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Politics

Denigrating attacks against Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase during the counter-manifestation in front of the Government

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Yesterday, the opposition bloc ‘ACUM’ has organized a flashmob against rising fuel prices, in front of the Government. At the same time, several unknown people organized a counter-manifestation in which they chanted slogans anti-Maia Sandu and anti-Andrei Nastase.

Some of the so-called protesters were very young, others hiding their identity with medicinal masks and sunglasses. They used vuvuzelas and screaming indecent, insulting messages on behalf of the ‘ACUM’ bloc.

Later on, Action and Solidarity leader Maia Sandu blamed the action on the ruling party – Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party of Moldova.

Image result for plahotniuc

“By not having political solutions to get out of the crisis in which he has just led the country, Plahotniuc tries to climb spirits in society, spreading fear,” says Sandu.

The underage people and students who came to the counter-manpower refused to say who they were the organizers of the action in front of the Government.

The officers who arrived at the site separated the two groups. When asked by journalists why he did not intervene in the case of this counter-victory, the deputy head of the General Police Inspectorate, Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, declared that the police had taken measures to separate the two camps in order to prevent violent clashes and that the police are acting to establish “if they are” the people who led these counter-manifestations.

ACUM in fata Guvernului RM

Geplaatst door Nicolae Josan op Donderdag 23 mei 2019

Yesterday, the bloc ‘ACUM’ organized a flashmob in front of the Government of the Republic of Moldova against a substantial increase in prices for gasoline, diesel and agricultural products.

Photo source: Lucia Tăut

Economy

Cahul and Ungheni – two districts from Moldova that benefit from the programme “EU4Moldova: focal regions”

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Citizens and local communities in the area of Ungheni and Cahul are currently beneficiaries of the project “EU Focal Regions: Cahul and Ungheni, inclusive economic empowerment of focal regions in the Republic of Moldova”, which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with some components by UNICEF, and funded by the European Union.

The total budget of the programme is 23,5 million euros, having a duration of  7 years, between 2019 to 2025.

The programme aims to strengthen the economic, territorial and social cohesion in the Republic of Moldova through facilitating inclusive, sustainable and integrated local socio-economic growth and improving the standards of living of the citizens in the so called “micro – region” area of Ungheni and Cahul, as it is described on the official page eu4moldova.md.

EU4Moldova: focal regions programme will have an impact on the regions at 3 levels:

the level of government – to improve the necessary services and the needed infrastructure

the level of private sector – to stimulate private investment, improve the economy and create employment opportunities for men and women

the population level – to strengthen citizens participation in democratic governance processes and strengthen their capacities to demand their rights, as it is specified on the UNDP in Moldova page.

First, the pilot programme was launched in Cahul on January 17. The initiative aims to accelerate systemic change through the synergy of previous, current and future EU-funded initiatives, as well as other projects undertaken by donors, development partners and public institutions. On January 24, the second initiative of the programme was launched in Ungheni.

Launch of the programme EU4Moldova: focal regions in Cahul| source: eu4cahul.md

“I am proud to launch this ambitious EU initiative. The EU invests substantial resources to involve citizens and localities in building strong partnerships based on shared values. This programme aims to improve the daily life of citizens. I am convinced that together we will transform the cities of Cahul and Ungheni into smart, inclusive and sustainable growth poles of Moldova,” said Peter Michalko, Head of the EU delegation  to the Republic of Moldova.

The target regions will also contribute to increasing the investment and entrepreneurial attractiveness by promoting their role as growth poles, but also by leveraging the smart specialisation of the economy, creating new attractive job opportunities.

Launch of the programme EU4Moldova: focal regions in Ungheni| source: eu4ungheni.md


Objectives:

  • To strengthen transparency, accountability of local public authorities and citizen participation in local governance processes in the focal regions;
  • To improve citizens’ access to quality public services and utilities in the focal regions;
  • To create employment opportunities for men and women in the focal regions and improve the attractiveness of the focal regions for investors and entrepreneurs;
  • To promote the smart specialisation of the economy of the focal regions through the development of the clustering and value chain approach in key economic sectors.

Expected results:

  • The institutional capacities of local governments from Cahul and Ungheni micro-regions will be increased to support the implementation of locally-driven environmentally compliant socio-economic development strategy for integrated local growth and development;
  • Improved and broader stakeholder (e.g. citizens, youth CSOs, private sector) engagement in the planning and monitoring of the socio-economic development strategy;
  • Enhanced partnership of local development stakeholders (LPAs – private sector – community groups) in Cahul and Ungheni micro-regions;
  • The citizens from micro-regions of Cahul and Ungheni will benefit from increased quality and availability of public service delivery and increased performance of local public utilities;
  • Micro-regions of Cahul and Ungheni will boost their territorial competitiveness and become more attractive for investment, job creation and entrepreneurship;
  • The economies of Cahul and Ungheni micro-regions will embrace a smart economic specialization development approach and will increase the business performance of their key- economic sectors.

Both the initiative from Ungheni and that from Cahul include smaller projects such as the European Union Strategy for Youth for the period 2019-2027, regarding the improvement of social services, such as education, protection for adolescents and children, childcare, as well as youth empowerment and participation.

Other initiatives funded by the EU include the project implemented by UN Women on capacity building in the area of gender equality in the districts of Cahul and Ungheni, with a budget of 5.25 million euros. The project will focus on promoting gender-sensitive local policies and preventing domestic violence.

The programme EU4Moldova: focal regions has as partners the EU Delegation to Moldova, UNICEF, Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, the State Chancellery, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, central and local governmental authorities from the Ungheni and Cahul focal regions, civil society groups and organisations, private sector and business associations, Agency for Public Services, Agency for Electronic Governance, Regional Development Agencies for South and Center, Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova, the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises Sector, citizens.

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Society

Figures// A worsened Corruption Perceptions Index for Moldova in 2019

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On January 23, 2020 Transparency International released the Corruption Perception Index for 2019 (CPI 2019). According to the report, over 2/3 of the countries included in the ranking are stagnating or showing signs of regress in their anti-corruption efforts.

In 2019, Moldova registered a score of 32 points, being ranked 120th out of 180 countries. The score for Moldova worsened as compared to the 2018 year, when the country recorded 33 points, whereas improved when confronted to the data from 2017 – 31 points and 2016 – 30 points. For comparison, such neighbouring countries as Romania ranked 70th, Ukraine – 126th, Russia – 137th, Georgia – 44th and Belarus – 66th.

source: transparency.org

Over 2/3 of the countries included in the CPI 2019 ranking have a score below 50 points, the average score being only 43 points. Leading countries regarding the CPI 2019 ranking are Denmark and New Zealand (87 points both) and Finland (86 points), while such countries as Syria, South Sudan and Somalia, recorded a score of 13, 12 and 9 points respectively.

According to the TI report, in the last eight years, only 22 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Greece, Guyana and Estonia, while nearly 20 countries fell significantly in the ranking, including Australia, Canada, France and Great Britain. Germany and Japan kept the same positions.

One of the most important observations of the TI report is that countries where campaign finance regulations are comprehensive and systematically enforced have an average score of 70 on the CPI, whereas countries where such regulations either don’t exist or are poorly enforced score an average of just 34 and 35 respectively.

source: transparency.org

Regarding the evolution of the Republic of Moldova, TI Moldova declared the year 2019 a difficult one: “three governments changed; a situational alliance was formed that removed the oligarch in power; new laws began to be adopted, being designed to dismantle the oligarchic regime. Unfortunately, after breaking the government coalition, the priorities of the new government were immediately reconfigured,” is stated in a press release of Transparency International (TI) Moldova.

Specifically, TI Moldova referred to the report of the parliamentary commission regarding the fraud of banking system that remained without the due attention, the stagnation  of the reform of judiciary, as well as the slow process of recovering the fraudulent money. “In order to support the democratic rule of law in the Republic of Moldova, the countries of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership must develop and adopt laws similar to the Magnitsky Act, applying traffic restrictions and freezing the assets of corrupt people, strengthening the legal framework for preventing money laundering, promoting the activity of the newly created European Public Prosecutor’s Office and facilitating the recovery of fraudulent assets.”

source: transparency.org

The Corruption Perceptions Index aggregates data from a number of different sources that provide perceptions by business people and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector. The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Photo: transparency.org

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Justice

Secretary General of the CoE: “The perception of corruption in Moldova remains high, including in respect of the judiciary.”

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After an working group created by the Council of Europe (CoE) paid a visit to Chișinău, between December 20-21, for offering assistance regarding the implementation of judicial reform in Moldova, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, issued an official statement, stressing the fact that the judicial reform must reflect the country’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe delegation had meetings with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Speaker of Parliament, the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Appointments and Immunities, the Constitutional Court, the Prosecutor General, the Superior Councils of the Magistracy and of Prosecutors, the National Institute of Justice, serving judges – including from the Supreme Court –  and civil society organisations. The conclusions drawn after all the meetings were transmitted to the Secretary General, who stated the following:

“Our experts concluded that a clear strategic concept for the desired changes should be drawn up as the basis for the work to follow, including at the legislative level. This concept should have the active support of all stakeholders and reflect the country’s obligations as a Council of Europe member State.  The concept should provide a proper strategic vision for the planned reforms and be based on a thorough needs assessment justifying and explaining the legislative and policy initiatives that are to follow. The institutions concerned will have to work together constructively and without haste to achieve these important goals.

According to our experts, the perception of corruption unfortunately remains high, including in respect of the judiciary. Measures should be taken to implement GRECO recommendations on preventing corruption with regard to judges and prosecutors, notably to prevent the appointment and promotion to judicial positions of candidates with integrity risks.

More broadly, the effectiveness of the anti-corruption framework should be strengthened and the independence and capacity of the main institutions in charge of preventing and fighting corruption should be guaranteed.

All reform measures must respect the Constitution and any elements of the reform that are not in accordance with the Constitution should be preceded by a constitutional amendment, itself in line with European standards. The Republic of Moldova should implement the recommendations set out in the Opinions of the Venice Commission when it comes to the role and mandate of the Superior Council of Magistracy and steps to renew the judiciary or ensure its integrity. It is important to ensure that all actions are appropriate and proportionate to the aim, and to clearly distinguish between matters that relate to the integrity of judges and those that relate to their competence.

Before considering any large-scale evaluation, full use should be made of the procedures that are already available for ensuring the integrity of the judiciary, notably criminal and/or disciplinary proceedings in cases of specific misconduct including corruption and effectively enforcing an asset declaration scheme.

Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) provide a binding framework as regards removals, assessments and transfers of judges. A general re-evaluation exercise for judges and prosecutors is likely to lead to numerous applications before the ECtHR by those who have been dismissed or transferred as well as disrupting the functioning of the judicial system. The Ad Hoc Working Group therefore recommends utmost caution before considering any such initiatives,” is mentioned in the statement.

The CoE working group recommended that the Moldovan authorities work proactively to ensure the widest possible consensus for all reform measures as well as the involvement and endorsement of the institutions and professional groups concerned. The CoE representatives  expressed their readiness to continue the work with the authorities in order to ensure the independence, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary, the Secretary General statement announced.


Also today, the members of the Cabinet of Ministers approved the bill regarding the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, in aspects related to the activity of judges, the Superior Council of Magistracy and provisions that would allow the president of the country to directly appoint judges.

A first bill’s provision refers to the exclusion of the initial term of five years of judges’ appointment, as a probationary period. Currently, judges are initially appointed for a period of five years. Only if they carry out their activity properly during this period, the judges are appointed until the age of 65 is reached.

Another amendment that is intended to be introduced is the formula according to which the judges from the Supreme Court would be appointed by the president of the country, at the proposal of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM), the president having the right to refuse the SCM candidatures only once. Currently, the judges from the Supreme Court are appointed by the Parliament.

Also, the Government proposed to supplement the Constitution with a new article that would stipulate that the Superior Council of Magistracy is the guarantor of the independence of the judicial authority.

Another provision concerns the composition of the SCM, as it is proposed that half of the SCM members should be judges and all institution’s members should be elected for a period of 6 years, instead of 4 years as it is now.

The bill lastly contains amendments of Constitution in terms of regulating the functional immunity of judges, that would benefit from functional immunity only while performing their direct job tasks. Therefore, passive corruption, abuse of power, bribery, and similar misconducts wouldn’t be considered as acts committed within the legal exercise of their functions.

Photo: coe.int

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