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This is how Prime Minister Filip helped the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant escape Ukraine’s sanctions // RISE Moldova

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Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip helped one of the budget-forming enterprises of self-proclaimed Transnistria, MMZ (Ribnita Metallurgical Plant), to come out from under the sanctions of Ukraine.

A copy of the letter came to the disposal of the editorial offices of RISE Moldova and the Radio Svoboda, in which the head of the Moldovan government demanded from the Ukrainian leadership not only the lifting of the embargo but also the termination of the investigation regarding the plant.

Even during the duration of the sanctions, Ukrainian exporters of scrap, with the help of Chisinau intermediaries, managed to bypass the embargo on supplies for MMZ for about a year. Read more on the case here.

Photo: Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko reached mutual compromise // Photo: press service of the President of Ukraine

Moldova, PM Filip requested the reduction, twice, of export taxes applied to this undertaking, arguing that they would be an administrative barrier.

In addition, he requested the cessation of the anti-dumping investigation against the plant as unfounded and the suspension of the individual licensing regime until the final court decision.

Just 10 days after PM Filip’s letter was sent, the Kiev authorities excluded the Metallurgical Plant from the list of entities subject to sanctions.

Instead, they included a company in Chisinau (Novastal Prim SRL) on the list, which has last year interfered with the import of scrap metal from Ukraine to the Metallurgical Plant, thereby circumventing the sanction regime imposed by Kiev.

Asked if he had signed such a letter, Pavel Filip ran away from the press.

“We’ll talk some other time,” he said briefly.

The Scheme with the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant (MMZ) and Pavel Filip’s blending in with its sanctions shows how well the international oligarchic regional (Gusan-Poroshenko-Plahotniuc) operates across national borders.

Let’s sum it all up:

The case with the MMZ is similar to other past practices of schemes such as controlling Transnistrian electricity exports to Moldova (and dividing the profits between the three oligarchs).

In 2018, Poroshenko puts MMZ under sanctions, clearly only four years away from Euromaidan and a few years of war in eastern Ukraine. His Moldovan partner, oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, creates a local tick (Novastal Prim SRL) that “legally” takes over the Ukrainian waste metal streams to Transnistria and through which the three oligarchs share the profit.

In the coming March 2019, Poroshenko realizes he could lose the elections and bring the business back to the legal field, which means that he would have to exclude Novastal Prim SRL from the scheme.

Poroshenko has, in fact, come out clean. He was self-indicted by the Moldovan Prime Minister, the one making the request.

President of Ukraine and Prime Minister of Moldova at the opening of a joint checkpoint at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border // Photo: Press Service of the Government of Moldova

Important

(Update) Coronavirus: the State of Emergency will be replaced by a Public Health Emergency after May 15

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The State of Emergency in the Republic of Moldova is lifted on May 15. Starting tomorrow, the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission will start its activity with declaring Code Red in the healthcare system or a so-called Public Health Emergency on the territory of the whole country. This was declared by President Igor Dodon after the meeting of the Supreme Security Council.

According to the president, all the responsibilities regarding COVID-19 restrictions necessary during the pandemic crisis will be handed over from the Commission for Emergency Situations to the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, which was newly created.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, Viorica Dumbraveanu, emphasised the need to maintain the same public health measures after May 15, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus infection and ensure the protection of citizens, as it is declared in a press release of the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MHLSP).

Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced that the state of Public Health Emergency could remain in force by June 30, as per the request of the National Public Health Agency. “It can be even shorter or longer. We will decide according to how the events evolve,” said the head of the executive. According to him, the new state of emergency concerns only decisions and actions taken in the healthcare industry.

According to the latest official decision of the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, the Public Health Emergency is established for the period May 16 – June 30 and encloses restrictions concerning kindergartens that will open after June 30; the markets in Chisinau and Balti – after May 31; playgrounds and stadiums – after May 31; general, vocational and university education institutions – after June 30; forests, parks, alleys, beaches for groups of more than 3 persons – after June 30; shopping centres – after June 30 (except groceries and pharmaceuticals units located in the same building), barber shops and dental offices – after May 16, outpatient medical activities – May 16.

At the same time, it is mandatory to wear protective masks in indoor public places.

The restrictions regarding regular flights, regular passenger air charters, international rail routes, regular, special and occasional road transport of passengers are still maintained until June 30, with gradual relaunch depending on the epidemiological situation.

The access of foreign citizens and stateless persons is forbidden on the territory of Moldova until June 30, with the following exceptions:

  • family members of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova;
  • persons holding a long-stay visa, a residence permit or a document equivalent to a residence permit issued by the authorities;
  • persons being on business trips, proved by a visa, residence permit or other equivalent document;
  • members of diplomatic missions and consular posts accredited in Republic of Moldova, of international organisations / missions, as well as members of their families or personnel who provide humanitarian aid;
  • passengers in transit, including those who are repatriated.

Persons who enter the Republic of Moldova during this period will have to fill in an epidemiological form, as well as a declaration on their own responsibility to comply with the self-isolation regime of 14 days in determined places. More decisions and provisions can be found here.

According to the most updated data provided by the MHLSP, there are 5553 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Moldova at the moment, including 2228 cases of people who recovered and 194 cases of death. On March 14, there were 147 newly confirmed cases, while the record number of new cases (252) was recorded just 2 days ago, on May 13.

Photo: Romania Insider

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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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Economy

The Russian loan agreement declared unconstitutional – escaping the trap of excessive debt or missing a chance to overcome the crisis?

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The judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova (CC) declared the Agreement between the Government of Moldova and that of Russia, providing for a loan of 200 million euros to be allocated to the Moldovan budget, to be unconstitutional. The decision was announced yesterday, as the adopted law on the ratification of the agreement, along with 2 related Government’s decisions have gained the same status.

The bill on the ratification of the agreement was adopted shortly after the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova had signed a loan agreement, on April 17. It was adopted with the vote of 56 socialist and democrat members of the Moldovan Parliament.

At the same time, the exercise of the constitutionality control of some provisions was requested by several opposition MPs, after the legality and feasibility of the conditions for granting the loan have been questioned by experts and civil society.

See also: Experts: What is wrong with the credit agreement signed with the Russian Federation?

In the Opinion on the conditions of the EUR 200 million loan offered to the Republic of Moldova by Russian Federation published by the Watchdog experts, Sergiu Tofilat and Valeriu Pasa, is mentioned that the purpose of the loan was to cover Moldova’s budget deficit and to finance joint projects of the agreement parties.

The agreement included abusive provisions though, according to the published opinion. First, the agreement provided that Russian companies would be contracted for projects funded by the loan. “Currently, no public information about the nature of the projects, the benefits for Moldova, the costs and the list of Russian companies is available. Given Russian widespread disreputable precedents and Igor Dodon’s obedience to Vladimir Putin, it is probable that Dodon will promote companies controlled by Putin’s people, which will execute the projects at higher costs in order to misappropriate a part from the loan,” is mentioned in the opinion.

Moreover, the loan agreement stated that the Republic of Moldova would have to undertake to repay other loans received from Russian Federation, in addition to the 200 million euros loan. Therefore, “there is a risk that Russian companies controlled by Putin’s entourage would register companies in the Republic of Moldova in order to borrow funds from Russian banks, under the guarantee of the Russian government, while the payment obligations would be registered as Moldovan national debt to Russian Federation.”

All debts would have been repaid at an interest rate of 2% per year, plus 2% annual penalty*150% to the entire debt, including  to the interest and penalties for other loans, that is while applying a penalty to another penalty is an illegal provision that can’t be applied in Moldova.

Taking into consideration that the loan agreement didn’t provide for the jurisdiction that would litigate any loan related disputes and that other loans including private debts could be simply added up to the consolidated national debt, that could create difficulties in a potential international litigation against the Russian Federation. “If Russia claims that the Agency, as a creditor of Moldova, is a separate entity from the Russian government, the Republic of Moldova will have to prove in front of an international court that all the actions of this creditor in relation to the debt of Moldova are dictated by Kremlin,” said the Watchdog experts.

Moldova would risk to have its access blocked to foreign financing by the Russian Federation. “According to IMF rules, lending is prohibited to countries with outstanding debts to other countries.” And Moldova would have been gather an impressive foreign debt as a result of the agreement.

In such a way, the experts concluded that the abusive conditions of the loan agreement would have allowed for a considerable increase of the Moldovan national debt to Russian Federation, which could be used as a control instrument in Moldova’s strategic infrastructure areas, as it previously happened in the natural gas sector.

The only Moldovan citizen that could benefit from this agreement would be President Igor Dodon. “The EUR 100 million second tranche, scheduled by October 31, 2020, may lead to the re-election of Igor Dodon as president,” Watchdog representatives opinated.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu and President Igor Dodon denied all accusations and repeated the same words in front of Moldovan people:

“This agreement does not involve any financial or political risks. This agreement does not jeopardise the economic security of the country, nor does it affect other agreements.”

As a consequence of the CC decision to declare the loan agreement unconstitutional, it’s ratification was blocked along with the funds that won’t reach the Moldovan budget. “In the context of the crisis, we can get through this year without Dodon’s airports and the roads around them. We can reduce the expenses for them by the amount of the Russian loan,” suggested Former Minister of Finance, Natalia Gavrilita.

According to the World Bank projections regarding Moldova’s economic development, the unfolding economic crisis will lead to a contraction of Moldova’s economy in 2020. “If the coronavirus outbreak is largely contained by mid-2020, with a recovery thereafter, in the baseline scenario by year-end, the economy will still have to deal with a recession of 3.1 percent. […] Increased social needs and unemployment, as well as fiscal stimulus through public investment, will bring fiscal deficits above the historical average in the years to come,” is mentioned in the report.

However, a prolonged disruption of economic activities until August 2020 would cause Real GDP growth to fall by 5.2%, which would be the biggest drop since 2009. “Weaker growth will further strain public finances faced with already large financing needs at 15 percent of GDP. A higher number of returning migrants, high social spending needs and high unemployment may put additional strain on labor market conditions and create further fiscal pressures,” said the World Bank projections that were updated recently.

Photo: Feodora Chiosea | Getty Images

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