Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

Republic of Moldova shall join EU one day, somehow…

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Igor Botan / June 30, 2008
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Updated European integration guidelines

President Vladimir Voronin chaired a sitting of the National Commission for European integration on July 25, 2008. In all likelihood, the sitting was set over the expiration of the November 28, 1994 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between European Communities and their member states, on one hand, and the Republic of Moldova, on the other hand. As it was said at the May 27, 2008 Meeting of the Moldova-European Union Cooperation Council that reflections on the future cooperation document to be signed between EU and Moldova will begin in July, basic guidelines should be established. In this regard, President Voronin has stressed the following facts:

By establishing these guidelines, President Voronin has proved consistency, but especially purposefulness, almost reconciling everybody. Thus, 70–75 percent of Moldovan citizens who want their country to join the EU, accordingly to surveys, may be quiet: Moldova’s strategic course is stable and unchanged — accession to the EU. This is good for the rating of the ruling party. Russia, the strategic partner of Moldova, does not have reasons to invent new ways to press the ally which does not have plans to join the NATO. This is also good for the rating of the ruling party. Eurosceptics from Moldova and other countries may be also quite: planning the things without establishing terms leaves room for optimism that these actions will be never taken. Nor this endangers the rating of the ruling party. Finally, the EU may be content that it could have a relatively quiet neighbour at the border for which the perspective to join the community one day would be a “stimulus for qualitative developments.” Nor this one endangers the rating of the ruling party. The Moldovan opposition may only learn from the ruling party how to make policy without undermining the rating.

However, the Solomon-style wisdom of President Voronin when saying that “Moldova does not have why to be more modest” than Ukraine, which seeks an “association agreement” with the EU to be signed next, is somehow unreal, given circumstances that make Moldova stay more “modest” than Ukraine. Firstly, Ukrainian authorities are decided to bring their country into NATO in order to advance more quickly towards EU standards, as well as to ensure its security, and this made Russia angry, starting an unprecedented propagandistic war against Ukraine and threatening it with the disintegration. Secondly, Ukraine’s ambitions are proportional to its importance for the regional security, including the Transnistrian settlement. Ukraine’s determination to join Euro-Atlantic structures and its importance for the regional security are so different from those of Moldova that the latter should be more modest when claiming to be treated on an equal footing, particularly when taking actions to undermine the Ukraine-led GUAM. Thirdly, the EU appreciates Ukraine’s progresses in implementing the Action Plan more highly than those made by Moldova. In spite of deceptions over the lack of a stable majority in the Ukrainian Parliament, the quality of the Ukrainian political class in general, democratic processes in this country are more developed than in Moldova. See below examples denying that the existence of a unichromatic and stable majority in the Moldovan Parliament would ensure high-quality legislation. In addition, in Ukrainian case, the EU is not conditioning the advancement of bilateral relations with free and fair elections.

Collapse of the myth of qualitative Moldovan legislation

The advancement of Moldova-EU relations is conditioned with the conduct of the spring 2009 parliamentary elections in compliance with necessary standards. Preparations for the parliamentary elections have started and they traditionally revealed the vulnerabilities of Moldovan democracy. Some developments this month have announced a possible destabilisation of political situation in Moldova, in particular, the crisis in the Chisinau Municipal Council; the crisis in the People’s Assembly of the Gagauz autonomy; increasing protesting potential of retirees and patent holders, etc. These and other developments may have a significant impact on polarisation of the public on diverse criteria, and thus, on electoral options of citizens, electoral process in general.

Although one cannot deny that the implementation of the Moldova-EU Action Plan (EUMAP) contributed to the improvement of legal framework in diverse areas, one would not exaggerate to affirm that the essence of the conflicts noted above has destroyed the myth that the amelioration was essential and there is only a deficit to adequately apply the legislation. The conflict around the dismissal of the Chisinau Municipal Council head on June 6, 2008 is a direct consequence of the absence of a new law on status of the Chisinau municipality. The necessity of adopting such a law is stipulated express by the law on local public administration, it is a commitment assumed by Moldova in front of the Council of Europe and it was included in a planning act that the Parliament chairman has assured to have been honoured exactly[1].

The conflict related to the election of the Gagauz People’s Assembly Chairperson is generally similar to the one in the Chisinau Municipal Council in terms that the deliberative forums had by two chairpersons each, due to the lack of express and clear regulations in both cases, and this emerged into dangerous conflicts for the political stability. The faults of the Gagauz legislation are linked to a very special topic, but it should be noted that the Moldovan Parliament had a special programme to assist the People’s Assembly, harmonise norms and share good practices. In all likelihood, the Chisinau legislature did not honour all commitments. The two examples stress that the local autonomy, on of the main pillars of modern democracy, is very fragile.

In this context, the initiative by the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM) to modify the Constitution through a referendum revealed that Moldovan citizens cannot exercise the direct democracy, which means they cannot initiate a referendum. This is impossible because the law on administrative-territorial organisation of Moldova restricts Article 141 of the Constitution. The discrepancy between the spirit and letter of the law is so large that it is hard to realise whether Moldovan legislators ignore this deliberately or not. This constitutional article stipulates that “at least 200,000 citizens of Moldova allowed to cast their ballots may initiate the revision of Constitution. Citizens who initiate the revision of Constitution shall be residents of at least half of 2nd-level administrative territorial units and at least 20,000 signatures shall be collected in each of them to back this initiative…” Thus, a territorial-administrative structure with a number of units which may vary around a fixed number is actually required. In 2000, when this article of Constitution was modified, Moldova had 12 2nd-level administrative units. Therefore, constitutional regulations fit the logic that the approximate minimum norm of signatures needed to initiate a referendum is 10 percent of the overall number of electors both on country in general (there are approximately 2.4 million electors in Moldova) and on administrative-territorial unit in particular.

Following the administrative-territorial reorganisation in 2003, the number of territorial units was raised up to 32. Of course, the obligation to collect by at least 20,000 signatures in minimum half of 2nd-level administrative territorial units (districts) did not make sense any longer. To make clear, 60,000 citizens on average hold the right to vote in 30 districts (except for municipalities of Chisinau and Balti resided by approximately 1/3 of Moldovan citizens). Collecting 20,000 signatures from approximately 1/3 of the number of citizens who hold the right to vote in districts while another 1/3 left for abroad means indeed to collect the signatures of ½ of residents from at least 15 districts and this is almost impossible, and it would be a people’s referendum based on constituency.

There are lots of such examples, revealing problems in other areas as well. The latest one is the way Moldovan legislators have cooperated with editors to work out amendments to the law on publishing. After consultations, editors have been surprised to discover that the draft voted in the first reading ignored their initiatives, promoting clauses which actually introduce the censorship and discriminate private editors in front of state fellows.


  1. Under PD 284/11.11.2005, the law on status of the Chisinau municipality surveyed by CoE should be adopted by Parliament by July 2006, but it is unavailable so far. Speaker Marian Lupu statedRO on February 7, 2008 that “…the programme on cooperation with the Council of Europe has been fulfilled and there is just one thing left … the Education Code
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