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Economy

Good news! A motorway that connects European Union and Republic of Moldova could be built

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On November 7th, the representatives of the Romanian parliament adopted a law that enables the construction of a 318 km long motorway on the territory of Romania. 261 deputies out of 268 voted for promulgating of the respective law.

According to the designed project, the motorway will make the connection between a planned bridge at the border with Republic of Moldova and the A3 motorway Brașov-Borș in the neighbourhood of the city Târgu-Mureș. The most difficult segment of the road to be constructed will lay in the mountain area, where tunnel digging, and viaduct building will be needed.

The total planned cost for the motorway construction is estimated to be four billion dollars. The main financing sources include the Romanian Government budget through the Transportation Ministry budget, external loans, as well as European grants and/or public-private partnerships.

The planned motorway from Targu-Mures to the border of Republic of Moldova| Photo source: realitateafinanciara.net

During the implementation of the project, the yearly government budget law will specify the amount of appropriations that will be allocated to this objective, according to the financial necessities communicated by the Transportation Ministry. The latter will be responsible for the coordination of the works and for starting the procedures required for the investment within 30 days following the date of entry into force of the law.

The law in question was initiated by 70 senators and deputies from all parties that are members of the Romanian parliament. It was especially supported by the members of NLP (National Liberal Party) and SRU (Save Romania Union) that displayed unionist messages like “Moldova asks for the highway” and “The highway of the Great Union.” More information on the topic here.

As the motorways are designed for high speed vehicular traffic, they need a special infrastructure and a higher amount of investments than any other type of roads. In the European Union the number of motorways has tripled in the last 30 years, the most extensive motorway networks being in Germany, France and Spain, according to Eurostat.

Total length of motorways map (km) 2016| Photo source: ec.europa.eu

In Romania, the total length of the motorways is more than 786 km, according to the most recent data and the network is still planned to be extended.

Romania ‘s motorway map 2018| Photo source: 130km.ro

Republic of Moldova has no built motorways until this moment.

Featured photo source: startrescue.co.uk

Economy

Coronavirus drains the wine industry

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Until the coronavirus pandemic, the Moldovan wine industry was flourishing. In 2019, Moldova exported 15,67 million decalitres of wine, while the total exports’ value reached 3,086 billion lei. Most of the Moldovan wine arrived in China, Romania, and the Russian Federation.

In a country where winegrowing accounts for 7% of total exports and 3% of the country’s GDP, the coronavirus pandemic has hit small producers hard, disrupting the plans of the big players of the industry as well.

About five wineries were forced to temporarily cease their activity, as their employees were massively infected with COVID-19.

On April 25, villages of Etulia and Cismichioi, from Vulcanesti district, were put into quarantine. That happened after four locals who were employed at Etulia Winery, which is part of Bostavan Wineries Group, tested positive for COVID-19. Next, it was decided to test all employees and their relatives for coronavirus – a total of 174 persons, out of which 77 were infected.

Source: Wine of Moldova

“Wine products are not essential”

83% of the wine produced in the Republic of Moldova last year was exported. Data for March showed that export volume decreased by 9% and export value by 11%, as compared to the same period in 2019.

According to the evaluations made by the National Office for Vine and Wine (NOVV), this year exports of wine products may decrease by 30% or even 50%, as compared to 2019.

Head of the Policy and Regulation Service in the Field of Wine Products Sector within the Ministry of Agriculture, Liliana Dascaliuc, said that exports were reduced by 20% in the first three months of 2020, although the data are preliminary. “Winegrowing will be affected in the same way as the entire agriculture, even the whole economy. Wine and wine products are not essential,” commented the expert.

Zero income

Vlada Vutcarau is the co-founder of the ATU urban winery, a family business that produces up to 40 000 bottles a year. The coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency have reduced sales by 90%, while the tourism activity has zero income. “We are talking about huge losses. We continue to produce, but the revenues come from sales, not from production,” explained Vlada.

Facebook| ATU Winery

However, there is a positive aspect – according to the young woman – the business has moved online and “we focused on the local producer. When buying local, we invest in our people and the money stays in the country.”

88% of Moldovan companies are negatively affected by the declining demand for products and services, said a study of the US Chamber of Commerce.

So, the authorities have implemented some measures to support economic agents, including wineries. These measures include reducing the VAT rate from 20% to 15% for the hotels, restaurants and catering sector.

The co-founder of ATU winery, Vlada Vutcarau, claimed that the supporting state measures do not help them that much.

“We do not receive visitors. Therefore, we do not generate VAT. This reduction does not provide any benefit at the moment, because we do not record any income anyway. We do not have the revenue, from which to save those 5% and distribute them to salaries.”

She also believes that the measures announced by the authorities represent political games and the state avoids taking responsibility. “Maybe it can’t afford it.”

Trouble never comes alone, as the co-founder of the winery believes. This year’s drought worries her just as much. “Time will tell us what we will be able to harvest this autumn. There could be an even bigger crisis,” she said.

Source: Facebook| ATU Winery

Corn instead of grapes

On April 10, the Commission for Emergency Situations adopted Provision No. 16. One of the included regulations concerned the subsidy mechanism for economic agents: the enterprises that have totally or partially stopped their activity would be granted a subsidy in the amount of the paid income tax, along with other social contributions.

The director of the Milestii Mici winery, Viorel Garaz, wondered if the state has financial resources to subsidise entrepreneurs. “As long as the economic agents do not work at all or carry their activity to a very small extent, their contributions to the state budget are very small. If the subsidies are not paid immediately, the companies will shut down their activity and will no longer need them,” explained the specialist.

The Milestii Mici winery produced almost 1,2 million bottles of wine in 2019, out of which almost 60% were exported. Following the pandemic hit, the company recorded a 60% decrease in sales on the local market. Exports fell by 40% and, since March 8, the winery has not been visited by any tourists.

“Our plans for one year or two have been turned upside down: to extend the restaurant, to acquire electric vehicles, to plant vines, to open a network of stores. The saved money went to rent, salaries and utilities’ payment.”

COVID-19 diminished the budget for planting vines. Milestii Mici winery decided to sow 36 ha of corn instead of the Feteasca variety of grape.

Also, the winery had to terminate the contracts with several retired employees. The overall number of workers was reduced from 206 to 142. “We cannot pay the indemnity for technical unemployment to pensioners. They at least have a pension, but young people who stay at home with their children … We decided to pay them at least something,” said Viorel Garaz.

The underground galleries of Milestii Mici are located at a depth of 85 m and have a total length of 200 km. They store almost 2 million bottles, which is why it has reached the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest wine collection by number of bottles.

Challenges over time

The state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova is not the first hit to winemakers. In 2006, Russia banned the import of wines because it would not have complied with sanitary regulations. At that time, almost 80% of the total wine production was exported to Russia. Estimates showed that the embargo losses exceeded $ 100 million.

Next, in 2013, three months before signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, Russia put again an embargo on Moldovan wines.

Source: Facebook| Andrei Cibotaru

“It is a crisis that affects us all and we have to contribute by consuming more local wine. Behind a bottle of wine is an entire industry: there are vine growers, people who work in production, winemakers, people in the laboratory. Besides, there is the glass industry, the cardboard packaging industry, there are people who deal with label design and so on. Buying a bottle of wine, in fact, maintains an entire chain of several sectors,” commented the author of the finewine.md blog and wine expert, Andrei Cibotari.

This text is a translation. The original article here.

Photo: Wine of Moldova

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Economy

Warnings of travel companies from Moldova – a moratorium required and protests to be organised

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The tourism industry in Moldova is heavily affected by the pandemic crisis. Beside the fact that the sales decline has broken all records, more and more tourists demand trips cancelling and refund of advance payments.

Taking into consideration the current situation, business entities operating in the tourism sector claimed they can’t afford paying  tourists the money for contracts signed before mid-March back. They called for a moratorium to be imposed and announced a demonstration to be organised on the first day after the state of emergency is lifted in the Republic of Moldova – May 15.

Through the #SOStourismMoldova event, tourism companies together with the National Association of Travel Agencies aim to ask the Government, the Parliament and the President of the country to get involved in finding ways of solving the tourism sector problems.

“We ask the authorities to introduce a moratorium for a period of 540 days for the service contracts signed until March 17 or an emergency bill to be voted by the Parliament, which would allow us to make the refunds within an extended period of up to 540 days,” is specified in the request.

Travel agents and tour operators organising international trips informed that the collected through the signed contracts money have been already transferred to various service providers abroad. Without a moratorium, there are high chances of tourism businesses’ insolvency and, as a consequence, a whole industry crash is possible.

“We do not ask for state money. We demand a moratorium. We want to return the tourists’ money and not to become insolvent. We want to recover and continue working at home.”

As an answer, Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced the tourism companies about the Government’s intention to support their lending capacity by offering state guarantees in the amount of up to 50% of the value of the necessary pledge and interest subsidies. “In the coming days, the Executive will examine a set of measures in this regard,” it is said in a press release of the Government.

Photo: Stela Di| Pixabay 

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Politics

Two different ways of celebrating May 9: Victory Day vs Europe Day in the time of COVID-19

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Victory Day or Europe Day – one more reason of discord for Moldovan politicians and, as a consequence, for the Moldovan society, even during the pandemic crisis Moldova faces these days.

This year, the socialist government and a part of politicians who still miss the Soviet times insisted on commemorating the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, while opposition politicians together with the EU countries’ embassy representatives sent messages of celebrating peace and unity in Europe. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, their methods of celebration were also very different.

Europe Day was marked merely online, as Head of the Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Moldova, Peter Michalko, congratulated the citizens of the country, along with the ambassadors of Poland, Austria, Romania, Sweden, Germany, Latvia, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Mesajul ambasadorului Michalko cu ocazia zilei Europei!

Dragi prieteni, Vă felicit cu ocazia zilei Europei! Astăzi este prilejul de a sărbători pacea și unitatea în Europa. De asemenea este o zi să ne amintim de valorile și obiectivele noastre comune, care ne fac mai Puternici Împreună. Anul acesta, din cauza pandemiei, nu putem fi împreună în spații publice pentru a sărbători această zi importantă, dar vreau ca mesajul de solidaritate din partea mea și a colegilor mei, Ambasadorii țărilor membre ale UE să ajungă la toți.#ZiuaEuropei #ÎmpreunăMaiPuternici #SolidariPentruSanatate #70AniDeclarația Schuman***Дорогие друзья, поздравляю вас с Днем Европы! Сегодня мы отмечаем день мира и единства в Европе. Этот день также напоминает нам о наших общих ценностях и целях, которые нас объединяют и делают нас сильнее. В этом году, по причине пандемии, мы не сможем собраться в общественных местах, чтобы отметить этот важный день, но я призвать каждого из вас к солидарности, от себя лично и от своих коллег, представителей государств-членов ЕС.#ДеньЕвропы #ВместеМыСильнее #СолидарныРадиЗдоровья #70ЛетДекларацииШумана

Geplaatst door European Union in the Republic of Moldova op Zaterdag 9 mei 2020

A message of gratitude for the support provided by the EU partners was also published by the Party of Action and Solidarity on social media.

Ziua Europei

Un prieten bun este acela care te apreciază atunci când faci lucrurile bine!Un prieten bun este acela care te critică atunci când greșești și te încurajează să perseverezi!Un prieten bun este acela care vine în ajutor atunci când ai nevoie!De trei decenii, Uniunea Europeană este alături de Republica Moldova şi la bine şi la greu. Peste 2 miliarde de euro au fost alocați pentru proiecte de aprovizionare cu apă potabilă, eficiență energetică, reparația drumurilor, susținerea micului business și suport pentru realizarea reformelor.Uniunea Europeană este mai mult decât o uniune economică și politică. Este un proiect care a pus capăt războaielor pe continent şi a oferit un nou model de colaborare între popoare. Pentru mulți dintre noi a devenit a doua casă.Astăzi, UE este alături de noi într-un alt război, într-o lupta cu un dușman invizibil. Este alături prin donații de echipamente și asistență financiară. Putem învinge acest dușman doar prin solidaritate, generozitate și având alături prietenii adevărați! Să-i ținem aproape și să le mulțumim de câte ori avem ocazia!Vă mulțumim că sunteți alături de noi!Mulțumim, Europa![Surse video: Delegația UE în Moldova, Privesc.eu, Unimedia, Mold-Street, TV8, Sky News, Euronews, AFP, Associated Press, War Archives]

Geplaatst door Partidul Acțiune și Solidaritate op Zaterdag 9 mei 2020

In addition, an online concert of the Moldovan National Youth Orchestra and La La Play Voices, with the participation of 200 artists from Moldova and the European Union, as well as a series of movies broadcasts on several online platforms and TV channels were transmitted, as per the Delegation of the EU to Moldova program.

As all events were held online, the Delegation of the EU to Moldova will donate the money budgeted for the reception dedicated to Europe Day to the emergency service medical staff.  “Dear friends, this year we cannot be together at the traditional reception, organized on the occasion of Europe Day, because we respect the restrictions during the pandemic. That is why, we decided to donate the financial resources planned for this reception to those who are on the front line in the fight against COVID-19,” said Peter Michalko. According to him, the money will be used to deliver lunches to the medical staff of the National Emergency Services throughout the country.

On Victory Day, President Igor Dodon, Prime Minister Ion Chicu and Parliament Speaker Zinaida Greceanii went to the “Eternity” Memorial Complex, where they laid flowers in memory of soldiers who died in World War II. All in all, around 50 soldiers, politicians and state dignitaries attended the ceremony.

Source: Facebook| Igor Dodon

At the same time, Igor Dodon announced, on his Facebook page, his paid visits to war veterans and the participation in the burial ceremony of the remains of 45 soldiers of the Red Army.

Source: Facebook| Igor Dodon

Victory Day has been still traditionally celebrated, even though ceremonies with fewer attending people took place. “More than 500 cars and dozens of motorcycles took part, today, in the auto marathon in honour of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory,” Dodon also announced on social media.

Более 500 автомобилей и десятки мотоциклов приняли участие сегодня в автопробеге в честь 75-летия Победы в Великой Отечественной войне. Колонну, двигавшуюся по улицам столицы, приветствовали прохожие, которые 9 мая празднуют День Победы и чтут память десятков миллионов людей, погибших в той страшной войне.:::::::Peste 500 de automobile și zeci de motociclete au participat, astăzi, la marșul auto în cinstea celor 75 de ani de la Marea Victorie în Războiul pentru Apărarea Patriei. Coloana, care s-a deplasat pe străzile Capitalei, a fost salutată de trecătorii care pe 9 mai sărbătoresc Ziua Victoriei și cinstesc memoria zecilor de milioane de oameni care și-au pierdut viata în acel cumplit război.

Geplaatst door Dodon Igor op Zaterdag 9 mei 2020

Some opposition MPs were outraged by the car marathon organised in the capital city. “How can the president  organise parades in the centre of Chisinau and, at the same time, keep the citizens at home? Tens of thousands of businesses were shut down during the period when 10 cases of COVID-19 per day used to be confirmed, while during the period when there are over 120 people infected per day, parades are organised. Citizens cannot attend the funeral of their relatives and still, the president’s friends parades of  hundreds of people are held. […] How can you organise a May 9 parade while people die due to the officials’ irresponsibility? We have the most reckless government “ the MP Petru Frunze wrote on social media.

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