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EU advises Moldova not to adopt mixed electoral system and instead implement Venice Commission recommendations

On June 19th, the spokesperson of the European External Action Service issued a statement in regard to the opinion of the Venice Commission and the ODIHR on the draft law for changing the electoral system in Moldova.

Emphasizing that the choice of electoral system is a sovereign decision of a state, the EEAS declares that it shares the view of the Commission and the ODIHR that the proposed changes to the electoral system would raise serious concerns in the political context, taking in account the lack of meaningful consultation and broad consensus. The EEAS reminds that the concerns regarding the proposal mixed electoral system are significant: risks of influence on candidates and on the design of single-mandate constituencies, excessive thresholds for parliamentary representation in the proportional component and risks of inadequate representation of minorities and women. Moreover, it draws the attention to the fact that previous recommendations to the electoral process were not addressed by the Moldovan authorities.

In the end, the EEAS repeated the opinion of the Venice Commission and called the proposed change not advisable this time.

A similar position was expressed by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, when meeting on June 20th the Moldovan Prime-Minister Pavel Filip. Tusk asked Filip to fully take on board Venice Commission advice on election law.

On June 21st, Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn also strongly advised Filip to take fully into account all recommendations of Venice Commission. Moreover, Hahn recommends Moldovan authorities to cooperate with the constitutional law body of the Council of Europe and commit to European values like democracy and human rights.

Some fear that the European Union might cancel its 100 million euros assistance to the Republic of Moldova because of lack of internal consensus on the electoral system switch. Even Parliament speaker Andrian Candu expressed some concern on EU’s position: “We believe that the European Union will not make conditional the cooperation with the Republic of Moldova because it would mean involvement in the internal policy of our country and ignoring the opinion of the majority of people”.

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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