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Igor Dodon called liberalism, tolerance and gender equality “false teachings”, and then said he didn’t

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25 February 2018- In a Facebook post dedicated to an Orthodox holiday, the Moldovan president Igor Dodon called liberalism, tolerance and gender equality “false teachings”, a statement which angered many.

After his visit to the Zloți Monastery, Dodon wrote:

“Now, there are attempts to attract us with false new teachings like the liberalism, tolerance, gender equality. There are attempts to impose us the belief that our Orthodox religion, our family values are some primitive and excessive values”, reads Dodon’s post.

After several hours and “some” offended persons, his statement on tolerance and liberalism was withdrawn from the Facebook post. Moreover, his spokesperson, Ion Ceban, declared that Dodon didn’t write the post himself and that it was coordinated by him. Ceban apologized for those “who were touched by the regrettable mistake that slipped into the post”.

Dodon’s former counter-candidate and PAS leader, Maia Sandu, called president’s statement “the most shameful (thing) that a country’s president can say in the 21st century”.

As a media institution that promotes human rights, Moldova.org strongly condemns the declarations of Igor Dodon.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

Economy

The Moldovan fruit farmers’ paradox – anybody can produce but only few chosen can sell

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The Republic of Moldova is an agrarian country. The most important agricultural activities in Moldova – the production of walnuts, grapes and some other fruits is, though, squeezed between the political interests and the weak regulations regarding export monopolies establishment and preference of imported products on the internal market. The small Moldovan farms remain outside the big business, being marginalized, misinformed and discriminated when it comes to selling their products inside or outside the Republic of Moldova.

The official data

During a press release of the National Office of Vine and Wine in Moldova, it was communicated that the 2017-2018 season recorded the earliest grapes harvest in the last 40 years. At the same time, the grapes production was 15% higher compared to the average of the last 8 years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in the period January-June 2018, the grape exports from the Republic of Moldova increased by 32.1% compared to the same period of 2017. Moldova exported grapes to Romania – 51.9% of the total export, the Russian Federation – 35% and Belarus – 3.7%.

The National Agency for Food Safety (NAFS) announced a raise in 2018 of  the production and export of Moldovan fruits such as apples, plums, peaches, apricots and cherries.  According to the provided data, 70.6 thousand tons of apples from 2018 year’s harvest were exported, that being three times more than in the same period of 2017. A significant increase was also recorded in the export of plums – 31 thousand tons of plums have reached the foreign markets. The NAFS talked about the export of fruits to the usual for Moldova international markets, such as the Russian market, and discovering new markets such as Iraq and Bangladesh.

The European Business Association reported a quantity of 10 thousand tons of walnuts, exported by 30 companies entitled to do the exports to France Germany or Austria. There are 29,000 hectares of walnut trees in the Republic of Moldova. In 2017, the walnuts production was 18.7 thousand tons. The main countries where the Moldovan walnuts are exported are the EU countries, Ukraine, Turkey and Russia.

Behind the curtain

Several journalistic investigations performed by few independent media institutions from Moldova, such as Ziarul de Gardă and Jurnal TV, have uncovered the ties between certain family members of the former Prime Minister of Moldova – Pavel Filip, and several companies that have an important role on the walnuts and dried fruits markets. The investigations were launched after the allegations of existing a personal interest of the former Prime Minister in maintaining a monopolistic situation on the walnuts market. While checking  the reason of a dramatic decrease of walnuts selling price on the market, the journalists have found a scheme of collecting and centralizing of walnut production by few collector firms that transported them afterwards to “Monicol” SRL – a company owned by father of the Filip’s daughter-in-law. The company has a market share of about 20% and the government’s protection in their activity. The allegations were denied by Pavel Filip, but no financial information regarding the company’s activity was made public.

Svetlana Lungu, the Head of Plant Protection and Health Directorate of NAFS, explained that the process of obtaining the necessary papers for exporting walnuts is not so hard. “In the EU, the requirements are minimal. Namely, it is necessary to obtain the phytosanitary certificate for the export of products of plant origin. The registration of the exporter and the producer is required by NAFS, as well as owning or renting a storage space by the exporter and signing a contract with the producer,” declared Lungu. Therefore, as long as the process is standardized, why the Moldovan walnuts are officially exported by only 30 companies and a monopoly is established on the market unofficially? Maybe because there are some political and personal interests of ‘filtering’ the companies authorized to export.

Walnuts exporting is a profitable business in Moldova. According to TV8, one kilogram of Moldovan walnuts costs 23.94 euro on the Belgian store shelves (about 462 lei). In Moldova, one kilogram of walnuts could reach 150/200 lei on the market, but from producers it is bought for 60/80 lei per kilogram.

The situation for the grapes and fruits producers is not much better. Few weeks ago, a campaign was initiated by a grapes’ producer, Diana Crudu, that advised people not to buy flowers for the International Women’s Day, but a box of grapes or apples.

“There are over 7 thousand tons of grapes in the  Moldovan warehouses. If they are not sold in the next two or three weeks, these grapes will have to be thrown away. The wine factories do not have the capacity to process and storage such a large quantity of grapes. This is the most dramatic situation faced by table grape manufacturers in the last 15 years,” said Diana in an interview for RFE/RL.

The producers are forced to sell the grapes on the local market for 3 to 6 lei per kilogram. At the same time, consumers are offered the possibility to buy imported grapes for 80 lei per kilogram in the Moldovan supermarkets.

The Ministry of Agriculture representative, Iurie Mudrea, declared that no compensation for unsold products can be provided. “The business always involves risk. Calculate, my dear, solve the problem, think about it at the beginning of year, put some efforts. Even Russia no longer accepts low quality, we need high quality for all products. Here we have to start: big volumes, high level of quality and a lot of effort,” declared Mudrea for TV8.

The Ministry of Agriculture claimed that apples could be purchased directly from producers and distributed free of charge in schools. At the same time, the “qualitative and nicely packed” apples could be sold in the country’s retail shops, and the fruit quality monitoring infrastructure could be developed. A lot of things could be done. But will they?

The real solution came from Moldovan people. An event organized by the Klumea Association encouraged Moldovan people to become  solidary with the grapes’ producers and come on Sunday, February 24th, at a bazaar in the city centre of Chisinau to buy a box of domestic grapes, with only 5 lei per kilogram.  The initiative has a suggestive name: ‘Take Moldova home’.

Source: Facebook

Featured photo: worldpulse.com

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Politics

Igor Dodon convened the Parliament: “God bless, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

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THE SHORT EXPLANATION

Igor Dodon signed the Decree of Parliament’s convocation, the 10th legislature. The newly elected deputies will be convened in plenary on Thursday, 21 March, starting at 13.00.

“I’ve decided to come up with a speech in front of the newly-elected MPs, addressing the citizens,” announced the head of the state.

THE LONG EXPLANATION

Tomorrow, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, decided to convene the recently elected parliament. He asked Parliament’s secretariat to take good care of the first gathering and to invite the diplomatic corps.

“God bless, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

According to the Article 63 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Parliament meets at the convocation of the President of the Republic of Moldova no later than 30 days after the elections.

The meeting of the newly-elected Parliament will be chaired by the oldest member. The dean of age, as in the previous legislature, is the socialist deputy Eduard Smirnov, who this year will turn 80 years old.

At the first meeting, the President of the Constitutional Court is to present the report on the results of Parliament’s election and the validation of mandates of elected MPs.

The Parliament considers it legally constituted from the date of the constitutive session.

After the legal constitution of the Parliament, the President of the Parliament with the Vice-Presidents are elected and the Permanent Bureau of Parliament is formed. Within 10 days of the first meeting, the parliamentary factions will be constituted, functioning according to their own regulations.

Reminder: On March 9, the Constitutional Court validated the results of the February 24th parliamentary elections, following which the Socialist Party has 35 mandates in the new legislature, the Democratic Party – 30 mandates, the electoral bloc “ACUM” – 26 mandates, the RSO Party – 7 mandates. Three Members have access to Parliament as independent candidates.

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Important

Federica Mogherini: We will keep a close eye on the formation of the Moldovan government and its future programme.

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One of the topics discussed at the Meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council held on March 18th, 2019, was the current political situation in the Republic of Moldova following the parliamentary elections of February 24th.

Foreign ministers highlighted the importance of a transparent and credible government formation process that should reflect a genuine parliamentary majority that respects the outcome of the elections, as it is mentioned in the outcome document of the council meeting. They stressed the importance of non-interference in the formation process and the fact that the EU does not support individual parties and specific political actors, but values and principles.

At the same time, the Council reiterated that the basis for EU cooperation with Moldova is the implementation of the Association Agreement and confirmed the importance of the principle of conditionality in delivering macro-financial assistance to Moldova, which had to be withheld following serious deterioration in the areas of rule of law and the upholding of democratic principles. On the other hand, foreign ministers highlighted the critical importance of offering support to Moldovan citizens and to civil society.

At the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented the remarks regarding the previously discussed topics.

“We assessed with the Foreign Ministers the state of play, with full respect of the politics of the country and still with the willingness to support the reform agenda in the country and the rule of law and the democratic perspectives there. We have expressed some concerns and, obviously, agreed that we will keep a close eye on the formation of the government and the programme that the government will put in place,” claimed Mogherini.

Additionally, the High Representative declared that the Council won’t enter into the discussions about coalitions and formation of the government. However, it is crucial “to stay vigilant on the rule of law situation and most of all the implementation of the [EU-Moldova] Association Agreement agenda with Moldova that is a key partner in the Eastern Partnership.”

According to the preliminary conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission stated in the Background Brief document of Foreign Affairs Council, the elections were “competitive and fundamental rights were generally respected.” However, shortcomings were noted throughout the campaign and on the election day, including “allegations of pressure on public employees, strong indications of vote buying and the misuse of state resources.” The Mission also noted that “control and ownership of the media by political actors limited the range of viewpoints presented to voters.”

Photo: eeas.europa.eu

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