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Report: Use of Latin script for the “Moldovan language” is punished with €50 fines in Transnistria

The use of the Latin alphabet for “Moldovan language” can be punished with a fine of over €50 in Transnistria, reads a Promo-LEX report, which shows that no improvements have been made in the first half of this year on the human rights situation on the left bank of the Nistru river.

€50 fine for using the Latin alphabet

The right to education has numerous restrictions in the region, especially when it comes to the Latin writing. Thus, the simple use of the Latin alphabet for “Moldovan” language can be punished with a fine of over €50. In the case of the “Evrica” Lyceum in Ribnita, the institution is obliged to pay more than €30,000 for renting the space, annually.

Thousands of farmers  cannot get their land back for 13 years

The inhabitants of the Dubasari district have been left without their agricultural land for 13 years, while the so-called Transnistrian administration has leased these lands to local economic agents. The problem is growing when it becomes known that these lands have an area of about 6,500 hectares – almost half of the territory of this district.

Authorities have no tangible results

Although President Igor Dodon seems to have established a friendly relationship with representatives of the Tiraspol regime following meetings with Putin and other officials in the Kremlin administration, no concrete approaches have emerged. For their part, officials from the Reintegration Bureau, after about 50 meetings with foreign partners, have not established any effective mechanism for observing or ensuring human rights in the region.

Moreover, in the first half of 2017, the European Court issued four judgments in the case of the rights of the inhabitants of the left bank of the Nistru river, which forced Russia to pay victims over €200,000. On the other hand, following the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which declared illegal troops and military bases stationed on the territory of Moldova, Tiraspol made available mechanisms for the Russian soldiers to obtain citizenship of the self-proclaimed republic.

According to Promo-LEX, “the rulings need to be promoted more intensely by the relevant institutions so that effective methods of observing and defending human rights in the Transnistrian region are found.” Otherwise, the situation in which the those who need help are discouraged from asking for it, and those guilty of committing violations are not held accountable.

However, violations found could be remedied more quickly if international organizations (the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union) put pressure on the regional administration in the defense of the journalists, NGOs, and lawyers. As a result, experts could come up with clear and good solutions for guaranteeing human rights in the Transnistrian region.

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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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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.

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New round of 5+2 talks to take place in Vienna during November 27-28

A new round of 5+2 negotiations will take place in Vienna during November 27-28. The information was communicated to IPN by Moldova’s Minister for Reintegration and chief negotiator, George Balan, who received the invitation on the afternoon of November 14th.

According to Balan, Moldova’s proposals for the agenda of the 5+2 meeting will include the “Berlin plus” package (Berlin protocol): the problem of access to farmlands, the situation of Latin script Romanian-language schools, and the movement of vehicles registered in the Transnistrian region.

The invitation was reportedly made by the mediators to the Transnistrian conflict settlement talks Russia, Ukraine, and OSCE.

5+2 negotiations regard the talks on the conflict resolution between the separatist authorities of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic and the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldova, together with the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine as mediators, and the EU and the US as observers.

The latest round of the 5+2 talks was held in Bavaria in July 2016.

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