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The co-chair of the bloc ‘ACUM’, Maia Sandu, said that the CEC wants to ban the vote for ±100.000 of Moldovan citizens and that this is a violation of the Constitution.

In all these years, the CEC issued election decisions confirming citizens’ right to vote regardless of the status of their passports.

“We are at the CEC today because these elections are neither free nor fair. CEC and other state institutions do not see or want to take an attitude based on the reported abuses committed by certain electoral contestants. […] The Commission sends signals stating that it will NOT allow our fellow citizens who are abroad to vote within valid foreign passports,” declared Maia Sandu.

Representatives of the Diaspora, who attended the event, mentioned that their right to vote was restricted.

“Our Government likes our money sent abroad, but they don’t seem to like our vote,” said a Moldovan woman, established for 3 years now, in the UK.

The protesters have asked the Central Electoral Commission to make a decision based on allowing citizens abroad to vote by expired acts, as in the previous elections.

Photo: Privesc.eu

Important

EU official: “It’s been a long time we’ve been patient. We will judge the Government’s actions objectively.”

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Director for Russia, Eastern partnership, Central Asia and OSCE, and Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Luc Pierre Devigne, paid a visit to Chișinău today to participate in the 5th meeting of the EU-Moldova Association Committee.

He addressed a message to the Moldovan government during a press conference, criticising the way the reforms were implemented in the country, especially the way the famous bank fraud from Moldova, called also “the theft of the century” was investigated. Devigne considers inadmissible the fact that, after five years, the persons and companies that were involved in the fraud were not held accountable.

“It is unacceptable that after the theft of the billion was uncovered and deeply investigated by a leading financial investigation team – the Kroll company, whose findings were made publicly available, the investigation was still not finalised on various pretexts. We cannot believe that it is legally not possible to prosecute such a fraud.[…] It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that justice works in the country. We want to see an open and transparent process that includes not only the Government, but also the consultation of opposition, civil society and the EU institutions recommendations.” said Devigne.

The EU official told the Moldovan politicians: “It’s time for actions. It’s been a long time we’ve been supportive, we’ve been patient. Now, we will judge the Government’s actions objectively.”

“The EU has always supported the Republic of Moldova, but the EU cannot substitute for good governance and the actions that should be taken by the Government. Our support is not unconditional.”

He said that European assistance will depend on how laws and democratic standards will be respected in Moldova. Particularly, Luc Pierre Devigne mentioned that the Republic of Moldova should join the Anticorruption Network for an effective fight against corruption, strengthen independent media and improve the quality of life in the case of the Moldovan citizens.

Luc Pierre Devigne also referred to the subject of the Citizenship by Investment Law, on which the Government applied a moratorium, but only until February 24, 2020. The official was disappointed that people who obtained such kind of citizenship remained anonymous. “We do not see this as compatible with a serious and secure visa liberalisation regime. It’s a security issue.” highlighted Devigne.

One of the central messages of the EU delegation to Moldova concerned the importance of boosting the cooperation between Moldova and the community bloc.

At the same time, the Moldovan authorities reiterated their commitment to comply with the recommendations of international organisations such as the OSCE and the Venice Commission, and to ensure public consultations on major projects.

Photo: cotidianul.md

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Economy

The IMF conclusions// will the last part of the program funds be disbursed to Moldova?

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An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ruben Atoyan, the head of the IMF Mission, visited Moldova between January 22 to February 5 to conduct the 2020 Article IV consultation and the sixth and final review of Moldova’s economic program supported by the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangements.

Ruben Atoyan appreciated the discussions with the Moldovan authorities as consistent and insistent and confirmed that the Government team has demonstrated openness and determination in implementing the necessary reforms. Most of the objectives of the Moldova – IMF program were achieved and the program was a successful one, as a statement of the Government of the Republic of Moldova communicated.

At the meeting of Prime Minister Ion Chicu with the IMF team staff, the objectives to be achieved in the next period were discussed, including the approval of the legislation regarding non-banking financial institutions for the sustainable and safe development of this sector.

The parties also exchanged views on the consolidation of the national banking system and the pension system, concluded the need to focus on the objective of ensuring a sustainable, balanced and more inclusive economic growth, as well as discussed the reforms in education, healthcare and social policies to increase the standard of living in the Republic of Moldova, to combat migration and to change demographic trends.

On February 5, the IMF Communication Department issued a concluding statement that describes the preliminary findings of IMF staff at the end of the official visit to Moldova.

The most important conclusions were:

  • The last review under the IMF program is scheduled for March 16, 2020. The completion of the review will make available another  SDR 14.4 million (about $20 million) for Moldova;
  • The program has been successful in achieving its objectives. Comprehensive reforms have rehabilitated the banking system and strengthened financial sector governance, entrenching macro-financial stability;
  • Despite successful economical stabilisation efforts, widespread and significant governance and institutional vulnerabilities are major impediments to boosting living standards of Moldovan people, especially high perception of corruption, weak rule of law and political instability present risks;
  • Prudent and well-coordinated policies are needed to safeguard the progress achieved. Decisive governance and institutional reforms are necessary for faster, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

“The program was success and achieved its goals. The comprehensive reforms have rehabilitated the banking system and strengthened the finance sector, this progress is commendable under the conditions of a volatile political situation,” said Ruben Atoyan, the head of the IMF Mission at a press conference.

source: gov.md

Next, Prime Minister of Moldova is going to send a letter to the IMF asking for another mission’s visit to Chisinau for conducting an evaluation and prepare a new international program.

“With the current program successfully completed, half the chances of having a new program are assured,” Ion Chicu claimed optimistically.

The prime minister said that the Government wants a new program with the IMF, not only for the international funds that can be granted, but also for the support and assistance that can be received in promoting reforms.

**

Moldova’s three-year IMF program was approved on November 7, 2016, being supported by a loan of 129.4 million special drawing rights (SDR), which is about $182 million, or 75% of the Republic of Moldova’s quota. 115 million SDR (about US$160 million) have been already disbursed. Two thirds of the loan are provided under the Extended Credit Facility, which carries a zero interest rate through 2018, a grace period of 5½ years, and a 10-year maturity. The rest of the loan is provided under the Extended Fund Facility, which carries an annual interest rate equal to the SDR basic rate of charge (currently 1.7 percent), and is repayable over 10 years with a 4½ -year grace period.

Photo: gov.md

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An International Monetary Fund mission will visit Chişinău next week

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An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Ruben Atoyan, will be visiting the capital city of the Republic of Moldova during January 22 – February 5, 2020, as a press release of the IMF permanent representative office in Moldova stated.

According to the statement, during the visit, the mission will hold discussions with Moldovan authorities “in preparation of the 2020 Article IV consultation and in the context of the sixth and final reviews of Moldova’s IMF-supported program under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangements.” 

Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members. First, a staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board (IMF Factsheet on Surveillance), as it is explained on the organisation’s official page.

“The mission will take stock of the recent economic developments and the progress in authorities’ program implementation, update and assess the macroeconomic outlook, and discuss with the authorities medium-term challenges and risk facing Moldova’s economy and policies to address them,” is mentioned in the press release.

The last visit of the IMF staff team in Moldova took place during October 2–8, 2019. At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Atoyan made the following statement:

“We commend the authorities for taking decisive actions to bring the IMF-supported program back on track and advancing reforms. During the past week, we have held constructive discussions on recent economic developments and policies to maintain macroeconomic and fiscal stability. To this end, the mission initiated discussions on policy priorities and financing for the 2020 budget. Discussions on measures and reforms to support the fiscal policy package for 2020 will continue in the period ahead, including during the upcoming IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C.”

In December 2019, Prime Minister Ion Chicu declared that a pause in the relationship with the IMF could be taken if the given organisation opposes investments in infrastructure or insists on the rise in gas tariffs. “Our goal is to build lasting relationships with the IMF, but not at any cost,” stated Premier Ion Chicu.

The head of the Moldovan Government noted that a new program could be signed with IMF, after the current program expires in March. However, according to him, the IMF is a partner that imposes conditions that can restrict the Government’s development plans and investments in infrastructure. “The IMF is a partner of the Republic of Moldova and I am for having a program supported by this institution. Beyond the financial aspect, there is the one of reforms. I want to finalise the existing program by March and then have another,” said Ion Chicu.

Moldova’s three-year IMF program was approved on November 7, 2016, being supported by a loan of 129.4 million special drawing rights (SDR), which is about $182 million, or 75% of the Republic of Moldova’s quota. 115 million SDR (about US$160 million) have been already disbursed. Two thirds of the loan are provided under the Extended Credit Facility, which carries a zero interest rate through 2018, a grace period of 5½ years, and a 10-year maturity. The rest of the loan is provided under the Extended Fund Facility, which carries an annual interest rate equal to the SDR basic rate of charge (currently 1.7 percent), and is repayable over 10 years with a 4½ -year grace period.

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