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Moldova expels 3 Russian diplomats in solidarity with UK over Salisbury attack

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27 March 2018- Three employees of the Russian Embassy were declared personae non-gratae by the Moldovan Foreign Affairs Ministry. Russian Ambassador, H.E. Farit Muhametshin, was informed that the three diplomats must leave the territory of Moldova during the seven days, based on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The decision comes from Moldova as a sign of solidarity with the United Kingdom and the 23-24 March 2018 European Council decisions which qualified the Salisbury nerve poison attack as a threat to the collective security and the international law.

The Russian Embassy criticised the decision of the Moldovan authorities, calling it an “unfriendly and unjustified act”:

“Taking into account the absurdity of the accusations against the mentioned persons, we consider this outcome as an unjustified and unfriendly step. Following, of course, the so-called “European solidarity”, Chișinău acts to the detriment of politeness and own interests, putting in doubt the sincerity of the recent statements on the willing to normalise the Russian-Moldovan relations. Russia’s response should be awaited”, reads a declaration of the Embassy.

In 2017, five employees of the Russian Embassy were declared non-gratae in Moldova, following a spy scandal.

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

Politics

Final verdict for the controversial businessman Veaceslav Platon: 18 years of jail

Controversial businessman and Vlad Plahotniuc’s friend, Veaceslav Platon, was sentenced in April 2017 to 18 years in prison. He is accused of having obtained about 1 billion lei from the Moldovan Savings Bank through illegal schemes, as a result of loans granted to companies headed by people intercepted in November 2014.

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The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) dictated the final verdict in the case of Veaceslav Platon – one of the ±1 billion lei from a Moldovan bank (Banca de Economii), as a result of loans granted to companies led by people intercepted in November 2014.

Magistrates of SCJ have declared the appeal of his lawyers unjustified against the decision of the Chisinau Court of Appeal, in which Platon was sentenced to 18 years in prison, ZdG writes.

Veaceslav Platon was detained in Kiev on July 25, 2016, on the same day that the Chisinau authorities announced him in international search, being blamed in the file on defrauding “Banca de Economii” Moldovan bank, where he would have received bad loans in the amount of about 800 million lei.

On August 29, 2016, Platon was extradited to Moldova. The prosecutor demanded a cumulative 23-year prison sentence.

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Important

Debates at the European Parliament: “We have not seen progress from Moldova”

A report evaluating the implementation of the Association Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union was debated in the European Parliament on 13 November. According to the report, our country is opposed to fundamental values related to democratic standards, and MEPs would continue to call for the cessation of financial assistance until significant progress on democratic standards has been made.

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The European Union has invested over a billion euros in the last ten years alone in order to develop the Moldovan democracy and reforms, yet it always risks to be compromised.

The Moldovan authorities declared themselves pro-European though ceased almost irreversible to authoritarian reflexes: cancellation of the results of the mayoral elections, limitation of the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, obstruction of the right to access to information, suspicious arrests of opposition activists. This way of governing is kicking our country further from the EU.

Here is an infographic created by cprmd, which shows how much was recovered from the $1 billion theft.

Panoul miliardului

#PANOULMILIARDULUIPentru că nu suntem satisfăcuți de calitatea informației prezentate de Ministerul Finantelor al Republicii Moldova în panoul lor, aici vă propunem un alt panou care, în opinia noastră, nu manipulează. Suntem în al patrulea an de investigații și cam atâtea active s-au recuperat până acum din furtul bancar. Tabelul prezentat de Ministerul Finanțelor, deși este numit ”recuperarea activelor fraudate”, oferă informație despre procesul de lichidare a celor trei bănci falimentate. Chiar dacă se înregistrează venituri din lichidarea băncilor prin vânzarea activelor fixe ale acestora, miliardul rămâne furat, furtul rămâne neinvestigat, iar activele furate – nerecuperate. În trecut am făcut un apel către Ministerul Finanțelor să corecteze informația prezentată (aici: http://bit.ly/2qtvuRE), iar incorectitudinea informației prezentate de Minister a fost demonstrată în repetate rânduri (de exemplu, aici: http://bit.ly/2qELNKH). Cu toate acestea, Ministerul insistă că panoul prezentat pe situl instituției nu reprezintă informație eronată. Este îngrijorător faptul că unele instituții oferă publicului informații ”oficiale”, dar false.

Geplaatst door CPR Moldova – Centrul de Politici și Reforme op Dinsdag 14 november 2017

According to European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, even though Moldova has made progress on an economic level, the European Union is worried about several issues, such as ensuring free elections, the independence of media institutions, the freedom of expression of civil society, and respect for the rule of law.

“In all working contexts with the Moldovan authorities I have drawn attention to the need to continue the reforms. We look forward to immediate urgent action to tackle bank fraud, the fight against high-level corruption and the need to ensure that the next parliamentary elections are done fairly and freely. Unfortunately, we have not seen progress from Moldova in order to respond to our concerns. The EU remains committed to the Republic of Moldova and is expecting the same level from Moldova. I would point out that the EU will continue to provide assistance to Moldovan citizens,” the European Commissioner said.

Moreover, Hahn declared that because of the lack of commitment from the Chisinau authorities, it is proposed to only support items that bring benefits directly to citizens.

“Sometimes I have the impression that people claim to be pro-European, pro-Western, but when it comes to facts, I don’t see how these European values are applied. We have to make decisions in the context in which almost all of our recommendations have not been respected,” concluded Johannes Hahn.

Reminder: In this report, the Committee of Foreign Affairs particularly emphasizes its concerns about:

1. Elections (!)

The electoral reform is not in line with the recommendations of the OCSE and the Venice Commission, the recent cancellation of local elections for the mayor of Chisinau on dubious motives, pressure on opposition leaders or local authorities, the financing of excessive and non-transparent parties.

2. The rule of law

There is a lack of independence of the judiciary, the influence of business interests and political leaders, limited progress in combating corruption – including through recent tax reforms that may increase the risk of money laundering – and prosecution of all those responsible for defrauding the $1 billion bank or large-scale money laundering, disproportionate criminal proceedings against political opponents, lawyers and / or their families, as well as human rights defenders, independent judges, journalists and critics of the Chisinau authorities.

3. The media and civil society

The media and advertising market is monopolized, independent news stories have weakened, the new audiovisual code has been implemented late, there have been attempts to limit the freedom of action and the discrediting of civil society representatives.

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Politics

The European Parliament prepares a tough reaction to democracy in Moldova

The European Parliament intends to take all these measures in response to the cancellation of the results of the local elections in Chisinau, the lack of independent judiciary, politically motivated cases against the opposition, lawyers and human rights activists, pressure on journalists and the monopolization of the media.

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The European Union may revise the visa-free regime for Moldovan citizens in case of non-compliance with the obligations related to the fight against corruption and money laundering.

A reminder of these conditions was included, for the first time after the liberalization of the visa regime, in the European Parliament’s draft on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the EU.

The document will be examined in the European Parliament on Wednesday 14 November. Earlier, European Parliament Deputy President Heidi Hautala said the project would likely be approved without changes, writes newsmaker.md.

Moreover, all EU support programs to the Republic of Moldova will remain frozen until “significant progress in the area of democratic standards” is registered. At the same time, the European Parliament intends to continue to provide financial support to civil society in Moldova, independent media, the private sector, and local authorities.

In the draft report, MEPs recall that joining the democratic principles is the basis of the Association Agreement, and violation of this obligation may lead to the suspension of the rights that the agreement entails, including the rights of citizens of the Republic of Moldova to the visa-free regime with the EU.

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