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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year VII, issue 137, 16 April – May 1, 2009
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
Note by ADEPT: Although the Constitutional Court confirmed on April 22 the legal election of Moldova’s Parliament, the Government did not resign before May 1, as stipulated by Article 103 of the Constitution.
1.1. Appointments. Dismissals
The Government has given green light to the recalling of certain diplomats:
- Natalia Gherman was recalled as Moldovan Ambassador to Sweden;
- Veaceslav Madan was recalled as Moldovan Ambassador to Bulgaria;
- Ivan Filimon was recalled as Moldovan Ambassador to Belarus;
- Igor Corman was relieved from the office of Moldovan Ambassador to Germany;
- Lidia Gutu was recalled as Moldovan Ambassador to Romania;
- Valeriu Bobutac was recalled as Moldovan Ambassador to Hungary;
- Iulian Grigorita was recalled as Consul-General of Moldova to Germany.
Ghenadie Minascurta was nominated Government’s representative to the Marculesti Free International Airport.
Mihail Lupu was relieved from the office of director-general of the Drug Agency "upon his demand". Earlier, Moldovan president had demanded the dismissal of the agency administration for non-professionalism.
Natalia Catrinescu was relieved from the office of head of the policy and external assistance coordination directorate of the Government Apparatus upon her demand.
Decision approving the rules for issuing the certificate recording the child who stays in country. The certificate shall be issued by social assistance and family protection services/departments at the request of parent/custodian (curator) who is a citizen of Moldova and gets temporarily employed abroad. The parent shall attach to the application for this certificate copies of identity cards (own and of the spouse); a copy of the marriage/divorce/death certificate; a copy of the child’s birth certificate; the certificate on family members and the certificate confirming the capacity of the parent who will look after the child to fulfil his/her parent rights and obligations, issued by tutelary authority.
Decision concerning the transfer and capital repairing of the Parliament headquarters. The Parliament building located in 105 Stefan cel Mare si Sfant Avenue, Chisinau municipality is transferred from administration of the directorate on administration of the Parliament buildings to the Ministry of Construction and Area Development throughout capital repairing works. The ministry will organise the capital building repair.
Decision concerning the social-economic development prospect of the rayons of Straseni, Nisporeni and Calarasi. Given the specific soil and relief particularities, traditional occupations of residents from the rayons of Straseni, Nisporeni and Calarasi, as well as in order to coordinate actions aimed at social-economic development of these administrative territorial units, the Government has established a commission in charge with coordinating actions aimed at social-economic development of localities from the rayons concerned. The commission will study specifics, particularities and development level of the administrative-territorial units concerned and based on the research findings will work out and table to the Government a special social-economic development programme for these localities.
Decision approving the immigration rate. Moldova will accept 1,300 immigrants in 2009 for labour purposes.
Decision approving some regulations:
- Concerning the functioning of summer and recovery camps for children and teenagers;
- Concerning conditions of state funding of mediation services for criminal lawsuits.
The state commission in charge with elucidating the causes, conditions and consequences of the April 7–8, 2009 events was created under a presidential decree and Communist parliamentarian Vladimir Turcan was nominated to head it. The commission is made of members of Parliament, acting Government, representatives of the academia, student organisations and the media. Under the decree, the conclusions of the commission will be released before May 5, 2009 and will be considered at a parliamentary sitting.
Note by ADEPT: The conclusions were not released so far.
Moldova’s president has signed a decree concerning the convocation of the newly-elected Parliament on May 5, 2009.
Some Moldovan ambassadors were nominated under presidential decrees:
- Lidia Gutu, Moldovan ambassador to Bulgaria;
- Valeriu Bobutac, Moldovan ambassador to Belarus;
- Sergiu Stati, Moldovan ambassador to Turkey.
The Honour Order was awarded to Marc Tkaciuk, former presidential adviser for political affairs, and Fiodor Capatina, chairman of the Public Association Chernobyl Society in Moldova.
The Labour Glory Order was awarded to:
- Vladimir Bogdan, senior adviser of the presidential document service;
- Oxana Domenti, presidential adviser for social development affairs;
- Viorelia Moldovan-Batrinac, presidential adviser for culture, education and science;
- Alina Russu, head of the Directorate General;
- Maria Suharschi, senior adviser;
- Ludmila Borgula, member of the Parliament;
- Boris Stepa, member of the Parliament;
- Damian Munteanu, first deputy chairman of the Council of Moldovan Organisation of Veterans.
The Civic Merit medal was awarded to:
- Igor Vremea, presidential adviser for legal affairs, head of the directorate on law and public relations;
- Serghei Sirbu, deputy chief of the directorate on law and public relations (PCRM representative to electoral bodies);
- Alim Afonin, member of Parliament;
- Larisa Zimin, member of Parliament;
- Some employees of presidential administrative, petition and hearing, media services.
2.2. Sittings. Decisions. Statements
Consequences of the April 7, 2009 protests
Moldovan president convoked a sitting on April 15, with participation of heads of the Parliament, Government, decision makers of some security and law institutions, and discussed the situation after the violent protests held in Chisinau downtown on April 7. The chief of state reported conversations with European and international officials focussed on violent demonstrations in Chisinau, consequences of the unrest and actions taken by Moldovan authorities to overcome them. Vladimir Voronin instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the parliamentary commission for foreign policy and European integration to use all available possibilities in order to present the real state of things in Moldova to the EU heads of state, European and international institutions, OSCE and PACE above all. The Interior Ministry, Prosecutor-General’s Office and other law enforcement bodies were asked to work out an ample and in-depth analysis of the April 6–7 developments in Chisinau, stages of organisation and conduct of the events concerned. As well, the chief of state instructed competent authorities to work out and implement adequate actions aimed to prevent such situations in future and annihilate causes and conditions for anti-state activities, massive and criminal disturbances.
On April 15 evening, the chief of state addressed the population on television, signalling the existence of some forces capable to sacrifice democratic institutions, respect for law, Moldova’s European option and statehood for the sake of their ambitions to take the political power. Vladimir Voronin accused the Romanian leadership of biased and inopportune actions against Moldova, but acknowledged the common history and the fact that the two nations speak the same language, despite the different names. At the same time, the chief of state invited all participants in the political process to resume a civilised dialogue and demanded law enforcement bodies "to begin the complete amnesty and cease any charges against participants in the street protests," except for representatives of the underworld and recidivists.
Working, information and planning sittings
Although the mandate of chief of state is formally over, the Moldovan president continued to convoke sittings which considered previous actions and set new tasks of the Government for the next period, inclusively annual. In particular, he convoked sittings on:
- The struggle against smuggling;
- The gasification of the country;
- The reintroduction of the Cainari rayon;
- The fulfilment of electors’ wishes;
- The reconstruction and renovation of cultural-historical heritage;
- The operation of the Marculesti Free International Airport;
- The 65th anniversary of the liberation of Moldova;
- The building and repairing of national roads etc.
Crisis goes ahead…
Statistics clearly reveal that the GDP has decreased by about two percentage points in the 1st quarter of 2009, compared with late December 2008, and the year is just at the beginning. The industrial output decreased by about 26 percent in the 1st quarter. Exports and imports dropped by about 20 percent and 30 percent respectively in the period concerned and, therefore, taxes and fees collected from export-import operations to the state treasury and are the lion’s share in the budget have fallen as well. Even more, almost all forms of transport have suffered losses of more than 50 percent, and the retailing and service sectors experience a fall of deals and operations compared with three months or half a year ago.
Even more, IMF has raised concern about situation of the banking and budgetary system during the April 22–24 mission to Chisinau. If adding strains on political scene, then altogether could have a dramatic impact on Moldovan economy this year. Statistics on unemployment are unavailable so far and it is hard to provide statistical evidence, but given the number of people on technical holidays or dismissed, the unemployment rate is on the rise.
IMF forecasts that these indicators will continue to worsen. In particular, the dramatic impact of the crisis on Moldovan economy will be of even minus 5 percent for this year and stagnation in 2010, and a rise of budgetary deficit from 1 up to more than 10 percent, as well as of the external debt. The revision or even reduction of public expenses (as the Government has promised higher wages and pensions) and state debt when the population is angry because of social inequalities and is afraid of the impact of global crisis would be the main challenge for the Government. There could be more short-term negative effects, but long-term opportunities are more uncertain. A future fall of the country rating would enhance the cost of foreign funding and influence foreign investments.
Perhaps the IMF along with other donors and investors will support Moldova should the latter have a responsible governance, and this would mean at least the reintroduction of income tax for legal entities (though the productive sector faces a deplorable situation) and the freezing of salary rises for sure. These are not the best solutions, but they are the only possible in the current conjuncture. Another solution to enhance budgetary incomes would be the privatisation of some enterprises, but putting them on sale in crisis times would be a worse solution since little of those put on sale last year have been privatised. A special attention shall be granted to the strengthening of financial system, so that small and medium businesses shall be provided access to funding for trade and investments, and this would eventually bring new jobs.
2. Banking system
Domestic banks experience effects of crisis…
Effects of the economic crisis made many domestic banks stop granting credits to individuals and even to economic agents. The main explanation that the financial-banking sector has become much more reticent over granting credits would be that many companies, particularly in building sector are incapable to refund the loans. Even more, some banks have stopped crediting personal needs (consumption) and mortgage. Therefore, the system could be short of liquidity, though the main bank indicators show the contrary.
In addition, much liquidity of banks was made of remittances from Moldovans working abroad, or since transfers have decreased (by about 60 million dollars compared with the 1st quarter of 2008), the banks could have less currency in portfolios. On the other hand, citizens do not crowd to demand credits from banks. This situation is particularly due to the current economic conjuncture (such as potential depreciation of leu versus main reference currencies). In other terms, if someone borrows for example 11,000 lei, it will finally reimburse at least 13,000 or 14,000 lei (and the interest) in case of depreciation.
Effects of restricted crediting…
The consumer power of population will fall down given the slowing crediting. Thus, price rise pressures are expected to slow down should the monetary policy keep being restrictive in 2009, too. This happens despite the deflation recorded in the 1st quarter of 2009. Fewer loans would mean a smaller demand for imported consumption goods. Imports would be smaller which means a reduction of trade deficit, but also potential declines of budgetary incomes, so that budgetary expenses could be affected. Finally, fewer credits (inclusively for economic agents) would reduce the consumption and implicitly the GDP and imports. Limited crediting with a direct impact on population’s consumption will be felt beginning with 2009 and could slow down the economic growth or even the recession, especially in building and service sectors.
3. Labour market
Statistics say wages are on the rise…
According to NBS accounts, the average monthly wage of a worker in domestic economy amounted to 2,569.1 lei (227 dollars) in January-March 2009 and increased by 12 percent compared with the similar period of last year (just in nominal terms and much below the 300-dollar average promised by authorities). The real wage has grown by 9 percent in the period concerned. The average salary in budgetary sector was 2,208.6 lei (195 dollars) and increased by 23 percent compared with the same period of last year, while the medium wage in the real sector of economy accounted for 2,782.4 lei (246 dollars) and increased by 9 percent compared with the similar period of the last year.
A worker earned 2,643.7 lei on average in March. In comparison with March 2008, the average wage has increased by 12 percent and the real salary by 10 percent. The average wage in budgetary sector amounted to 2,305.5 lei and increased by 24 percent, compared with the similar period of last year. The average wage in the real rector accounted for 2,840.9 lei and increased by 8 percent, compared with the similar period of last year. As well, NBS accounts show that minimum consumer basket in 2008 was worth more than 1,368 lei, and increased by over 24 percent compared with 2007.
Attitude towards parliamentary elections in Republic of Moldova
On April 2, 2009, the coordinating council of nongovernmental organisations and parties from Transnistria made of 30 organisations addressed an appeal to citizens from the region, asking them to boycott the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova. Signatories accused the Moldovan authorities of nationalism and of "not regretting the crimes committed against Transnistrians, who follow another direction – Russia – which takes care of our small state like a mother."
Number of electors from Transnistria who participated in the parliamentary elections on April 5, 2009:
|Polling station||Locality||Number of participants in elections
|No. 49||Sanatauca village||72|
|No. 3||Rezina city||558|
|No. 4||Cocieri village||507|
|No. 6||Dorotcaia village||588|
|No. 40||Varnita village||1556|
|No. 41||Varnita village||852|
|No. 33||Hagimus village||120|
|No. 27||Firladeni village||25|
|No. 23||Copanca village||76|
|No. 23||Rascaieti village||83|
According to Transnistria’s mouthpiece Olvia-press, the attempt of Moldovan authorities to open a polling station for the parliamentary elections in the village of Corjova (the native village of Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin), which is located in the security zone and Moldovan authorities, on the one hand and Transnistrian administration, on the other hand claim to be under their jurisdiction, was a provocation of the Chisinau leadership. The Transnistrian news agency reported that on April 5 at 07.00 a.m. before the opening of the polling station concerned, a protest meeting was held under the flags of Transnistria and Russia, with participants carrying slogans "No to Illegal Elections!", "No to Nationalism, Yes to Peace Negotiations!" Before the opening of voting, some demonstrators broke into the polling station and confiscated the ballot box. Members of the Joint Control Commission (CUC) on behalf of Ukraine, Moldova and OSCE Mission came to the scene to clarify the situation.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office of Moldova has filed criminal charges relating to the conduct of elections in Corjova. On that occasion, the CUC co-chairman on behalf of Transnistria, Oleg Beleacov, said that the Prosecutor’s Office decision is political, since the Corjova village is under Transnistria’s jurisdiction. He noted that a criminal case in this respect should be filed by the Transnistrian leadership, since the Moldovan authorities committed an illegality in the eastern region.
Reactions of the Transnistrian media and authorities to political crisis in the Republic of Moldova
The political crisis in the Republic of Moldova was widely covered in the Transnistrian region. Major conclusions released by Transnistrian propaganda makers were limited to statements such as "what has happened in Chisinau on April 6–7 after the parliamentary elections confirms one more time the right way of Transnistria’s independence from the Republic of Moldova." A special emphasis in covering the Chisinau developments was laid on the fact that some demonstrators carried slogans "We Are Romanians!" and the fact that flags of the European Union and Romania were installed on the stormed buildings of the Parliament and Presidency of Moldova. Transnistrian propagandists did their best to extend their conclusions on Moldova’s future – "the youths who came to spontaneous protests have pro-Romania visions and are supported by pro-Romania political forces. If not now, the Republic of Moldova will unite with Romania in future… Following the crisis, President Voronin has fortified his positions inside Moldova, but lost a lot on the country reintegration dimension. The reintegration of the country is impossible on background of such a strong "Romanian factor" capable to organise a "coup d’etat" in Chisinau, as said by President Voronin."
According to the deputy security (MGB) minister of Transnistria, Valeri Yunevich, "the team of the special subdivision DELTA of the Transnistrian MGB was put on alert with the view to prevent eventual provocations".
The Transnistrian authorities have also kept a tight hold on the "Romanian factor" in assessing the April 6–7 events. According to Transnistrian foreign minister Vladimir Yastrebceak, no "chromatic revolution" took place in Chisinau, as such revolutions are peaceful: "that was the manifestation of the
"Romanian factor" which indicates very clearly that the Moldovan young people are ready to go to barricades for the Romanisation ideas… In these circumstances, strengthening the independence is the best option for Transnistria… The union with Romania is, however, the future of the Republic of Moldova." In the same context, Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov stated to the Interfax agency that he "does not have anything else to discuss with the acting Chisinau authorities after the April 6–7 events: "the international community could realise who it has to deal with. What to discuss with a government which conflicts with own people? Does anybody believe that this government could protect the Transnistrians against the nationalists?" These attitudes reveal that the Moldovan authorities have done a serious disservice to the country reintegration process by invoking the "Romanian factor" as main reason of the April 6–7 violence. Or, on the contrary, invoking the "Romanian factor" is regarded as an excuse for the incapacity to settle the conflict, and this fact seems credible in the light of signing of the Barvikha Declaration.
Jumping at the opportunity of the political destabilisation in Chisinau, Transnistrian political circles take demonstrative actions to estrange themselves from the Republic of Moldova and come closer to Russia. Thus, lawmakers on behalf of the Obnovlenie Party led by speaker Yevgeni Shevchiuk have released a legislative initiative to modify the law on state symbols. The draft proposes the institutionalisation of the "national flag" in the region besides the "state flag" (former MSSR flag), which would be identical to the one of the Russian Federation. This initiative is based on results of the September 17, 2006 referendum, at which 97 percent of the population would have called for the independence of Transnistria and its further accession to Russia.
Efforts to resume the negotiation process
Vienna hosted "3+2" consultations (without the participation of Moldovan and Transnistrian representatives) on April 28, 2009. Participants in the consultations on behalf of Russia, Ukraine, OSCE, US and EU made the conclusion that the "5+2" negotiations should restart. As well, they stressed the importance of contacts between the conflicting parties at all levels, inclusively expert groups.
On April 29, 2009, the outgoing President Vladimir Voronin stated during a TV interview that "the problem of territorial integrity of the country is of utmost importance for the Moldovan leadership." He stressed that "in the post-electoral situation some petty politicians are trying to play their card, inclusively with regard to the Transnistrian problem… But the resolution of this problem should not be connected to the events emerged in early April. We must make progress in the Transnistrian settlement process. And everybody must do its work including politicians and Parliament in the current situation… The analysis in Vienna of prospects of starting the negotiation process in a complete format, for the first time after many years cheers and encourages us very much." According to Voronin "the country leadership will follow the earlier built policy to settle the Transnistrian conflict."
On April 30, Minister of Reintegration Vasilii Sova had meetings with the Special Representative of the European Union to Moldova, Mr. Kalman Miszei, the head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Mr. Philip Remler, and the U.S. Ambassador, Mr. Asif Chaudhry, and exchanged opinions regarding the Transnistrian settlement. Minister Sova stressed the willingness to continue consultations in diverse configurations with the purpose to prepare the "5+2" meetings and organise a seminar in June on demilitarisation and strengthening of military confidence. In the context, Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov and Tiraspol foreign minister Vladimir Yastrebciak have told meetings with representatives of mediators and international observers that the "5+2" format is consultative and aims to provide a framework for the exchange of opinions, not for making decisions, which rest with the exclusive competence of conflicting parties.
Conflict of leading branches in Transnistria
On the background of political crisis in the Republic of Moldova, Transnistrian leaders may afford proving the democratic nature of political competition in the region. Despite the increasing competition, developments in Transnistria seem to have a positive meaning on background of events in the Republic of Moldova. On April 15, 2009, members of the Transnistrian Supreme Soviet passed in the first reading some amendments to the constitution, giving green light to "the initiative of the 17 lawmakers" (overall, there are 43 members of the Supreme Soviet) who opened the modification procedure. Most of the 17 members represent the faction of the Obnovlenie Party led by speaker Yevgeni Shevchiuk (Vasilii Moraru, Victor Guzun, Piotr Pasat, Grigorii Diacenco, Liubomir Ribeak, Serghei Babenco, Vladimir Bodnar, Claudia Trescova, Iurii Sporis, Veaceslav Tobuh, Olga Gucalenco, Ilona Tiureaeva, Anatolii Dirun, Ilia Vasiliev, Serghei Ceban, Anton Onufrienco and Galina Antiufeeva). In particular, the amendments call for:
- The suppression of the office of deputy president;
- The obligation of the cabinet of ministers to present reports both to the president and to the legislature;
- The obligation of the president to address messages to the legislature every year;
- The election by the legislature with 2/3 votes of a president in case of vacancy. The interim president will run this office until remediation of causes of this state or until presidential elections, but he/her will be restricted from participation.
The draft amendments to the Transnistrian constitution were bitterly criticised by parties and public organisations affiliated to Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov. Before the voting, on April 10, a civic forum took place and brought together more than 90 nongovernmental organisations and political parties (Patriotic Party of Transnistria led by Smirnov’s son; the branch of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party affiliated to the Russian party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky; "Vointa Poporului" Party affiliated to the Russian party of Sergei Baburin).
Igor Smirnov and the cabinet of ministers had a very negative reaction to the "initiative of the 17". Smirnov recommended the Supreme Soviet to postpone the voting in the first reading and to raise the initiative concern for wide public debates. His arguments envisaged the violation of the "separation of powers" principle for the possible final adoption of amendments. As well, Smirnov hinted that the amendments target against deputy president Alexandr Koroliov, who could succeed him. Asked by Smirnov’s adepts why lawmakers hurry up to adopt these amendments, the latter assured that they are doing so to harmonise the legislative framework of the Transnistrian region with the one of Russia. The conclusion drawn by Smirnov’s supporters was that the Supreme Soviet speaker wants to turn the presidential republic into a semi-presidential republic in a voluntary manner. They fear that such transformations are inadmissible in the current situation and the presidential regime has proved its efficiency. Taking part in the debates before the voting of constitutional amendments was Igor Smirnov as well. Although, Baron de Montesquieu was often quoted, the Russian Constitution was cited more. It was proved that both Smirnov and Shevciuk understand the adjustment of Transnistrian legislation to Russian laws the way their like. As a sign of protest that the Transnistrian legislature did not accept their objections, Smirnov and members of his cabinet of ministers left the sitting hall. However, before quitting the hall Smirnov threatened to hold a referendum on this issue.
Involvement of associative sector in dispute of leading branches
The political competition between political forces led by speaker Yevgeni Shevciuk and Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov has extended on the civic area, too. The Patriotic Party of Transnistria (PPT) headed by Oleg Smirnov, the son of Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov, expressed concern about possibility of building two parallel structures called Public Chambers in the region. PPT claims that it proposed in January the constitution of the Public Chamber (like the one of the Russian Federation), and the Obnovlenie Party of speaker Shevchiuk came with the same initiative a month later. On the other hand, the Coordinating Council of public organisations and political parties proposed on March 5 not to build the Public Chamber but to revive the Public Council established by Igor Smirnov in June 2007. According to PPT, Shevchiuk and Smirnov should set up a joint working group to agree on this issue, so that not to discredit the idea on civic forum and Public Chamber. PPT explained its vision on the role of Public Chamber, which should follow the example of the Russian chamber in order to be efficient. For this purpose, the Public Chamber should:
- be made both of nominated and elected members;
- hold enough levers to operate the civic control on public institutions;
- participate in the legislative process.
The civic forum of Transnistria took place on April 10 and brought together representatives of 92 NGOs and a number of political parties, which called upon the Supreme Soviet not to vote the amendments to the constitution and to refrain from changing the election system. Thus, the balance of forces in the region is the following: a parliamentary majority consolidated around speaker Yevgeni Shevchiuk on one hand and the administration of Igor Smirnov supported by a number of civic organisations and minuscule political parties, but especially by key media outlets from the region on the other hand. For this reason, Smirnov and his adherents seek a referendum on modification of constitution and election system.
Social-economic evolutions in Transnistria
The Transnistrian ministry of economy has published the list of economic agents which controlled or held the monopoly of some segments of the market. The existence of some monopolists on Transnistrian market despite the anti-monopoly legislation and an agency in charge with combating the monopoly is explained by the fact that the region is very small and the existence of many enterprises in the same area is economically unjustified. The published list includes the following enterprises grouped on sectors:
- Dairy – the dairy enterprises based in Ribnita and Tiraspol. The Ribnita-based enterprise is leader in making animal fat and cheese, while the Tiraspol-based company is leader in making ice cream. The Ribnita-based enterprise defeated the companies based in Tiraspol and Bender, as it has enlarged the raw material base;
- Bakery – the Tiraspol-based bakery which modernised its equipment and raw material base by purchasing thousands of hectares of land and cultivating raw material there;
- Meat products and sausages – the Bender-based meat enterprise, which makes various sausages and semi-finished meat products;
- Spirits – the Tiraspol-based wine and cognac company Kvint is leader in making and selling brandy. The winery Buket Maldavii is leader in making and selling wines. The Bender-based beer plant is leader in making and selling beer;
- Textiles – the textile manufacturer Tirotex is leader in manufacturing cotton items, ready-made clothes, underclothes, etc.;
- Metals – the Ribnita-based metallurgical plant is monopolist in manufacturing steed and laminated items;
- Power appliances – the Tiraspol-based factory Electromas is monopolist in manufacturing pump devices and other power appliances. The Tiraspol-based power appliance manufacturer makes low tension appliances. Moldavcabeli, Electrofarfor and Litmas plants are also monopolists;
- Building materials – Ribnita-based timber manufacturer, Grioriopol-based building material manufacturer, Tiraspol-based brick plant, Ribnita-based cement plant, Tirnistrom, Nans, Arsul plants;
- Printing products – the Tiraspol-based Typography Tipar prints half of periodicals in the region, while the Bender-based printing company Poligrafist is leader in printing books;
- Mobile telephony – Interdnestrcom is monopolist on Transnistrian mobile telephony market for ten years. As well, it ensures the communication of public institutions from the region. After purchasing and merging with Transtelecom, the company has become monopolist in operating international telephone connection and providing Internet access services;
- Miscellaneous – Intercenter Lux is a company specialised in making pastry, vegetal oils, ready-made clothes, etc.
According to formal statistics from the Transnistrian region, external trade of Transnistria was worth 425 million dollars in the first three months of 2009, which is by 30 percent less than in the similar period of 2008. The export has dropped by 43 percent, down to 124 million dollars. Collections to the public budget covered only 78.5 percent of the plan in the period concerned and just 37.9 percent in April. Approximately half or 25 million dollars of the budgetary expenses go to salaries. The average wage in the Transnistrian region has decreased by one fifth in the first quarter of 2009, down to 217 dollars, compared with 245 dollars in 2008. The average wage of budgetary workers is 119 dollars, compared with 136 dollars in 2008. Employees of the banking sector earn the best, 518 dollars on average, compared with 419 dollars in 2008. Workers of the energy sector earn 504 dollars on average, compared with 572 dollars in 2008. The average pension in the region amounts to 70 dollars thanks to the humanitarian support of Russia, which adds 15 dollars to the pension. The number of jobseekers has almost doubled this year, up to 6,062 people, compared with 3,432 in 2008. Approximately 130,000 out of 550,000 people in Transnistria are citizens of Russia and about 100,000 people hold the Ukrainian citizenship. Transnistria’s population decreased by 6,000 people or more than 1 percent in 2008 mainly due to migration.
Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2008. Progress Report on the EU-Moldova Action Plan (EUMAP)
On April 23, the European Commission has released the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2008 (Communication), and individual progress reports for ENP countries and intermediate sectoral report.
The main conclusions of the Communication:
- The 2008 year was a difficult one for the ENP implementation. It was marked by more destabilising events: violent conflicts in Georgia and Gaza strip, gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, global financial and economic crisis;
- Despite this contest, have been made progress in trade and competition policy, tax and customs reforms, improvement of business environment;
- Insignificant progress have been made on democratic reforms, good governance and human rights, while corruption remains a problem;
- Have been launched two new regional initiatives (Union for the Mediterranean and Eastern Partnership) that will strengthen the ENP.
The Country report on Moldova’s progress made on the implementation of the EU- Moldova ENP Action Plan between January – December 2008, come complete the conclusions set by Communication. According to the European Commission, Mldva has made progress in reform of the judicial system, the agreement to publish reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, positive cooperation with the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) and the EU on regional and international issues, active leadership in regional cooperation fora. Nonetheless, Moldova made no or limited progress in the effective implementation of a number of reforms in key areas of EUMAP – ensuring the fundamental freedoms of citizens, addressing some market and regulatory issues, and enforcing effectively national strategies in areas such as the fight against corruption, drugs and trafficking in human beings, or in sectors such as transport and energy. Were not solved the deficiencies reported in 2007, such as inadequate allocation of resources, delays with the adoption of secondary legislation or insufficient political backing that constitute lasting impediments to the implementation of internal reforms. Moreover, according to the European Commission, the electoral law adopted in view of the April 2009 general elections constituted a regression.
Note by ADEPT: Both the Communication and the Moldova Progress Report has no concrete mention of the future operational instrument for Moldova, instead of the Action Plan expired in February 2008.
Sitting of National Commission for European Integration (CNIE)
A sitting of the National Commission for European Integration chaired by the outgoing President Vladimir Voronin took place on April 30. It focussed on three topics: 1) the conclusions of the Progress Report on Implementation of EUMAP in 2008 issued by the European Commission; 2) the elaboration of a new Action Plan on Human Rights; 3) the evolutions in Moldova-EU relations and foreign policy priorities for the next period.
Vladimir Voronin told the sitting that "Moldova should focus all efforts on negotiating a new agreement with the European Union, which should include very ambitious measures for our country." In particular, it should provide an associated member status, a deep free exchange regime with the EU and the free circulation of Moldova’s citizens in the EU. As well, Brussels should give a clear political signal to Moldova to encourage it on the European integration path. According to the president, the Moldovan leadership has political firmness, competences and organisational skills to implement the future Moldova-EU agreement, and in order to impel the European integration process the president ordered the opening of a new subdivision in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration to focus on European integration only. At the same time, Voronin noted that Moldova has a very reserved attitude towards the Eastern Partnership which will be launched in Prague on May 7. However, Moldova will be represented in Prague by Andrei Stratan, minister of foreign affairs and European integration.
In his turn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan said that his ministry has finished the report on preparation of Moldova to negotiate a new agreement with the European Union and trained 110 national expert negotiators in diverse areas who will negotiate with representatives of the European Commission in Brussels, Luxembourg and Chisinau. (According to a presidential press release)
Note by ADEPT: CNIE chairman Vladimir Voronin has probably forgotten that under Government Decision # 644 from 1 July 2005 concerning the structure of the central administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the ministry already has a European integration department.
Post-electoral fact-collection visit by European Parliament (EP) delegation to Chisinau
During April 26–29, a delegation from the European Parliament (EP) led by Estonian EP member Marianne Mikko was on a fact-collection visit to Chisinau. The visit was preceded on April 23 by a debate in the European Parliament regarding situation in Moldova, with an EP resolution being expected on May 7. During the visit, the delegation met human rights organisations, ombudspersons, journalists, leaders of the three opposition parliamentary parties, representatives of the Government and Prosecutor’s Office, members of the Central Electoral Commission, former speaker Marian Lupu, dozens of arrested young people. EP members visited police commissariats and Prison No. 13.
At the end of visit, the EP delegation has presented its preliminary documentation results. Delegation has ascertained grave violations of human rights after the April 5 parliamentary elections and lack of press and editorial freedoms on the public TV channel "Moldova 1". The delegation’s report submitted to the EP leadership on April 29 has confirmed these preliminary conclusions. Thus, according to the report, the EP Delegation concluded that the human rights, rule of law and the respective European conventions were severely violated in the post electoral period. Besides, both the conduct of the electoral process and the subsequent actions taken by government indicate major deficiencies in Moldova’s judicial and democratic system, and show a propensity to stifle free speech and independent media. The delegation has also considered the setting up of an independent investigation commission for inquiring the post-electoral events, with presence of members appointed by the opposition and international experts, is a key element in starting a genuine reconciliation process in Moldova. At the same time, the delegation insists on a stronger EU engagement in the country through the ENP and the Eastern partnership process.
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The Moldova-Romania relations are blocked for an indefinite period. After the Moldovan authorities accused Romania of meddling into Moldova’s interior affairs and expelled the Romanian ambassador to Moldova, Filip Teodorescu, on April 16, the Republic of Moldova recalled its ambassador in Bucharest. At the same time, the Moldovan authorities refused through a verbal note the candidacy of Mihnea Constantinescu to the office of head of the Romanian diplomatic mission in Chisinau and asked their Romanian fellows to nominate somebody else, but did not explain their decision. In reply, Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu said that he will demand the suspension of talks on the EU-Moldova agreement at the April 27–28 meeting of EU foreign ministers (GAGRE). This appeal was not made, while at the GAGRE meeting Cristian Diaconescu said that Romania will purposefully back the European prospect of the Republic of Moldova. According to Diaconescu, Romania will not support the suspension of negotiations between the Republic of Moldova and European Union because the actions of the Chisinau Government should not be mixed up with the normal European aspirations of Moldovan citizens. This position was reconfirmed by Romanian President Traian Basescu, who stated on April 26 that Romania keeps being coherent in supporting the European path of the Republic of Moldova, regardless of the political colour of the new Moldovan government.
Note by ADEPT: So far, Moldova did not nominate any ambassador to Romania. At the same time, the visa requirements imposed to Romanian citizens are effective despite many calls by European officials to restore the Moldova-Romania relations and statements by the Chisinau political opposition regarding illegality of the visa requirements.
Republic of Moldova – Russia
The Moldova-Russia relations have improved on background of the post-electoral situation in Chisinau. The Russian authorities keep supporting their Moldovan fellows and their actions aimed to manage the political crisis produced by the post-electoral protests, describing them as a "coup d’etat attempt". In an interview with the Russian channel NTV, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev described the protests in Chisinau as anti-constitutional, saying that they were held after the scenario of "coloured" revolutions.
On April 24, before the meeting with the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the European Union Council, Moldova’s outgoing President Vladimir Voronin met the Russian ambassador in Chisinau, Valeri Kuzmin. The meeting focussed on issues related to the current situation in Moldova, perspective to develop Moldovan-Russian relations, prices of energy resources supplied by Russia to Moldova, as well as possibility of the Russian Federation to provide a technical credit to Moldova to modernise the road infrastructure.
Republic of Moldova – People’s Republic of China
The Moldovan-Chinese relations are stirring up. After Chinese President Hu Jintao has greeted outgoing President Vladimir Voronin in connection with the victory of the ruling party at the parliamentary elections, Vladirmir Voronin met the Chinese ambassador to Moldova, Shi Longzhuang, on April 29. During the meeting, the Chinese ambassador appreciated the way the Moldovan authorities managed the April 7 crisis, greeting the state leadership for overcoming the crisis and stabilising the social-political situation in country. As well, the sides discussed the possibility of the Chinese side to grant a technical credit to Moldova to implement investment projects on infrastructure development, especially of transport. (According to a presidential press release)
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
Documentation visit of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to Chisinau
From 25 to 28 April, 2009, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, visited Chisinau to asses the situation on human rights after the post-electoral events in Chisinau. The Commissioner met the Ministers of Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs, a parliamentarian from the Communist Party, the Prosecutor-General, the Ombudsman, members of the national mechanism for the prevention of torture, leaders of the political opposition, representatives of civil society and media, as well as persons detained in connection with post-electoral protests. The Commissioner also visited the General Police Directorate in Chisinau and the Prison no.13. At the end of visit, Commissioner Hammarberg concluded that after the post-electoral protests, took place numerous violations of human rights by the police and insisted on the criminal and disciplinary punishment of all policemen guilty of violating the human rights, as well as on the review of their superiors’ behaviour.
Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
On April 29, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held debates on the post-electoral situation in Moldova based on the reported worked out by PACE members, Josette Durrieu (France, SOC) and Egidijus Vareikis (Lithuania, EPP/CD). Following the debates, a resolution (Resolution 1666) was adopted. The resolution contained the following statements:
- PACE disapproves the accusations of the Moldovan authorities immediately after the outbreak of violence against the opposition on the attempt to organise a coup d’Etat;
- APCE is strongly concerned about acts of violence that were committed by the police during the post-electoral events, and urges the authorities to start immediately an independent and thorough investigation of all these allegations of violence, and that those responsible for these violations be brought to trial;
- With a view to improving confidence in the country’s democratic institutions, the Assembly urges Moldovan authorities to resume reform of electoral legislation, to suspend the application of articles of the Election Code prohibiting people holding double citizenship from exercising elevated public functions, to continue national and local media reform, to increase the effectiveness and professionalism of the courts, to reform the police, to transfer responsibility for pre-trial detention from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Justice etc.;
- APCE calls on Moldova and its neighbours and partners, particularly Romania, Ukraine and Russia, which are also members of the Council of Europe, to play a constructive role in calming the tensions and promoting dialogue between all the political stakeholders, while respecting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
- APCE urges the political stakeholders to recognise the decision of the Constitutional Court confirming the results of the elections and to engage in an inclusive political dialogue with a wide participation of extra-parliamentary forces and civil society in order to develop their vision for the country’s future, on the basis of democratic principles and European integration they subscribed to;
- The new Parliament should promptly draw up and adopt an Action Plan with concrete measures and deadlines on the implementation of the Assembly recommendations contained in this and previous PACE resolutions.
PACE will examine the progress achieved by the Moldovan authorities and the opposition with regard to the implementation of this and previous resolutions on June 2009.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Igor Botan, April 30, 2009
The April 7 revolt followed the April 5, 2009 elections, at which the offer called stability tabled by the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) competed with the offer called change raised by the liberal parties