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Action and Solidarity Party and Platform “Dignity and Truth” become members of European People’s Party

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On December 5th, Moldova’s Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) led by Maia Sandu together with the Platform “Dignity and Truth” (PDA) led by Andrei Năstase were accepted as members of the European People’s Party family. The acceptance took place at the latest Political Assembly of EPP in Brussels.

According to EPP Spokesman, MEP Siegfried Mureșan, the objective of EPP in Moldova is clear: to win the Parliamentary elections in 2018 and to give Moldova a government that will bring it closer to Europe:

“The citizens of the Republic of Moldova deserve a better political class rather than the one they had until now”, wrote Mureșan in a Facebook post.

Until now, the Liberal-Democratic Party, formerly led by ex-PM Vlad Filat, and the European People’s Party, led by current Vice-Speaker of Parliament Iurie Leancă, were considered part of the EPP political family.

The Party of Action and Solidarity, led by former Education Minister Maia Sandu, was founded on 15 May 2016.

The Platform “Dignity and Truth” was founded on 15 February 2016 based on the support of the civic protesters in 2015.

Politics

100 days of the Chicu cabinet – opinions on achievements and failures

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The deputies of the political bloc ACUM have blocked, on Friday, the Parliament’s rostrum protesting against the Prime Minister Ion Chicu report on the Cabinet of Ministers first 100 days in office. The report was supposed to be presented during the parliamentary plenum, without any prior announcement, instead of the requested hearing of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aureliu Ciocoi.

The Ciocoi hearing in the Parliament was requested due to the scandal caused by the statements he made, several weeks ago, according to which the Russian army intervened in the Transnistria war “to stop the bloodshed.”

That angered the war veterans who demanded the minister’s resignation, while the political bloc ACUM brought a censure motion against the Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, the motion was not supported by democrats and socialists and the hearing was denied.

Because Parliament’s rostrum was blocked, Ion Chicu said he would present the activity report from his seat.

Chicu’s first 100 days in office

One of the greatest achievements announced by the Government led by Ion Chicu is the outstanding constructive cooperation of the Government with the Parliament and the Presidency. The President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, the President of the Parliament, Zinaida Greceanii and Prime Minister Ion Chicu traditionally hold a weekly meeting. Therefore, the topics announced by Dodon in press briefings are quickly approved by the Government, and even faster voted in the Parliament.

The Cabinet of Ministers led by Prime Minister Ion Chicu made several important promises at the begging of its mandate related to social and judicial reforms, transport infrastructure repair and modernisation, new funds invested in the country, etc.

Still, the reality presents a system that enables the Prosecutor General to be promptly elected in a questionable competition – 4 days after voting the new Cabinet of Ministers led by Ion Chicu, the new Minister of Justice, Fadei Nagacevschi, announced that the contest results, that were previously declared as vicious by the former Minister of Justice, have been declared valid and the new Prosecutor General was to be chosen from the list.

Also, it reveals a failure to establish a good relationship with foreign partners and to benefit from their support. Prime Minister Ion Chicu managed to pay official visits to the EU institutions in Strasbourg, as well as accompany the president of the country in his official visits to Russia and Turkey, as well as the Government managed to host several important visits of the IMF, EU institutions, the Venice Commission, etc.

Nevertheless, the recent message of Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Luc Pierre Devigne, to the Moldovan Government was clear: the EU support is and will be conditioned by the Government’s real achievements, not promises and excuses.

MPs positions

The deputies of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), who form the minority government, expressed their support for the Government led by Prime Minister Chicu. “We see that he [Ion Chicu] makes the maximum effort to start that engine of the national economy. He had several bilateral meetings with his counterparts from different states. […] Certainly this Government is much better than the previous one. Overall, I think it’s a good Government, based on the realities we have in the Republic of Moldova. […] There have been several social initiatives and there will be others that will come to improve the business environment. So it is a positive dynamic,” said the socialist MP Grigore Novac for ZdG.

The parliamentary opposition has a different opinion though. The representative of the Dignity and Truth Platform Party, Alexandru Slusariqualified the Government as an antisocial one. “It has enabled up to 45% increase in tariffs for interurban transport, reduction of payments for 400 thousand pensioners and significant and unjustified increase in fuel prices. It is a corrupt government that has organised a series of bids for road rehabilitation without funding sources and in violation of public procurement law. It took over from the government of Vladimir Plahotniuc many criminal economic schemes within the state-owned enterprises, especially in Metalferos. This government has done nothing to improve the investigation of the bank fraud. It is a government of international isolation.”

The democrats, as part of the former government, said that they had higher expectations regarding the implemented economic projects and judicial reforms, while there were irreparable errors in the state’s external relations.

Experts’ opinions

At the same time, the experts criticised the way the current Government handles the situation and its populist statements.

The political analyst Veaceslav Berbeca remarked that the actions of Chicu’s cabinet were always under the shadow of the president’s decisions. “The basic purpose of the Chicu Government is to do everything to secure a new mandate for Dodon. This Government is very dependent on Dodon’s whims, which is manifested especially in foreign policy,” the expert pointed out.

“The fact that the Government has a merely closed character and, therefore, does not have decisive support from external partners, is a minus, because it has not even managed to gather its internal resources to handle on its own,” commented the economic analyst Viorel Gârbu for ZdG.

“The Chicu government makes more populist statements to the detriment of executive power. He executes indications and is not responsible for the executive power. He has given the control of the Government to President Dodon,” affirmed the doctor in law Teodor Cârnaț.

Photo: sputnik.md

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EU official: “It’s been a long time we’ve been patient. We will judge the Government’s actions objectively.”

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Director for Russia, Eastern partnership, Central Asia and OSCE, and Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Luc Pierre Devigne, paid a visit to Chișinău today to participate in the 5th meeting of the EU-Moldova Association Committee.

He addressed a message to the Moldovan government during a press conference, criticising the way the reforms were implemented in the country, especially the way the famous bank fraud from Moldova, called also “the theft of the century” was investigated. Devigne considers inadmissible the fact that, after five years, the persons and companies that were involved in the fraud were not held accountable.

“It is unacceptable that after the theft of the billion was uncovered and deeply investigated by a leading financial investigation team – the Kroll company, whose findings were made publicly available, the investigation was still not finalised on various pretexts. We cannot believe that it is legally not possible to prosecute such a fraud.[…] It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that justice works in the country. We want to see an open and transparent process that includes not only the Government, but also the consultation of opposition, civil society and the EU institutions recommendations.” said Devigne.

The EU official told the Moldovan politicians: “It’s time for actions. It’s been a long time we’ve been supportive, we’ve been patient. Now, we will judge the Government’s actions objectively.”

“The EU has always supported the Republic of Moldova, but the EU cannot substitute for good governance and the actions that should be taken by the Government. Our support is not unconditional.”

He said that European assistance will depend on how laws and democratic standards will be respected in Moldova. Particularly, Luc Pierre Devigne mentioned that the Republic of Moldova should join the Anticorruption Network for an effective fight against corruption, strengthen independent media and improve the quality of life in the case of the Moldovan citizens.

Luc Pierre Devigne also referred to the subject of the Citizenship by Investment Law, on which the Government applied a moratorium, but only until February 24, 2020. The official was disappointed that people who obtained such kind of citizenship remained anonymous. “We do not see this as compatible with a serious and secure visa liberalisation regime. It’s a security issue.” highlighted Devigne.

One of the central messages of the EU delegation to Moldova concerned the importance of boosting the cooperation between Moldova and the community bloc.

At the same time, the Moldovan authorities reiterated their commitment to comply with the recommendations of international organisations such as the OSCE and the Venice Commission, and to ensure public consultations on major projects.

Photo: cotidianul.md

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Politics

Who is going to pay back the stolen billion? President Dodon proposed a new legislative measure

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A new legislative initiative was announced by the president of state, Igor Dodon. According to him, the burden of the robbed billion from the banking system placed on the shoulders of citizens will be reduced.

In October 2016, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova voted a bill, called unofficially “the Law of a Billion”, providing for the conversion into state debt of emergency loans of 13.5 billion lei, disbursed by the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) to the bankrupted banks involved in the “Great Moldovan Bank Robbery” that happened in 2014. The state debt, including the interest, was to be returned by the Moldovan citizens out of their paid taxes, over the next 25 years. The first payment of 668 million lei was made in October 2017. In 2018, another 827 million lei were paid. By 2041, a total of 24.5 billion lei will be paid. More details here.

“We promised previously to reduce or exclude the burden put on the shoulders of citizens following the stolen billion. At this stage we found the mechanisms needed to reduce this burden by 5-6 billion lei, so 25% – 30% of it. The project was also discussed with our external partners from the IMF, and is to be approved by the Government in the next few days, as well as submitted to Parliament for approval,” declared Dodon.

The whole mechanism idea is to transfer half of the profit of the National Bank of Moldova to the state budget.

The NBM management declared that the president’s legislative initiative is balanced and that it has been discussed with the experts from the IMF as well. “Such a distribution is possible by amending the Law on the National Bank of Moldova in order to introduce a model of phased and partial distribution of profits to the state budget until the level of 10% of the capital of the NBM is reached. This would be in line with international practices and could ensure the balance between the distribution of profits to the state budget and the gradual capitalisation of the National Bank,” declared the NBM representatives.

The mechanism proposed by President Dodon is not new for the Republic of Moldova. It was previously implemented and afterwards dropped out in 2003. “We already had such a mechanism. After 2003, this practice was stopped, as it was considered that the NBM profit should remain with the NBM in order to strengthen the capacity of the institution, so that it can intervene on the currency or monetary market in case of a crisis,” claimed the economic expert Veaceslav Ioniță.

According to the economic expert, the solution proposed by the head of state could have negative consequences in the event of an economic crisis, when the NBM would have to intervene and the Government would have to cover the NBM’s financial needs. The expert said the president’s solution could raise several questions from the IMF: “I think we will have to provide explanations to the IMF because it was the IMF that said not to take the NBM profit in the state budget, and we are going back to what it was.” 

The Dodon’s initiative was also criticised by the political opposition of the government. “The transfer of some income from one pocket of the state to another does not mean easing the burden placed on citizens. The solution for the Law (of a Billion) is to recover the money from those who stole it. […] The tactic of Igor Dodon is actually removing the money from the National Bank’s reserves to finance the huge expenses of the current government in the election year. The Moldovan Government has never planned to spend so much money, that has uncertain funding sources,” said former Minister of Finance Natalia Gavriliță.

Photo: unknown source

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