) are effective so far.
Decision on reconstruction of the Theatre Eugene Ionesco. Under the plan, the building of the Eugene Ionesco Theatre will be renovated in two rounds in 2008–2010. Building and renovation works will begin this year and budgetary funds worth three million lei have been allocated to renovate the show hall, engineering networks, heating station, roof and interior, while the proper building will be renovated next year. According to the expense estimate, the cost of the first renovation round will be about 12 million lei.
Note by ADEPT: The state has redeemed the building more than a year ago by paying over 32 million lei, and it transmitted it to the theatre as headquarters. Several sittings on reconstruction have been held, while the recent decision does not estimate real expenses for reconstruction, saying that the Ministry of Finance "will find funds" and allocate them to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism "accordingly to the presented expense estimate".
Decision approving the draft law on modification of the law concerning normative price and sale-purchase of land. It stipulates differentiated coefficients for the Chisinau and Balti municipalities compared with those for territories, depending on location (near customs stations, in district centres, villages).
Decisions approving strategies, concepts, plans:
- The 2008–2010 action plan on modernisation and optimisation of physical protection of facilities of vital importance and those posing an increasing risk against eventual terrorist attacks;
- The Development Plan of the state border infrastructure in 2009–2011.
Decision on allocation of funds. The Special Courier Service is allocated 150,000 lei to organise a sitting of the Coordinating council for intergovernmental connection via special envoys from CIS.
2.3. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
First 100 days of the new Government
In a press conferecne held over 100 days after its investiture, premier Zinaida Greceanii has stressed progresses, problems and plans, in particular:
- The structure of the cabinet of ministers was modified, so that to ensure a coherence between priorities of the programme and structure. Some amalgamations, reorganisations and optimisation have been operated in the CPA Reform context. Emphasis was wanted to be laid on combating bureaucracy in the decision-making process and improving the quality of the ruling act. The new structure has proved its advantages in three months of internal reorganisations; the European integration is the key priority of the Government, which focusses on implementing progresses of the EU-Moldova Action Plan and remedying factors which raise concern of European partners: ensuring high independence of the judiciary, human rights, freedom of the media, improving the investment climate. So far, an Internal Agenda of Priorities for the European Integration is being followed;
- The European Union supports efforts to adjust internal standards to European norms by providing financial and technical assistance;
- The 4th assessment of Moldova’s performances in PRGF with IMF will be approved soon and this will disburse the next tranche of about 17 million dollars;
- As regards external assistance, external assistance projects worth about 139 million dollars, of which 109 million dollars in unreimbursable assistance have been contracted or approved for Moldova in the past three months;
- In spite of unfavourable world macroeconomic evolutions, the macroeconomic situation in Moldova is under the strict control by authorities and there is not risk for the stable evolution in this area;
- The price rise is a problem, but the evolution of the Consumer Prime Index is under the permanent control of authorities and the inflation of about 16.9 percent recorded in the past 12 months should not discourage, as this is a secondary effect of the drought last year and regional trends. In order to handle the situation, the National Bank of Moldova has increased the basic rate up to 18.5 percent, raising the mandatory reserve for resources attracted in Moldovan lei and foreign currency;
- Salaries are on the rise, with the average monthly wage counting for 2,537 lei (approximately 257 dollars);
- Foreign direct investments accounted for about 2 billion dollars (1,966) in late March and they rose by 40 percent compared with the 1st quarter of 2007;
- The following important normative and legislative acts have been promoted among others: concerning the establishing of the governmental commission for the supervision of public acquisitions, the approval of the regulation on register of public patrimony; ongoing modifications to the criminal legislation (fight against trafficking in persons); harmonisation of the normative framework on protection of the child; approval of the methodology to establish the tariff for gas connection services; modification of the legal framework on patent-based entrepreneurship; approval of the national programme on economic training of youths;
- Certain progress has been made in bilateral relations with some countries: consolidation of economic relations with the Russian Federation; visit by Romanian foreign minister; consultations and negotiations with Ukraine, etc.
Moldova’s president has signed a decree on constitution of the commission for the elaboration of the national security strategy of Moldova. Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii was nominated Chairwoman of the commission and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European integration will be Deputy chairman. The commission consists of ministers, a parlamentary deputy, SIS director, prosecutor-general, ASM Chairperson, and the director of the European Institute of Political Studies in Moldova, Mr. Viorel Cibotaru. The commission shall draft the strategy by October 1, 2008.
Two decrees signed by Vladimir Voronin approves the renunciation of Moldovan citizenship by 244 persons.
Granting of state awards:
- The Honour Order was awarded to Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc over his 50th anniversary for long labour;
- The Labour Glory Order was awarded to Tudor Ctitor, director of the state enterprise Combinatul Poligrafic Chisinau;
- The Order of the Republic was awarded to Iurie Tulei, director-general of S.A. Nistru-Olanesti based in the district of Stefan Voda.
3.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Renovation of the Wine Enterprise Milestii Mici
The chief of state has chaired a sitting on reconstruction of the state-owned enterprise Combinatul de Vinuri de Calitate Milestii Mici and presented the final concept of the project Cultural Wine Centre on renovation and modernisation of the winery. The renovation and modernisation project will be implemented in 2009–2011, with projecting works being planned to be over by the end of this year and renovation works will begin in early 2009. Vladimir Voronin reiterated the importance of successfully renovating the enterprise, which is part of the national treasure of Moldova and a biggest underground wine city in the world.
Reorganisation of scientific agro-food institutions
A sitting on reorganisation of scientific agro-food institutions has considered the concept of ongoing reorganisation in the sector, accordingly to which 16 scientific institutions will be reorganised through amalgamation into 5 optimised structures: the Scientific-Practical Institute of Phytotechny, the Scientific-Practical Institute of Horticulture and Food Technologies, the Institute of Pedology, Agro-Chemistry and Soil Protection N. Dimo, the Scientific-Practical Institute of Biotechnologies in Livestock and Veterinary Medicine, the Institute of Agricultural Equipment Mecagro. The chief of state reiterated the priority of being more efficient in elaborating new sorts and highly productive hybrids of crops and animals after the reorganisation process, both for internal needs and export.
Reorganisation of the Academy of Public Administration
Vladimir Voronin has convoked a sitting on activity of the Academy of Public Administration (APA) advising the Moldovan president and development prospects of this institution. It was stressed the need of upgrading the institutional and organisational functioning system of the academy in order to optimise its work. The chief of state has particularly called for a better education and stricter selection of candidates for education. He also stressed the need of studying problems in the field of functioning of public administration system.
Meeting with Avigdor Lieberman
Moldova’s president has received Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the party Our Home Israel (Yisrael Beyteinu), chairman of the Israel-Moldova parliamentary friendship group. They discussed latest socio-political evolutions in Moldova, including those related to the Transnistrian settlement process and European integration. The sides tackled issues regarding the current stage of Moldova-Israel relations and perspective to develop the dialogue between Moldova and Israel, with PresidentVoronin emphasising the contribution of Chisinau-born leader Avigdor Lieberman to strengthening and developing Moldova-Israel cooperation. The Moldovan president has awarded the Honour Order to Mr. Liberman at the end of the meeting.
GUAM summit discusses frozen conflicts
At the GUAM summit in Batumi on July 1, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called for a correct approach able "to help communication, not blackmailing of forces from regions facing "frozen conflicts". The frozen conflicts pose risk and destabilisation factors in the regions concerned. Ukraine calls for the priority of territorial integrity of states. According to Yushchenko, "a great progress was made in settling the Transnistrian conflict, as countries welcome the settlement plan released by Ukraine. We have a way to follow in order to settle this frozen conflict. Now, we aim to restart the "5+2" negotiations as soon as possible and all further efforts by Ukraine will aim to hold the first sitting after a long break." The Moldovan president did not attend the GUAM summit to be persuaded that this organisation is promoting positive ideas for Moldova.
Details about Moldovan project on conflict resolution
According to the Transnistrian electronic publication Novy Region, during Transnistrian Dialogues organised by the Association for Foreign Policy in Moldova, Moldovan Minister of Reintegration Vasile Sova has revealed details of eventual offers of Chisinau to Transnistria, with the view to settle the conflict, in particular:
- Transnistria will be a republic as part of the Republic of Moldova, it will have a constitution;
- The Supreme Soviet of Transnistria will have the right to legislative initiative in the Parliament of Moldova;
- Transnsitria will be represented 1/5 in Moldovan Parliament, although the number of voters from the region counts for 1/6 of voters from the right bank of the Dniester (there are 400,000 voters in Transnsitria and 2.4 million in Moldova);
- Transnistria will be recognised the right to become subject of international law, should Moldova lose its independence;
- The integrated state – the Republic of Moldova – will be neutral, demilitarised;
- Ownership of those who have earlier privatised facilities in Transnistria will be recognised;
- Transnistria will not have the right to veto, but there will be a system of reciprocal guarantees confirmed by international participants in the settlement process;
- Guarantees will be extended on consolidation of all branches of social-economic activity aimed to ensure the reunification of the two banks of the Dniester as soon as possible;
- Security measures shall be guaranteed so that Chisinau and Tiraspol be unable to take any actions against each other at the initial stage.
According to Minister Sova, the Moldovan project is based on "package proposals" submitted to participants in the "5+2" f in order to be studied. However, the way the project will be implemented is unclear so far. Minister Sova said that Moldovan authorities will propose the convocation of participants in the "5+2" format to make a decision on this project. Of course, such a decision shall be made by consensus in order to be effective. Expected results are unclear. On one hand, "the project is expected to suit majority of citizens from both banks of the Dniester." This would be possible by holding referenda, which would fail forever should it be turned out. On the other hand, legislative bodies of the conflicting sides should adopt the status. In the event of a positive vote, the Parliament of Moldova would vote a law to recognise results of privatisation in Transnistria. In this respect, it is unclear what legislative bodies should vote – the confirmation of results of eventual referendums or the "legal status of Transnsitria." Thus, one may suppose that the draft status of Transnistria has been elaborated, but competences of the sides are unknown so far. Given negative reactions by Transnistrian leaders, Transnistria was proposed a status similar to the one of Crimea, and it would be enforced accordingly to the 2005 plan by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
Transnistrian authorities undermine confidence-building actions
In the context of talks regarding the necessity to consolidate confidence-building actions between the two banks of the Dniester, the holding of the Moldova’s Post Office vehicle carrying currency to pay pensions to residents of Chisinau-controlled villages at the Transnistrian customs office in Dubasari on July 2 seems to be a deliberate provocation aimed to undermine the settlement process. The vehicle and currency were released on July 10. This example is an indicator that the process of approaching positions of the parties in order to accept the project revealed by Minister Sova is far from being optimistic. In general, things continue to develope in a very strange manner. On one hand, the GUAM summit has discussed the problem of "frozen conflicts" including the Transnistrian one, without participation of Moldovan officials of corresponding ranking. On the other hand, Russian and Transnistrian diplomacies focus on preparing a meeting between Transnistrian leader and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on background of challenges aimed to demonstrate that conditions to approve the Moldovan plan are not optimal.
European Commission to provide Moldova with assistance worth 40 million euros
On July 2, Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii and Marcus Conaro, Head of the EuropeAid Directorate of the European Commission, signed four funding agreements which will provide Moldova with grants worth 40 million euros overall for the next three years. The assistance will be provided within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of the European Commission, which substitutes the former TACIS programme. The EC assistance will be directed to four programmes: budgetary support for reforming the social sector (21 million euro); impoving border management (11 million euros); technical assistance and twinning (6 million euros); supporting civil society in the Transnistrian region (2 million euros).
European Integration Agenda. Priorities for 2008
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration has recently published on its website a list of priorities for 2008, which will be the basis of the European Integration Agenda of Moldova instead of the EU-Moldova Action Plan expired in February 2008. According to the document, the list of priorities covers 5 areas in which Moldova has made more than modest progress, as for the latest progress report by the European Commission. These areas are: the rule of law, freedom of the media, human rights, anti-corruption fight and investment climate. However, it assures that reforms in areas of successful cooperation with the EU (transborder cooperation, migration, asylum, etc.) will be implemented in continuation in 2008, but on the basis of action plans of competent institutions. In addition, the document includes an action plan to speed up reforms in the five problematic areas.
Note by ADEPT: Some actions stipulated by the European Integration Agenda are generalised and they often do not cover the real problems of the area concerned (for example, actions aimed at conolidating the editorial independence of TeleRadio-Moldova or actions to ensure respect for human rights, etc).
First round of informal consultations on new Moldovan-community legal framework
Chisinau hosted on July 8, 2008 the first round of informal consultations at level of experts with representatives of the European Commission. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not provide any details about the results of consultations, but they aimed to share visions regarding general principles and objectives of the new Moldovan-community legal framework which will exceed the present Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
France takes over EU Council Presidency
On July 1, France took over the EU Council Presidency for July-December 2008. The programme of the French EU Council Presidency, which French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented to the European Parliament on July 10, 2008, will focus on settling problems in the following ares: 1) energy and climate change (by encouraging the adoption of legislative initiatives on reduction of CO2 emissions by 20 percent until 2020); 2) migration (by harmonising migration policies of 27 EU member states); 3) agriculture; 4) security and defence (by consolidating the military capacity of EU). In addition, France will look for solutions to the institutional crisis in EU occured after Ireland has turned down the Lisbon treaty and worsened even more by statements of Poland and German presidents to postpone the promulgation of the law on ratification of this treaty. Consolidating the international EU role is an unchanged priority of the precedent EU Council presidencies and French chair. In this respect, France focusses on the Medditeranean region and Western Balkans and less on the eastern dimension in terms of relations with EU neighbours.
Note by ADEPT: The Republic of Moldova is not even mentioned in the chapter dedicated to plans of the French presidency regarding the eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The "frozen" relations between Moldova and Romania have "thawed" a little in the period concerned, with the official visit by Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu to Chisinau on July 7 being a proof. During his visit, the Romanian minister has discussed with Moldovan Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan and President Vladimir Voronin. According to presidential and ministerial press releases, the talks focussed on basic aspects of bilateral cooperation, cooperation on European and regional dimension between Moldova and Romania, and Transnistrian conflict. As regards the European integration of Moldova, Lazar Comanesu assured that Romania will continue supporting Moldova’s European integration requests "in quality of equal partner exclusively" and it will do its best to make the EU finish reflections on the new Moldova-EU legal framework by the end of 2008. Also, the sides tackled problematic issues between the two countries: the signing of the border treaty and basic treaty between Moldova and Romania, but other details in this respect are unavailable. However, the Foreign Ministry has said in a press release shortly after Comanescu’s visit to Chisinau that the Romanian official and President Voronin have agreed on opening of Moldovan and Romanian consulates in Iasi and Cahul in a near future. It noted that consulates in Balti and Constanta will open depending on "reciprocal readiness of the sides to finish negotiations and get ready to sign the Moldova-Romania state border treaty, which will open real perspectives for the further signing of the Convention on small border traffic." The ministry noted that it has sent a report on these topics to the Romanian Foreign Ministry.
Note by ADEPT. The ministerial press release does not make clear if the same context is needed to open consulates in Iasi and Cahul.
Romania simplifies transit regime
Romania introduces a simplified transit regime starting July 11, 2008. This decision comes as Romania is applying Decision 582/2008/EC and Decision 586/2008/EC of the European Parliament and Council from June 17, 2008. Thus, citizens of third countries who are required visas will be allowed to transit Romania for maximum 5 days without being required Romanian transit visas B:
- If they hold the following documents issued by EU member states which apply the Schengen acquis (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Hungary), as well as by Denmark, Iceland, Norway: "uniform visa" Schengen; "long-term visa" Schengen; "stay permit".
- If they hold a valid short-term visa, a long-term visa or a stay permit issued by Bulgaria and Cyprus.
- If they hold a valid stay permit issued by Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
Visit by PACE President Lluis Maria de Puig
The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Lluis Maria de Puig, was on a formal visit to Moldova on July 6–9, 2008 and had meetings with President Vladimir Voronin, Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii, Speaker Marian Lupu, Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, representatives of civil society, and addressed the Parliament. Unlike other visits by PACE delegations, the visit of Lluis Maria de Puig was marked by a less diplomatic speech, criticising the slow democratic reforms and existing practices which halt the functioning of the judicial system and prosecutor-general’s office, independence of the media and true local autonomy and efficient fight against corruption. The PACE president stressed among others, while addressing the Moldovan Parliament that 13 years of Council of Europe monitoring on Moldova is a long enough period to implement consistent democratic reforms, and Moldova should already succeed to the post-monitoring stage which would provide it with real chances to join the European Union. PACE backs Moldova’s European integration option, but the accession to EU will depend much on Moldova’s political willingness. Therefore, Lluis Maria de Puig continued, Moldovan authorities shall insist in implementing European values and standards and accelerate democratic reforms. In this context, the PACE president stressed that the next parliamentary elections in 2009 will be another test to prove the existence of a democratic system in Moldova, and these elections shall be free and fair both on and after elections by ensuring a favourable social and political climate for a free and genuine choice of elector. The Transnistrian conflict was another topic tackled during the visit by PACE president to Chisinau. PACE insists on resolution of this problem by respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Moldova and resuming the 5+2 negotiation process. At the same time, PACE recommends that any proposed solution shall be minutely considered and discussed with all participating sides from Moldova, with international mediators and observers.
On July 1, 2008, the European Court of Human Rights sentenced Moldova in the Flux (nr. 5) vs. Moldova case for violation of freedom of expression. The Court told Moldova to pay 185 euros in pecuniary damages, 3,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages and 1,800 euros in costs and expenses.
On July 7, 2008, the Strasbourg-based Court turned down an application by Moldovan Government to resend to the Big Chamber the February 12, 2008 ECHR decision on Oferta Plus SRL vs. Moldova. Therefore, the February 12, 2008 ECHR decision which obliges Moldova to pay 2,535,104 euros to Oferta Plus SRL until October 7, 2008 is effective.
Republic of Moldova – GUAM
On July 1, 2008 Batumi, Georgia, hosted the 3rd summit of the Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM (ODED – GUAM), which brought together presidents of Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan and participants from 25 countries and international organisations. Moldova was represented by interior minister. The summit adopted the Batumi declaration "GUAM – Unifying East Europe" signed by presidents of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Poland. The statement reiterates the accession of states to democratic values, human rights and freedoms, rule of law, maintenance of spiritual and cultural heritage of people and consolidation of tolerance.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Democratic standards: before or after…
Igor Botan, 15 July 2008
The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Lluis Maria de Puig, has addressed members of the Moldovan Parliament confirming some facts that Moldovan authorities know very well from other pan-European institutions, E.U. and U.S. officials