Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year VII, issue 145, September 19 – October 18, 2009
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
1. Appointments. Dismissals
The Parliament has accepted the resignation of Marcel Raducan from the office of deputy chairman of the Parliament, as he was assigned minister of construction and regional development. Alexandr Stoianoglo was appointed deputy chairman (at the initiative of the PDM parliamentary faction).
Artur Resetnicov was relieved from the office of director of the Information and Security Service (SIS) of the Republic of Moldova, and former SIS officer Gheorghe Mihai
(head of the personal service in 2000–2007), reserve colonel (military retiree) succeeded him.
Valeriu Gurbulea was relieved from the Prosecutor-General office upon his demand.
2. Legislative acts
Decision giving a vote of confidence towards the Government Action Programme and the whole Government. The majority of parliamentarians have voted the Government’s list and Action Plan "European Integration: Freedom, Democracy, Welfare". The PCRM faction did not want to vote, though it raised a number of initiatives relating to the Government’s structure, with some of them being accepted.
Draft law concerning the modification and completion of the law on public function and status of civil servant. It removes the office of deputy ministers from category of higher-ranking civil servants and introduces it into the public dignity category. The draft amendments would require deputy ministers to tender resignation concurrently with ministers or would be reconfirmed in office at the initiative of new ministers.
Draft law on the modification and completion of the Audiovisual Code. According to the modifications, the head of the media watchdog CCA would be elected by a simple majority, not 2/3 of members. As well, the manager of the Board of Observers of IPNA "Teleradio-Moldova" would be elected by majority of the board members.
Decision scheduling the election of President of the Republic of Moldova and the decision concerning the special Commission for the election of the President of the Republic of Moldova. Under Article 78 of the Moldovan Constitution and Article 2 of Law # 1234-XIV of 22 September 2000 concerning the procedure for electing the President of Moldova, the election of President of the Republic of Moldova is set for October 23, 2009. The commission will consist of 7 members.
Decision on establishing a working group. In order to set up an investigation commission to elucidate the events of April 7–8, 2009, a working group of 5 parliamentarians was established to work out the draft decision on establishing the commission concerned.
Decision on establishing a special parliamentary commission to optimise the electoral legislation. The commission consisting of 11 legislators will be in charge of improving the legislation with the view to prevent electoral frauds, and will be made of 11 legislators.
Criticism against "Teleradio-Moldova" Company
Lawmakers representing the parliamentary majority and media monitoring organisations have criticised the public broadcaster during debates held by the commission for culture, education, research, youth and mass media. Teleradio-Moldova representatives rejected the accusations and assured that the company respects the legislation.
1. Appointments. Dismissals
Valeriu Balaban and Dragos Vicol were relieved from the offices of advisers to deputy prime ministers, as the latter tendered resignation.
The Government relieved from office the deputy interior minister, Valentin Zubic, and Andrei Sumleanschi (commander of carbineer troops), upon their demands.
Radu Caruta was relieved from the office of deputy minister of local public administration, as the ministry concerned was dissolved.
Decision on abrogation of the visa regime with Romania. The Decision of April 9, 2009 that introduced the visa regime for Romanian citizens was abrogated. The abrogation document does not provide any political or legal motivation, but while adopted was noted that this decision annihilates an abuse committed by the Greceanii Government which issued a decision against legislation and international agreements accepted by Moldova and produced serious political and economic damages.
Decision concerning the State Chancellery. The Government of the Republic of Moldova is being reorganised by turning the State Chancellery into a public authority and legal successor of the Government Apparatus. The State Chancellery will be headed by state minister, who will nominate and dismiss the chancellery staff. The state minister will introduce the structure and the number of maximum personnel to the Government for their approval, as well as the regulation of the State Chancellery, and will sign contracts (agreements) with managers of subordinated enterprises.
Decision concerning the postponement of salary rises for certain categories of civil servants. The Government postponed the salary rises for civil servants and military which should enter into force on October 1, 2009. As well, wages for teachers were increased by about 24 percent starting September 1, 2009.
Decision on establishing the Coordinating Council for the elaboration of economic stabilisation and recovery plan for the Republic of Moldova. The council is made of heads of ministries, representatives of some international institutions (IMF, EC, USAID, USA), trade unions, employers, professional associations, and some nongovernmental organisations.
3. Sittings. Decisions
Tasks for competent ministries
At the first sitting of the new Government the prime minister has instructed ministries to identify the most stringent problems and propose solutions:
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry will propose solutions to relieve the export of wines in bulk and remove the restrictions for grape exports;
- The Ministry of Finance is due to work out a draft decision on rectifying the state budget for this year and work out the state budget for next year;
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration is in charge with beginning negotiations with Romanian with the view to sign the small border traffic convention;
- The Ministry of Economy will finalise and table the anti-crisis programme aimed to improve the economic situation in the country;
- The Ministry of Justice will consider the situation related to the applications vs. Moldova submitted to the ECHR etc.
Meeting with banking representatives
Prime Minister Vladimir Filat has met the Association of Moldovan Banks, discussed the situation on domestic banking market and stressed issues to be shortly tackled with the purpose to redress the economic condition of the country. The Government would like to stabilise the situation on financial market and, for this purpose, actions of the cabinet of ministers and National Bank will be correlated to fulfil the macroeconomic stabilisation goals. The prime minister noted that his cabinet is currently diagnosing the economic and financial situation and a programme on economic recovery of the country will be worked out in October. As well, Filat promised that the Government will support the real independence and autonomy of the National Bank, which will use its tools according to legal competences, in order to ensure the stability of domestic currency.
Meeting with Kazakh ambassador
Prime minister has met the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Amangheldi Jumabaev. The sides discussed aspects related to bilateral cooperation between the two countries, as well as multidimensional cooperation within international organisations. As well, they discussed ways to actuate the operation of the intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation between the two states. The meeting took place shortly after Parliament Chairman Mihai Ghimpu has received the Kazakh ambassador.
Cancellation of export restrictions for grapes and wines in bulk
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry has cancelled the export restrictions for grapes and wines in bulk, so that all economic agents willing to export these products will not have any longer to register their supply contracts with the Agro-Industrial Agency Moldova-Vin. The Customs Service has annulled the circular requiring the registration of export contracts, which advantaged some businesses and disadvantaged others.
Reconstruction of Presidency and Parliament buildings
According to a report released at the cabinet sitting, reconstruction works at the Presidency and Parliament buildings were completed 30 percent and they are expected to be over in January and March 2010 respectively. According to the report by the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development, the auctions which selected entrepreneurs to conduct the reconstruction works were legal. The costs of the rebuilding works will be reduced, so that to arrange the sitting halls accordingly to the existing project and build less expensive offices for parliamentarians and civil servants.
1 Under the September 17, 2009 decree by the interim President of the Republic of Moldova, the action of this decision was suspended, with Romanian citizens being freed of visas to enter the Republic of Moldova.
Mr. Alexandru Ohotnicov was assigned interim head of the General Department of the Moldovan Presidential Administration.
The "Order of the Republic" was awarded to lecturer Simion Doras and professor Victor Volcinschi.
The "Labour Glory" Order was awarded to Gheorghe Avornic, lecturer and dean of the Law Faculty, and professor Iurie Sedletchi.
The "Civic Merit" Medal was warded to lecturers:
- Gheorghe Chibac;
- Sergiu Cobaneanu;
- Victor Moraru;
- Nicolae Osmochescu;
- Vasile Cretu;
- Vladimir Lavric;
- Boris Negru.
The honorific title "Emeritus professor" was warded to lecturers Igor Dolea and Violeta Cojocaru, as well as professor Eugenia Cojocari.
2. Sittings. Statements
Statament related to the blast in the Great National Assembly Square
The interim president expresses deep concern with the bomb blast which took place in the Great National Assembly Square on October 14 evening and hurt more than 40 people. The statement notes that two telephone calls threatening physical harm have been recorded in the anteroom of the Moldovan prime minister, and an anonymous package with a message threatening to kill Mayor-General was earlier found in the Chisinau City Hall area. Mihai Ghimpu expresses mercy to young people hurt by the blast and their families. At the same time, he required emergent and operative criminal investigations by the Prosecutor-General’s Office, Interior Ministry and SIS to establish all circumstances and people involved in this crime. Parties, political leaders and journalists were asked to refrain from hasty statements capable to incite hatred and distrust in society.
1. International vs. national economic context
IMF anticipates no growth for next year…
According to a recent IMF report on the global economy, the Moldovan economy will fall down by 9 percent this year. IMF has reduced much the forecast on Moldova compared with the spring forecast, when it was estimating an 8-percent economic growth for 2008 (www.interlic.md). Realising what is behind these digits is hard. IMF does not explain its new conclusion, but notes in the report that poor countries, Moldova being the only Eastern Europe country included in this category, were seriously hit by the global economic crisis, worse than anticipated half a year ago.
The IMF forecasts follow almost precisely the data provided by Moldovan Government. Before the April 5 parliamentary elections the former communist government assured that Moldova was not hit by the global crisis and it admitted just in July that the Moldovan GDP decreased by 7.8 percent in the first half of 2009. IMF said in the recent report that the crisis hit Ukraine more, as the economy of this country is expected to fall down by 14 percent. The economy of Romania would decline by 8.5 percent and that of Russia by 7.5 percent. All these countries would achieve economic growths next year, but IMF anticipates no growth for Moldova.
At the global level, the IMF report reveals that the economy is recovering faster after the crisis than forecasted last spring. Forecasts for the next half of the year reveal a growth in most countries. The forecasts were less optimistic a year ago. The Fund recommends governments to keep encouraging the economy. IMF expects the global economy to fall down by more than one percent this year. It would grow by more than 3 percent next year and China and India would be the engines of growth.
The International Monetary Fund says that countries such as Germany, France and Japan have already overcome the economic recession. These economies are growing again. As regards the most developed economy of the world, the United States, the IMF forecast indicates a little growth just next year. The Fund, which has got wider financial responsibilities and capacities during the crisis, worked out a special programme to study the impact in poor countries. It promises to do its best in order to adjust the specific needs of these countries when it will work out macroeconomic policies and structural reforms, so that to help them get rid of the crisis.
The Moldovan authorities expect an IMF mission in Chisinau during October 13–21 to negotiate the new programme. An invitation to deploy such a mission was sent to IMF last weekend. As well, IMF experts will assist the Government to elaborate anti-crisis measures on sectors of economy. The anti-crisis programme will be worked out before November 20, and the new agreement is expected to be signed before November 30, 2009.
But EBRD is more optimistic…
According to updated forecasts by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Moldova will record an economic recession of 8.5 percent in 2009, and a growth of 1.5 percent in 2010. According to EBRD experts, the Moldovan economy suffers a serious economic crisis in 2009. Revenues and remittances will reduce the limited access to external funding which requires a careful participation of fiscal, monetary and exchange policies, in order to maintain macroeconomic stability. The comeback to an economic progress in 2010 will partly depend in the future as well on the trend of refunding planned by trade partners from Moldova, but it shall be sustained by structural reforms and business environment.
2. Real sector
Industry keeps falling down…
The industry has manufactured an output worth about 10.63 billion lei (949.11 million dollars) in current prices in January-August 2009. The industrial output index exceeded 75 percent in comparable prices, compared with January-August 2008, which means that the industry suffered a regress of about 25 percent. The industrial output declined in connection with a 41-percent fall of extractive industry, 27.3 percent of processing industry and 6.1 percent of energy sector, which reduced the overall production volume by 0.7 percent, 23.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
The decline in industrial output was particularly caused by enterprises manufactured machines and equipment – by about 52 percent, footwear by more than 51 percent, medical, precision, optical equipment and tools by 50 percent, paper and cardboard by 46.6 percent, non-ferrous mineral products by over 45 percent, distilled spirits by about 41 percent, fruit and vegetable processing and canning by about 37 percent, textiles by 35.6 percent, winemaking by about 34 percent etc.
Statistics reveal that, compared with May 2009, the decline deepened in the following areas: fruit and vegetable processing and canning; dairy making; winemaking; editing, printing and publishing; manufacturing of other non-metal mineral products; manufacturing and supply of electricity and heating. Enterprises concerned explain the output volume reduction through difficulties on sale market, especially decline of orders by foreign companies, as well as local businesses which consume industrial production; shortage of raw material; shortage of funds etc.
3. Banking sector
Banks give signs of "fatigue"…
The NBM data for the first eight months of 2009 reveal that the 1st-degree capital of Moldovan commercial banks has decreased by about 2.5 percent, down to 6.45 billion lei, but generally corresponds to the minimum required level, and this proves the stability of their financial condition. The decline was generally related to losses suffered by five banks, the central bank noted, but fell short of revealing their names. The central bank stressed that two of these banks already raised revenues in August, with the 1st-degree capital on system increasing by more than 35 million lei (0.6 percent).
Overall assets on system have increased by 3.8 percent in eight months, up to about 37.58 billion lei, which reveals a decline of crediting and other bank activities, in default of viable investment projects and on background of the current economic situation in the country. Thus, the net credit portfolio has decreased by 13.5 percent, down to about 20.35 billion lei, NBM debts by nearly 46 percent, down to 3.17 million lei. Banking assets increased by more than 91 million lei (0.2 percent) in August. Credits provided to industry and commerce covered more than 50 percent of the overall credit portfolio, as for August 31, followed by agriculture and food industry – more than 15 percent, real estate, construction and development – 12.5 percent, and consumption credits – about 11 percent.
The share of unfavourable credits (substandard, doubtful and compromised) in overall credits has increased by 7 percent, compared with early this year, up to about 13 percent in late August. For comparison, the domestic banking system resisted about 39 percent of this indicator during the 1998–1999 regional crisis. The profitableness indicator of assets and shareholder capital was 0.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively, which is by 3.1 percent and 17.4 percent respectively less than early this year. The profitableness indicator of assets in the last month of the analysed period (August) was at the level of the previous month (July), while the profitableness indicator of shareholder capital increased by 0.4 percent.
Concern of mediators
The process of the new Government formation in Moldova left behind the Transnistrian settlement efforts. In this context, representatives of the parties involved in the "5+2" Transnistrian settlement format encouraged political parties from the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) to "reach a compromise and build a stable structure of the leadership capable to focus on up-to-date social-economic goals." Such a call was released during the September 15 Moscow meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigore Karasin and the head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Philippe Remler, who discussed the agenda of the meeting between mediators and observers of the Transnistrian settlement process scheduled for the second half of September in Chisinau. On the other hand, the decision of the new AEI leadership to dissolve the Ministry of Reintegration made Transnistrian observers speculate that the Transnistrian problem will be further important but not foreground. Transnistrian political researcher Andrei Safonov was quoted by INFOTAG agency as saying that "given the distribution of functions, redistribution of financial inflows which last from months to one year, the union or normalisation of relations cannot be a primordial task… In these circumstances, the status quo could be maintained that means independent development of certain state institutions on each bank of the Dniester."
Transnistrian regime gets ready to resist to enemies
In the second half of September, just before the investiture of the new Government of Moldova, a military exercise was organised in Transnistria to mobilise troops of bomb and transmission experts, anti-aircraft artillerists, and doctors. This way, the Transnistrian general staff charged itself to test the applicability of military doctrine, simulating "the deployment of military troops to resist to aggression in the light of military actions from North Caucasus during the last war." The exercise focussed on testing the reserve military "for the worst" – the eventual penetration of the enemy "into the defence, with the enemy" being "terminated by various weapons, inclusively "Grad" reactive fire system.
Preparations for referendum
The Transnistrian region is organising "public talks" on holding a referendum to modify the constitution. The purpose of changes is to adjust constitutional norms of Transnistria to Russian laws and particularly focus on revising competences of constitution, introducing the government instead of cabinet of ministers led by president, as well as instituting a two-chamber parliament.
Enhancing the small business rate in Transnistrian economy is required
A research by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Transnistria indicates the necessity of enhancing the small business rate in the gross domestic product of the region from 13 percent up to 20 percent the next three years. According to a research, legal regulations on small business development are out-of-date. Research developers recommend that small businesses should be grouped into micro (up to 10 employees), small (up to 50 employees) and medium, and each of them should enjoy distinct categories of facilities and advantages. They invoke the European Commission’s recommendations from 2003, which say that enterprises with less than 250 employees should be included into the category of small and medium businesses. Given the specifics of the three categories of enterprises, distinct statistical records should be accepted in order to enable them to enjoy appropriate sustenance mechanisms. As well, situation in the individual business sector represented by more than 15,000 enterprises should be made clear, and taxation, reporting and sanctioning procedures should be simplified much.
Expectations of Tiraspol authorities regarding Transnistrian settlement evolutions
Representatives of Transnistrian authorities said that they are not impressed by the propaganda-making machine of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), which claims that eventual dangers for the Transnistrian settlement process come from the Alliance for European Integration (AIE). Thus, Transnistrian foreign minister Vladimir Yastrebcheak stated that the only problem is that AIE does not take into consideration the yielding made by former president Vladimir Voronin by signing the Barvikha Declaration on March 18, 2009, which says that the Moldovan authorities do not demand any longer the withdrawal of the Russian military presence from the region. With the invoked exception, Yestrebcheak notes that the new Moldovan authorities do not propose anything new and Voronin previously demanded the withdrawal of the Russian military presence from the region, while the yielding concerned being made in the electoral context with approximately two weeks before the April 5, 2009 elections. Yastrebcheak reiterated Transnistria’s position concerning the withdrawal of the Russian military troops. He insists that the commitments assumed by the Russian Federation at the November 1999 Istanbul OSCE Summit were conditioned with the political settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. Even more, Yastrebcheak assured that Russia’s commitments became unimportant when it introduced the moratorium on the CFE Treaty. In this context, Yastrebcheak stressed that Russia had fulfilled its commitments by withdrawing the heavies of the former Army 14. Hence, it had withdrawn 50,000 weapon units, 800 artillery units, 120 tanks etc. from Transnistrian region. As regards the military, Russia pulled out 1,500 out of 2,500 soldiers and officers of the operative group of the former Army 14, and there are only 400 soldiers left in the region out of 2,700 military. However, Yastrebcheak was surprised that the former communist government had urged Russia to withdraw all military presence from the region, and the Moldovan liberal democrats want the same at present. He said that the situation will be clear by 2011, when the ten-year term of the basic Moldovan-Russian Treaty will be over. This treaty should be extended or cancelled, and then it would be clear how the Moldovan-Russian relations will develop and what would be the place of Transnistria in these relations. According to Transnistrian authorities, it is fundamental in facts to make clear if the new Chisinau Government would like to respect the July 22, 2005 on the Transnistrian settlement, which means to assimilate the PCRM inheritance or would start looking for a more realistic framework. The Transnistrian leadership is rather sceptical that the new Moldovan authorities would renounce to the 2005 legal principles and that’s why it will focus on resuming the activity of "working groups and protecting interests of people who hold the Moldovan citizenship, too." At the same time, Yastrebcheak stated that the dissolution of the Reintegration Ministry by the new Moldovan authorities does not have any importance, as Transnistria did never cooperate with this ministry, with contacts between the two parties developing at the level of representatives of the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria. In this light, it is clear that the Moldovan authorities decided to empower Deputy Premier Victor Osipov to represent Chisinau in relations with Transnistria and negotiation process within the new Government of Moldova.
Moldovan communists trying to regain the Transnistrian trump in internal political race
The Transnistrian media has also covered the change of turn-out by PCRM, which after eight years of rule restarted using the Transnistrian problem as trump in the propagandistic battle, this time against the Alliance for European Integration (AIE). It noted that after eight years of PCRM governance the Transnistrian conflict was not settled but even worse, the negotiation process was frozen. The intentions of PCRM to scare Transnistrian citizens with eventual destabilisation of situation, as AIE aims to bring Moldova closer to NATO are described as hypocrisy. In this context, Transnistria’s mouthpiece "OLVIA-press" noted that the Moldova-NATO Individual Action Plan was accepted under the PCRM rule and military exercises with the participation of NATO – Cooperative Longbow/Lancer – 2006, Medñeur-2007, etc., were organised in the Republic of Moldova.
1. European integration
Statement by EU Presidency on appointment of the new Moldovan Government
On September 25, the Swedish European Union Presidency released a statement to welcome the appointment of the new Government of the Republic of Moldova, assuring that it supports Moldova’s efforts to resolve internal problems, inclusively those relating to the world economic and financial crisis. The EU Presidency expressed willingness to begin as soon as possible the negotiations on a new agreement with Moldova, which will replace and exceed the former Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The new agreement will strengthen the Moldovan-EU relations, inclusively within the Eastern Partnership. At the same time, the European Union invited all political players to participate in a constructive dialogue to elect a chief of state.
Moldovan prime minister on visit to Brussels
After the Moldova-EU relation has lost intensity in connection with the political instability, Moldova took first actions to develop the dialogue with EU, once it elected a new Government on September 25. Thus, during September 28–29 the newly-elected prime minister of Moldova, Vlad Filat, was on a working visit to Brussels. Being on the first visit abroad after the appointment, Filat wanted to give a sign that Moldova has serious intentions in terms of European integration process and assure of the importance that the Moldovan authorities pay to this issue.
In Brussels Vlad Filat has met Jerzy Buzek, head of the European Parliament, the commissioner for economy and finance, EU director-general for assistance of the European Commission, Claudio Bisongiero, deputy secretary-general of NATO, Herman van Rompuy, his Belgian counterpart, and foreign minister of Belgium.
During talks with officials of the European Commission the parties tackled the economic situation in Moldova and actions planned by Moldovan Government to improve the internal economic condition. Representatives of the European Commission expressed readiness of EU institutions to provide financial support to Moldova both within the Assistance Programmes for sectoral reforms and under shape of macro-financial assistance, but only after Moldova will sign the cooperation agreement with the International Monetary Fund. In addition, while approaching the Transnistrian problem Vlad Filat called for the replacement of Russian peacekeeping troops from Transnistria with an international mission under EU aegis.
Prospects to develop Moldova-EU cooperation on parliamentary dimension was one of topics discussed by Vlad Filat with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. As well, the sides discussed the start of negotiations on the new Association Agreement with Moldova, granting of a clearer European perspective and financial assistance to Moldova. At the end of discussions Vlad Filat made a presentation of priorities of the new Government within the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
Belgium and Finland join the Common Visa Application Centre
Two more countries, Belgium and Finland, joined the Common Visa Application Centre in Chisinau on October 1, 2009. Now the centre issues visas for 10 states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Luxemburg, Slovenia, Sweden and Hungary.
Meeting of COEST Troika and Republic of Moldova
Brussels hosted on October 6 the meeting between COEST Troika and Republic of Moldova, with the latter being represented by a delegation led by Natalia Gherman, deputy minister of foreign affairs and European integration. The Moldovan delegation reported to European officials the political realities from Moldova and goals of the new governing programme, including Moldova-EU relations and settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. The Moldovan delegation called for the negotiation of the Moldova-EU Association Agreement which would include regulations on institution of a free exchange zone, visa liberalisation agreement, and resumption of the "5+2" negotiations and honouring of the Istanbul commitment concerning the withdrawal of troops and munitions from Moldova.
Visit of EU Troika to Chisinau
On October 16 the EU Troika led by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was on a fact-collection visit to Chisinau and met the interim president and chairman of the Parliament, Mihai Ghimpu, first Deputy Speaker Serafim Urechean, Prime Minister Vlad Filat, Foreign Minister Iurie Leanca and Vladimir Voronin, leader of the Party of Communists (PCRM).
According to the Swedish foreign minister, the visit of the EU delegation to Chisinau aimed to establish next steps for the Moldova-EU relationship. While meeting the European delegation Moldovan officials called for the soon negotiation of the new Moldova-EU agreement and free exchange zone, the inclusion of Moldova into the Balkan package, liberalisation of visa requirements for Moldovan citizens. As well, the Moldovan side sought the EU and US support to the Transnistrian settlement, as well as the EU financial assistance for Moldova to get rid of economic problems.
In its turn, the European delegation assured that EU is ready to begin negotiations for the signing of an ambitious Association Agreement. The first expert delegation is expected in Chisinau in late October. The new agreement will have three components – political, building of a free exchange zone between EU and Moldova and liberalisation of visa requirements. However, the Swedish foreign minister noted that Moldova is expected to ensure a stable political environment which would not disturb democratic reforms, while EU will provide the necessary financial support and expertise.
Note by ADEPT: The meeting between Carl Bildt and the leader of the Party of Communists, Vladimir Voronin, took place in the context of repeated EU calls on political players, particularly PCRM to agree on election of chief of state and avoid new parliamentary elections.
2. Bilateral cooperation
Republic of Moldova – Romania
The Moldova-Romania relations are being normalised. The abolition of visa requirements for Romania by the new Chisinau Government was followed by development of the dialogue between authorities of the two countries regarding older problematic issues such as signing of the small border traffic convention, bilateral political treaty and border treaty, as well as opening of two Romanian consulates in Cahul and Balti and a Moldovan consulate in Iasi.
Titus Corlatean, chairman of the Commission for Foreign Relations of the Romanian Senate, who was on a working visit to Chisinau on September 23, 2009 confirmed Romania’s readiness to sign as soon as possible the small border traffic convention, which would facilitate the access of Moldovan citizens who reside 50 kilometres from the Moldovan-Romanian border to circulate freely to Romania. In addition, the signing of the convention concerned would open access to European funds for border-crossing cooperation.
At the same time, another up-to-date issue in the re-launched Moldovan-Romanian relations is the negotiation and signing of an Association Agreement between Moldova and EU. The Moldovan authorities have stated more than once that they rely on Romania’s support for the signing of this agreement, especially of the component related to the liberalisation of visa requirements for Moldovan citizens. Romania assured that it will support the Republic of Moldova in terms of European perspective of the latter, but, as a first step forward liberalisation of visa requirements, will try to make Brussels cancel the Romanian visa requirements for Moldovan citizens. The cancellation of the 500-euro requirement for Moldovan citizens while entering Romania could be a first action in this direction.
Republic of Moldova – Russia
The Moldova-Russia relations cross an exploration period after the election of a new Chisinau Government. The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Naryshkin, was on a fact-collection visit to Chisinau in September and met the interim president of Moldova and chairman of the Parliament, Mihai Ghimpu, and Prime Minister Vlad Filat. The Moldovan authorities stated during bilateral discussions that the Russian Federation keeps being an important partner of Moldova and the objective of Moldova is to continue developing pragmatic and reciprocally advantageous relations with the Russian Federation.
On October 9, during the CIS Summit, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had bilateral meetings with Mihai Ghimpu, interim president of Moldova, and PDM chairman Marian Lupu, candidate to president of Moldova. The parties discussed the future of Moldovan-Russian relations, with the Russian president saying that he expects friendly and good neighbourhood relations with Moldova.
The Moldovan-Russian talks also focussed on the Transnistrian settlement issue and 500-million-dollar credit promised by Russia to Moldova. The Russian Federation assured that it will keep supporting the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict in the "5+2" format. At the same time, the Russian side told the Moldovan Government that the release of the Russian 500-million-dollar credit was cancelled at the request of the former Moldovan government, but the Russian Federation is ready to provide a 150-million-dollar credit to Moldova in 2009.
Note by ADEPT: During the CIS summit the Russian president did not want to meet the former president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, but met Marian Lupu, candidate to president of Moldova. Experts interpreted this meeting as a clear proof of Russia’s support to candidate Lupu and a tacit call on the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova to support his candidacy.
Republic of Moldova – Ukraine
Following the investiture of the new Government, the Republic of Moldova took actions to impel the relations with Ukraine, organising bilateral meetings at level of heads of state and foreign ministers of both countries within the October 8–9 CIS Summit in Chisinau. The sides discussed the current Moldovan-Ukrainian relations and set tasks to impel them.
Republic of Moldova – USA
On October 7 Prime Minister Vlad Filat and Darius Teter, vice president for development of Compact programmes in the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, signed a 3.1-million-dollar grant agreement for the funding of a limited number of activities to be achieved before the signing of the Compact Programme. They are related to the contracting of Financial Agent, acquisition consultants, as well as building of a unit called Millennium Challenge Fund Moldova (MCF Moldova). Negotiations between Moldovan Government and Corporation regarding the Compact Assistance Agreement will begin very soon. The agreement foresees the allocation of 262 million dollars to implement two major projects on reconstruction of Moldova’s roads and development of agriculture, particularly enlargement of irrigated fields.
3. Multilateral cooperation
Republic of Moldova – Council of Europe
Consultations on release of the Democracy Package for Moldova
On October 14, a delegation from the Council of Europe Secretariat led by Ms. Claudia Luciani, Director of Political Advice and Cooperation in the Directorate General for Democracy and Political Affairs, was on a fact-collection visit to Chisinau to discuss with the Moldovan authorities the Democracy Package for Moldova initiated by the Council of Europe jointly with the European Commission. During meetings with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration the CoE delegation introduced the draft project and learned initiatives by Moldovan authorities concerning the Democracy Package.
Hearing of report concerning the implementation of Resolution 1666 (2009) on the functioning of democratic institutions by Moldova
On October 2, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) heard the report concerning the implementation of Resolution 1666 (2009) on the functioning of democratic institutions by Moldova, drafted by CoE rapporteurs Josette Durrieu (France, socialist group) and Egidijus Vareikis (Lithuania, PPE/CD). During talks after the presentation of the report PACE members recommended the introduction of some amendments in the report, which would urge the authorities to conduct an independent investigation of violence committed after post-electoral developments and set an independent administrative organ to investigate complaints of people against police abuses.
The European Court of Human Rights has pronounced decisions on the following applications in the period concerned: Deservire S.R.L. vs. Moldova, Petru Rosca vs. Moldova, Godorozea vs. Moldova, Business and Investitii Pentru Toti vs. Moldova, Panzari vs. Moldova. The Court established violation of right to a fair trial, right to private property, right to an effective appeal, right not to be subjected to torture and inhuman treatments and set pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages to be paid to the applicants concerned by Moldovan Government. Overall damages for the five cases account for 11,925 Euros.
Republic of Moldova – CIS
During October 8–9, 2009 Chisinau hosted the meetings of the Council of CIS Heads of State and Council of CIS Foreign Ministers. The summit of CIS heads of state brought together the presidents of Moldova, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan did not attend it. According to the chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, Sergei Lebedev, works of the councils developed in a constructive manner and members of the Council of CIS Heads of State adopted 22 documents, of them most important focussing on measures to clean up negative consequences of the world financial crisis. In its turn, the Council of CIS Foreign Ministers decided to develop cooperation among CIS member states in several areas: social assistance, migration, extension of education technology systems.
Note by ADEPT: According to experts, the Chisinau CIS Summit "burned" the Commonwealth, as presidents of four Central Asian states did not want to attend it, proving this way their discontentment with the Russian policy in the region and their desire to make a positive impression in front of western partners. Even more, the summit failed to calm down existing disputes between some CIS members.
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Government, IMF and public funds
Iurie Gotisan, 18 October 2009
The IMF Mission which started working in Chisinau last week seems to have been long-awaited, particularly by authorities. The potential assistance of the Fund could be a "life buoy". At the same time, the advantage of signing an external funding agreement with IMF is that "import of credibility" if you want, respectively the absence of such an agreement is a major risk for the way Moldova is regarded by foreign investors, especially in the current economic and political conjuncture