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2017 Eastern Partnership Summit ends: EU encourages EaP countries to continue reforms, acknowledges “European choice” of MD, UA, GE

Representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the representatives of the European Union and the Heads of State or Government and representatives of its Member States have met in Brussels on 24 November 2017. During their meeting, they agreed on a joint declaration on the Eastern Partnership.

The declaration, however, does not bring new dimensions to the Eastern Partnership. Everyone reconfirmed their commitment and the high importance they attach to the Partnership. The EU, in particular, reaffirmed its commitment to support the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all its partners- a hint on Ukraine’s hybrid war with Russia. Due to the fact that 5 out of 6 EaP countries have such problems, the Summit participants called for renewed efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts, though not named in the declaration, in the region on the basis of international law.

In the declaration, the European Union and its Member States acknowledged the European aspirations and European choice of partners who signed association agreements with the EU, namely Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine; while recognizing the right for other partners to choose the level of ambition they aspire to in their relations with the EU. Some compared these statements as being too similar to those from the Riga Summit in 2015.

The 20 deliverables for 2020 framework was welcomed as the way to improve the lives of citizens of the Eastern European states in four priority areas with a focus on good governance, better transport links, energy security, independent media and people mobility.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk, made it clear that the Eastern Partnership will develop on both economic and societal dimensions:

“We want to reinforce Eastern Partnership cooperation in a number of specific areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises, digital economy, broadband investments, and investments in transport, energy and infrastructure projects. The list is long. But above all, we want to strengthen links between our citizens and give more support to civil society”, said Tusk, alongside with Estonia’s PM Juri Ratas and EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker at the closing press conference.

In the margins of the summit, the EU and Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, as well as an Aviation Agreement.

Moldova’s Prime-Minister Pavel Filip underlined that this EaP Summit was important for all the partners to reevaluate the partnership, its aims, and its future. According to him, the Partnership is very important for Moldova in this critical period of difficult reforms unpopular decisions. However, at the arrival in the morning, Filip, did not approach the journalists and just passed them smiling, as compared to representatives of other states.

The EaP was launched in 2009 to promote the political association and economic integration between the EU and the six Eastern European partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

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2018 World Press Freedom Index: Moldova down to position 81

2 May 2018- Reporters without Borders (RSF) published their 2018 index of freedom of the press around the world.

The ranking of 2018 places Moldova on the 81st place, 1 position down compared to 2017 (80) with a score of 30,41 (-0,40).

RSF did not change its position on the media ownership and polarization in Moldova:

Moldova’s media are diversified but extremely polarized, like the country itself, which is characterized by chronic instability and the excessive influence of its oligarchs. The editorial line of the leading media outlets correlates closely with the political and business interests of their owners. Journalistic independence and media ownership transparency are major challenges. As media outlets battle with each other in a climate exacerbated by the Ukrainian crisis, the broadcasting regulatory authority’s lack of independence and excesses in the “fight against propaganda” continue to be a source of concern.

Romania was ranked 44th with 23,65 points, Ukraine 101st with 31,16 points, while Russia 148th with 49,96 points.

According to RSF, the freest media can be found in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland. The countries with the worst media freedom ranking are Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.

The RSF underlines in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index that the global situation of the press is worsening, especially in Europe:

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The entry procedure on the left bank of the Nistru River will be simplified

The leader of the self-proclaimed Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselski, signed an order establishing simplified control procedures at the entrance to the region. The decision comes in the context of winter holidays. The simplified procedures will be valid for the period December 30 – January 15, IPN reports on the regional press.

Krasnoselski also wanted to temporarily open additional ways of crossing the means of transport with passengers through the following points: Valea Adâncă-Zagnitkov, Ploti-Krutîe, Vinogradnoe-Novîi Butorî, Gruşca-Nemirovka, Krasnî Oktiabri-Vetrujeni, Raşcov-Vadul -Rascov, Ţîbulevka-Ţehanovka, Teia-Calfa.

Passengers, citizens of Ukraine and of the Republic of Moldova, will present the identity document or the document confirming the residence visa in one of the neighboring localities. Also, at all checkpoints, a simplified regime of goods verification will be applied during this period, except for those that are forbidden in the Transnistrian region.

Source: IPN

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Chișinău and Tiraspol sign protocols to solve issues of Latin script schools, telecommunication, diploma recognition and land ownership

On November 25th, the political negotiators of the Republic of Moldova and the separatist Transnistrian administration met in Bender to discuss technical issues ahead of the upcoming 5+2 negotiations in Vienna.

Accompanied by 5+2 mediators and observers, Reintegration Minister George Balan and the so-called “foreign minister” Vitalyi Ignatiev signed 4 protocols elaborated at the expert groups level. The protocols focus on 4 key issues:

  • Recognition of diplomas issued by education institutions in the Transnistrian region– the parties agreed to Chișinău accepting (apostillation) a neutral diploma issued in Transnistria;
  • Elimination of barriers in the telecommunication domain- establishing a direct connection of fixed and the mobile telephone network, as well as internet, after the negotiations between operators on both banks of Nistru river;
  • Elimination of barriers to the functioning of Romanian language (Latin script) schools in Transnistria- setting minimal rent and utility prices for the buildings rented out to these schools, setting 10 years as the minimal rent period for the buildings, providing the adjacent lands in use to the schools, providing conditions for free movement of teachers and pupils of these schools, but also the needed materials for their functioning;
  • Allowing farmers to use their lands across Tiraspol-Camenca road in Dubăsari district- applying the “2006 Mechanism” of distributing the lands to those persons owning them initially, stopping the use of lands by Transnistrian firms or persons (2014 distribution), stopping the penal cases against the latter by Chișinău.

Solutions to these problems are expected to be delivered by the joint expert groups.

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