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Democracy and governing in Moldova
e-journal, year VIII, issue 158, December 1–15, 2010
Activity of Public Institutions
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Activity of Public Institutions
Events of great importance
Moldova’s success within the Eastern Partnership
The second Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting was held today in Brussels and was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the EU member countries and Eastern Partnership member states, it was co-chaired by the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, Baroness Catherine Ashton and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, Moldova has been noted by the European officials as being at the forefront of the Eastern Partnership countries that have benefited from the opportunities provided by the Eastern Partnership, the significant progress achieved as regards the reforms being highly appreciated.
Administrative intervention in the editorial field
During a Government sitting, Prime Minister Vlad Filat made an intervention concerning the publication "Sex told to children", which, according to Premier, would contain elements that contradict moral principles and norms of the Christian education of children. This book has been accepted for marketing in 2004, but in October 2010 the Agency for Morality Protection made a new decision: the book can be sold only to persons who have reached adulthood and only in the package that do not allow browsing and / or watching the production at the stand, and the minors may get acquainted with its content only through parents and educators. NGOs representatives have reacted to the disproportionate and ad-hoc interventions, called for a complex examination of the problem addressed and qualified the authorities’ interventions as manifestations of censorship, even an authoritarian behavior.
- Igor Bodiu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to Azerbaijan was appointed to also cumulate the position of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to Georgia.
- Mihai Gribincea, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to the Kingdom of Belgium was concurrently appointed to the position of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- Gheorghe Hioara, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to Belarus was concurrently appointed as Moldova’s Permanent and Plenipotentiary Representative to the statutory bodies and other bodies of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Decision on some measures to liquidate the consequences of the 2010 July floods. According to the document, the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development will provide free dwellings, which are under its management and are built from state budget resources, donations and funds accumulated on the special account to help the distressed people of Cotul Morii, Sarateni, Nemteni and Obileni villages, after their putting into service, in the property of the said administrative-territorial units, to be given free of charge to the individuals affected by 2010 summer floods, as required by the effective legislation. The engineering infrastructure and other built facilities also will be transferred to the property of the administrative-territorial units, after their putting into service, upon their consent.
Decision to change the destination of some agricultural lands. The Government decided to amend the destination category of 17.2 hectares of agricultural lands, which represent the private ownership of "GIGAMARKET" Ltd., of the outskirts of Bacioi village, Chisinau municipality, and transfer them to the category of lands for industry, transport, telecommunications and other special purposes in connection with the design and construction of a commercial complex. "GIGAMARKET" Ltd. must organise the topsoil scraping from the soil surface.
Decision on establishing a unit of the central public authorities for informing and communicating with media outlets. According to the document approved by the Executive, the unit for informing and communicating with the media is a structural subdivision established within the central body of each public authority, subject directly to the head of this authority.
Decision concerning the state order on professional development of public administration staff in 2011. The Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Moldova is required to draft a Plan to fulfill the state order, to ensure the quality, novelty and practical nature of the training programs, according to some predetermined topics, and the relevant public authorities will delegate to training the concerned officials and will ensure the participation of leaders and experts in developing training programs and their performance as trainers. A total number of 1015 public servants is planned to be trained in 2011.
Decision on public-private partnership for rendering health services. The Government proposed the radiology and imagery diagnostic services for public-private partnership, including rooms designed for their rendering within the Republican Hospital of Chisinau municipality. During the public-private partnership the National Health Insurance Company will negotiate and conclude annual contracts for rendering medical services under mandatory health insurance with the winning private partner. The following objectives are determined for the project: to modernize the institution by attracting private investments; to align hospital care to European requirements; to ensure the functioning of a modern and effective institution in terms of cost; to endow appropriately the institution with advanced medical devices; to cover the need of population for highly advanced medical imaging services; to improve the quality and to increase the access to advanced imaging diagnostic; to reduce the general costs for the modernization of the Republican Clinical Hospital from the state budget. The special objective is to renovate and / or build, equip, finance and operate the radiology and imaging diagnostic service.
Decisions to approve some regulations:
- Amendments to the Regulations on how to approve and register the producer prices for medicines;
- Standard documentation for public procurement of works;
- Sanitary-veterinary norm of organizing specific official control of food products of animal origin;
- Regulations on how to allot the refundable financial aid to refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian protection.
Decisions to approve strategies, plans:
- Action Plan of the Republic of Moldova on the implementation of the European Commission’s recommendations for establishing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union;
- National anti-drug strategy for 2011–2018;
- National Road Safety Strategy;
- National programs to control the tuberculosis, to prevent and control HIV/SIDA, Immunization Program for 2011–2015;
- The additional specific plan to the National Plan for Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for 2010 -2011.
Preparing for the cold season
Prime Minister chaired several meetings where there was considered country’s readiness for the cold season 2010–2011, in terms of energy security and ensuring normal operation of all enterprises and social institutions. According to the Ministry of Economy, apart from the problem of some debts unpaid by Chisinau Municipality for heat supply, energy sector is fully prepared for the cold season, being assured the operation of all systems and networks for electricity and heat supply. Material Reserves Agency is ready for the cold season, and the distressed persons from Hincesti district were provided with wood and coal for heating their houses.
At a public meeting, attended by central and local authorities and energy companies, there were analyzed energy security issues, especially concerning the payment of the heat supplied. Prime Minister noted the importance of ensuring transparency in the activity of the concerned institutions by presenting cogent arguments and explanations to the population in order to prevent the irrelevant interpretations and insinuations. The Premier asked all responsible persons, involved in energy security of the country, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the situation, to identify solutions to streamline the management of this field, including as regards strategic development, and to develop proposals for rescheduling the payments for heat.
Advanced servers for important institutions
The Government decided to send six advanced servers, required to run the Web sites of the following institutions: public TV channel Moldova 1, Central Electoral Commission, Directorate General for the administration of Government buildings, the State Enterprise "Centre of Special Telecommunications" and the National Bureau of Statistics. The equipment comes from the Chinese assistance Moldova has benefited of, and the decision was taken by the Executive in order to implement the Government Activity Programme as regards the establishment of the institutional framework for information society development.
Post-election phone calls
During the first days after early parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Vlad Filat had several telephone conversations with high foreign officials upon their initiative. Among the interlocutors who have congratulated Moldovan authorities with the way they conducted the elections are:
- Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy;
- Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament;
- Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development;
- Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban;
- Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi;
- Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland.
Events of great importance
The visit of the European Parliament President
Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament President, paid an official visit to Chisinau, during which many topics of the EU-Moldova relations have been discussed, as well the post-election situation in Moldova. Buzek reiterated the positive European appraisals for the Republic of Moldova, noting especially the democratic election campaign and Moldova’s success within the Eastern Partnership.
The letter by NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, which is a reply to the address of the Acting President of the Republic of Moldova, stated that NATO allies have consistently expressed their support for the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, respecting, as in other European countries, the country’s neutral status. NATO Secretary General welcomes the position of President Mihai Ghimpu on the issue of revitalization of the CFE Treaty, but mentions that the purpose of the Alliance is to develop a new formulation of this document, which will allow a significant step towards ensuring a sustainable control of conventional weapons in Europe and common security strengthening. At the same time, the letter stated that NATO pays permanent attention to the conflict in the Transnistrian region of Moldova and welcomes the consistent and full commitment of Chisinau authorities to settle the Transnistrian conflict by peaceful means, and the negotiations in the internationally recognized "5+2" format represent a legal and proper framework for further discussions.
The Acting President of the Republic of Moldova, Mihai Ghimpu signed a decree on the participation of the Republic of Moldova to the meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State, which also includes the delegation of powers to the Minister of Economy Valeriu Lazar to sign, on behalf of the Republic of Moldova, the documents included on the meeting agenda. The decree requires formulating some reservations on the Cooperation Program of the CIS member states in combating terrorism and other violent forms of extremism manifestation.
On December 1–15, the Acting President signed several decrees on awarding state distinctions and honorary titles.
Decisions. Sittings. Meetings
Meeting with Russian emissary
The Acting President of the Republic of Moldova met with Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the Administration of the President of Russian Federation, who visited Chisinau. During the discussions there were addressed all-dimensions relations, post-election situation in Moldova and the Transnistrian conflict settlement. President Mihai Ghimpu reiterated the Moldovan authorities’ position on issues of utmost importance for bilateral and international relations and Sergei Naryshkin made statements about the Transnistrian conflict settlement that is an extremely important issue for the regional security and must be solved through negotiations. Finally, Mihai Ghimpu reiterated his desire to have good relations with the Russian Federation.
Realitatea TV Award
The Acting President of the Republic of Moldova received the Award of Excellence of the sixth edition of the Gala "Ten for Romania", organized by Realitatea TV. The prize was awarded for fundamental political change produced in Moldova.
GDP increases, people do not feel it…
According to BNS Moldova’s economy registered a 6.5% increase in T1-T3’2010 compared to late 2009. In January-September 2010, the Moldovan enterprises have produced goods and services that amounted to 52.21 billion Moldovan lei. Gross added value produced in the goods sector increased by 6.5% compared to the same period of last year. Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishery, pisciculture and industry registered a growth of the gross added value compared to last year by 6.6% and 6.4% respectively.
Gross added value produced in the service sector increased compared to the same period of the previous year by 5.1%. Growth was determined significantly by the increase in gross value added in transport means and communications (by 8.5%), wholesale and retail trade (by more than 6%) and construction (by nearly 4%).
Statistics also show that the amount of taxes collected in the national public budget exceeded by 14% the level of the previous year period, but also due to the increase of some indirect taxes. Taxes on products volume contribution to GDP was about 17% in January-September 2010 compared to 16% in January-September 2009. Total final consumption increased by just over 4% compared to the corresponding period of last year. Exports and imports of goods and services increased by about 8% and by less than 12% respectively compared to last year.
The incomes and the expences of the population
Apparently Moldovans live better…
The same BNS data show that T3’2010 disposable income of the population amount to a monthly average of 1337 Moldovan lei per person, increasing by 12% compared to the same period of 2009. In real terms (adjusted to consumer price index, i.e. inflation rate) the household income rose by about 4%. Wage payments are the most important source of income, about 45% of the total revenues available, their contribution decreasing by more than 2% compared to T3’2009.
Income from social benefits contributed to household income with 18.5%. Revenue growth in this period was especially as a result of the increase in income in individual agricultural activity. An important source of forming household income remain money transfers from abroad (remittances), their contribution being about 17% or more than 2% more than the same period of 2009.
Depending on residence, it is found that the income of urban population was on average by 430 Moldovan lei or 37% higher than that of the rural population. In urban areas, the main source of income is wage labour, which provided the household income ratio with about 60%. In rural areas, the most important source of income is also the wage labour (30%), but its contribution is almost 2 times lower than in urban areas. Revenues received from individual agricultural activity have provided about 18% of total disposable income. Most of the income from farming is represented by the value of the own resources products (90%).
The average monthly consumption expenditure of the population during the period covered have averaged to 1463 Moldovan lei per person monthly, increasing by over 12%compared to the same period of the previous year. Most expenditure were intended to cover food consumption needs – 37.5%, this is actually an evidence of a poor population. To maintain the house a person spent in the average about 20% of the total consumption expenditure. Other expenses have been made for health (6.5%), communications (4.5%), transportation (5%), housing facilities (more than 4%), education (1.5%) etc.
Reactions by Transnistrian authorities towards the position of the Republic of Moldova at OSCE Summit
Transnistrian authorities have criticized the position of the Republic of Moldova at the OSCE Summit in Astana. Transnistrian Foreign Minister, Vladimir Yastrebchak, treated as contempt the refusal of the Acting President of the Republic of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu to attend the Summit, qualifying the absence of the Moldovan head of state as a manifestation of irresponsibility towards the issue of normalization of political relations and unwillingness to discuss on the "new security architecture in Europe", promoted by the Russian Federation. In the same train of ideas, the Transnistrian diplomacy support the refusal of Russia to sign the final political declaration of the Summit and the action plan, because the wordings proposed by Georgian delegation on "territorial integrity of Georgia" and those proposed by the Moldovan delegation "on withdrawal of Russian military troops from Transnistria" would be unacceptable.
Lack of progress in resuming the negotiation process – a consequence of political instability
Transnistrian authorities and representatives of the Russian Federation made statements concerning the lack of progress towards the resumption of negotiations as a result of political instability in Moldova, which for almost two years cannot elect the head of state. Transnistrian representatives consider that the stagnation in the process of building confidence between the two banks of Nistru River is an expression of lack of powers of the delegations from the Republic of Moldova, which cannot resolve its constitutional conflict. That is why the problems related to the removal of the economic blockade, which was imposed on Transnistria in 2006, and the repeal of the Act on Transnistrian settlement, adopted in July 2005, cannot be addressed. And Russian Ambassador to the European Commission, Vladimir Chizhov, said he sees no prerequisites for the resumption of the "5+2" format, as Chisinau did not solved yet its internal problems as a result of early parliamentary elections. According to him, Russia needs partners "on both banks of Nistru River, responsible and able to contribute", which is difficult to get until the removal of the causes that lead constantly to early elections.
Transnistrian authorities protest against violation of Russian citizens’ rights
Transnistria’ s representative to the Joint Control Commission (CUC), Oleg Beleacov, sent a letter to the representatives of Russia and Ukraine to the respective commission where he denounced the violation of the rights of Russian citizens, residents of Transnistria, by Moldovan authorities. According to Beleacov, the inhabitants of Transnistria, who are citizens of Russian Federation, complain that Moldovan authorities violate their right to free movement, reasoning their actions by the fact that under the agreement between the Republic of Moldova, on the one hand, and Ukraine and Russian Federation, on the other hand, both Ukraine and Russia provides that their citizens may stay in Moldova’s territory without registration up to 90 days, then they must leave the territory. Since the inhabitants of Transnistria, with Russian and Transnistrian citizenship, which the Moldovan authorities do not recognize, are moving on the right bank with Russian documents, they often encounter problems related to the violation of visa regime in Moldova such as developing administrative protocols, applying fines of up to 500 Moldovan lei or even threatening of deportation from the country. The representatives of Transnistrian authorities consider that in this way Moldovan authorities violate the right of the Transnistrian citizens to free movement. As argument, Oleg Beleacov, invokes Article 1 of the Protocol signed on May 16, 2001 by President Vladimir Voronin and Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov, "concerning mutual recognition of documents issued by the competent authorities of the Parties".
Transnistria’ s representative to CUC protested against the establishment of concrete blocks
At the sitting of the United Control Commission (CUC), held on 2 December, Transnistria’s representative Oleg Beleacov considered the situation created as a result of the establishment by the Moldovan side of the concrete blocks near the control point in Cosnita village. Transnistrian representative considers that the establishment of the concrete blocks can be treated as an action of building fortifications in the security zone, which is prohibited by the agreement on principles regulating the armed conflict in the Transnistrian region of Moldova, signed in 1992. The request made by Transnistrian side was satisfied.
Legislative elections in Transnistria and the consequences on constitutional reform
On December 12, elections to the Supreme Soviet took place in Transnistrian region. 123 people ran for 43 MP seats. Those nearly 400,000 citizens eligible to vote cast their votes in 259 polling stations. The turnout represented only 42.6%, decreasing compared to previous elections. "Ravnopravie" Party that is a political expression of the "Sheriff" and competes with the political group affiliated to the head of Transnistrian administration Igor Smirnov, got the victory and the absolute majority in the Supreme Soviet. The fact that "Ravnopravie" obtained only a simple majority and not a constitutional one means that the political battle for amendments to Transnistrian Constitution returns to last year’s status quo. The intrigue of constitutional amendment is related to presidential elections to be held in the region in December 2011. Smirnov’s group is interested, in particular, to raise the residence census in region and to set the condition for mandatory holding of Transnistrian citizenship by people who aspire to high positions in the region. It is considered that by doing so Smirnov wants to protect his positions and of his entourage against any attempts by Moscow, which controls quasi-completely the region, to introduce changes in the Transnistrian leadership.
Action Plan to implement the European Commission’s recommendations for the establishment of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)
On December 2, the Government approved the Action Plan to implement the European Commission’s recommendations for the establishment of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the Republic of Moldova and European Union. The Action Plan was drafted by the Ministry of Economy, based on the recommendations made by an assessment mission of the European Commission experts, which took place on May 31 – June 2, 2010 in Chisinau. The recommendations refer to 13 areas of the national economy in order to approximate and adjust them to the European legislation:
- General coordination and strengthening of the administrative capacities
- Market access for goods / Statistics on trade
- Tariff and non-tariff barriers
- Technical barriers for trade
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
- Trade facilitation and customs administration
- Rules of origin
- Services and investments
- Intellectual property law
- Public procurement
- Sustainable development (Social and Labour Environment)
- Informing Transnistrian region about ZLSAC.
The actions provided by the plan will be implemented both from budgetary resources and with the European Union’s financial support.
ADEPT Note: Although it was approved on December 2, 2010, the Action Plan is not yet available on any one of the Government Web sites, thus violating the legislation on decision transparency.
The Second Ministerial Meeting of the Eastern Partnership
On December 13, Brussels hosted the Second Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of EU Member States and Eastern Partnership (EP) states. The meeting aimed to discuss the results obtained during the last year in implementing the Eastern Partnership and to prepare the agenda for the EP Summit to be held in May 2011, in Budapest. The discussions focused on the report prepared by the European Commission. Discussing about EP priorities for the foreseeable future, the Ministers stressed the need for further negotiation of Association Agreements, including on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, and / or Institutional Reform Plans. They also mentioned the fields that need further development within the EP, such as improving sectoral cooperation, facilitating the participation of the EP states to the EU programs, strengthening cooperation in the conflict prevention and resolution area, strengthening the role of civil society, easing the mobility for students, researchers and business people in the EU space. At the meeting, the representatives of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum presented to the Ministers the recommendations adopted at Berlin Forum.
Republic of Moldova – Russia
On December 4–5, the head of Russia’s presidential administration, Sergei Naryshkin, paid a visit to Chisinau, during which he met the Acting President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, PDM and PCRM leaders, Marian Lupu and Vladimir Voronin, respectively. Sergei Naryshkin did not meet PLDM leader Vlad Filat. This visit was an electoral one, to mediate the dialogue between PDM and PCRM leaders in establishing a pro-Russian governing coalition. Some political parties have criticized the Russian official’s visit, qualifying it as interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova. In reply Russian Ambassador to Moldova, Valery KuzminRU assured that the visit of Sergei Naryshkin is a prove of interest Moscow has in overcoming the political crisis in Moldova, stressing that "any power that will rule in the Republic of Moldova is convicted to have good relations with Russian Federation", as a result of the interest Moldova has in Russian retail markets, in Russian energy resources and employment of many Moldovan citizens that work in Russian Federation.
Republic of Moldova – Ukraine
Two weeks after the incident occurred at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border on November 15, when Ukrainian authorities, unilaterally, removed the border signs near Palanca village, Moldovan-Ukrainian consultations were held on this topic in Chisinau. The consultations were attended by the representatives of the EU Border Assistance Mission at the border between Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM). The parties discussed the ways to solve the problem and agreed that a joint group of experts would carry out a field visit, and in the second half of January 2010 to hold the meeting of the Joint Ukrainian-Moldovan Border Demarcation Commission.
However, Palanca territorial issues are far from being solved. Although in June 2010, after some Moldovan-Ukrainian consultations, the parties agreed on the draft Act on establishing the land borders of the plot land transferred to Ukrainian property and located in the Moldovan territory, crossed by the highway Odessa – Reni near Palanca village, the Ukrainian authorities also insist upon the alienation of the land situated under the highway Odessa – Reni, an act that contravene to the Constitution of Moldova. After Timoshenko Government renounced to its intention to influence Chisinau to alienate this land, by imposing a requirement to Moldovan citizens to present a compulsory sum of money at the entry in Ukraine, the new power in Kiev seems to be less friendly and open for negotiations in this regard. On December 16, 2010, Odessa regional council, upon the proposal made by a member of the council of the Party of Regions, adopted the decision to ask President Viktor YanukovichRU (the leader of the Party of Regions) to terminate the agreement by which Ukraine transferred to Moldova the land on which Giurgiulesti port was built, reasoning that Ukraine has not received yet the land under the highway Odessa-Reni.
At the same time, the recent statements and decisions by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich regarding foreign policy of Ukraine prove that the new government in Kiev wants to strengthen Ukraine’s position in the region. On December 14, Viktor Yanukovich signed a decree asking Foreign Ministry to draft the priorities of Ukraine as regards foreign policy till 2015 and to develop a strategy on Ukraine’s relations with Moldova and Romania in order to address bilateral issues in favour of Ukrainian national interest. According to a statement by Ukrainian PresidentRU "These countries (Romania and the Republic of Moldova) should feel that the time of an apathetic Ukraine passed and should start to look at Ukraine with new eyes … a big, strong and perspective state that is profitable and useful to be friendly with".
Studies, Analyses, Comments
Three "C" for restoring AEI
After three weeks from the parliamentary elections it remains unclear what kind of coalition the Republic of Moldova will have and for how long. Election results and statements of political leaders make possible only two coalition options