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Stories from diaspora// Marian Cepoi: “While the things are not changing in Moldova, its citizens are given a second chance abroad.”

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Marian Cepoi is an ambitious and hardworking person from Moldova who is currently working as a policy assistant at the European Commission, while living in Brussels, Belgium. He is the protagonist of this week’s story from diaspora.

About working for the EU

Marian wakes up early every day. He has settled down into a morning routine: exercises, reflecting and a healthy breakfast. “I have noticed that I am feeling better during the day if I wake up earlier and have more time for morning activities. If you do not hurry up in the morning, your entire day will seem to be longer, with more time to achieve the always-infinite list of proposed tasks,” he says.

Marian’s list of daily tasks is really long: coordinating the organisation of meetings, drafting policy and working documents and briefings, liaising and communicating with internal and external actors, etc. Therefore, getting an energy boost in the morning is really useful.

However, his morning habits are not the only source of enthusiasm and efficiency. Marian also gets his energy from the joy of doing what he really likes. “European Affairs are an interdisciplinary topic and you never get bored with only one type of activity. It is a nice combination between political science, economics, law, development studies, communication, diplomacy, etc.” It is clear that Marian loves his job at the European Commission. “It is a big community of people with more or less the same profile, education and activities. You feel a member of this big family.”

Furthermore, Marian also enjoys living in Brussels: “It is a Babylon of our era. Here you do not feel like a foreigner and your language accent will not be judged. It allows me to be far from home, develop myself, and, at the same time, to not feel as a stranger – the way I would have been felt if I was working and living in another country or city.”

At the same time, our protagonist reveals some aspects of having a job at a European institution: “The work style is very different. The specificity of having 28 countries on equal foot developed here a strong common sense of co-decision, negotiation and respect for the opinion of other people. Even at the lower levels all decisions are taken after a wide internal and external consultation process.”  In the end, everybody is aware of their own contribution and no conflict of interests during the implementation process could appear, according to Marian.

Of course, there is the other side of the coin as well. “All these advanced democratic practices generate a complex system and, sometimes, it may appear slow, over-regulated, and too bureaucratic. However, without bureaucracy, that in fact assures the rules compliance, the European Union would have not been capable to extend at such a large scale, both in terms of number of countries and in terms of competences,” explains Marian.

About the prerequisites to enter the EU institutions’ competitive system

Marian did his master’s degree in European Studies at the College of Europe. “The College of Europe was a ‘visa’ for Brussels and for working at EU institutions in my case. It is almost impossible to enter the EU institutions, being from a third country, if you do not have a diploma with good results from a prestigious university, as well as prior relevant work experience.”

Marian says that studies at such high ranked abroad universities develop teamwork skills, self-studying abilities, public speaking, debating skills, critical thinking, self-confidence, research skills, and many more. “The experience at the College of Europe also taught me stress management, prioritization and self-organisation. It helped me adjust my already formed profile to the Western high work and life standards.”

To those young people who are working hard in Moldova and want to get to the next level, he recommends to go for a master’s degree abroad. “It will be the element which will complete their profile and prepare them for the international competition and career.”

Prior to his master’s degree, Marian gained his work experience as a policy researcher at IDIS VIITORUL and as a coordinator at Promo-LEX in the Republic of Moldova.

About the Moldova-EU Association Agreement

“If the current Association Agreement were fully implemented, 80% of Moldova’s situation would be adjusted to the European standards. It indeed means that the quality of life would grow as well.” Marian claims that the implemented reforms in the justice sector, for example, would attract significant EU funds and foreign investments. “At the EU level, there are enough money, but they don’t arrive in Moldova because of lack of structural reforms.”

According to Marian, it’s good that Moldovans have the opportunities to travel, work and live abroad. Still, as he mentions, without having good living conditions at home, it turns into a negative effect, as people simply leave their country for good. “The Moldovan diaspora has significantly grown in the last 5 years. People settle abroad together with their families, in the countries where they see a future for their children. This is a phenomenon without precedent in the history of the Republic of Moldova and I am afraid of its consequences. So, urgent significant changes in Moldova are needed if we want to still have it populated,” he says.

Marian will continue to work hard and look to a brighter future for his country and his family. “I want to profit from every single day and climb another step on my Everest!”

Photos: Facebook/ Marian Cepoi

Culture

Interesting facts about Chișinău on its Annual Fete

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Every year, on October 14th , the residents of Chișinău celebrate the Annual Fete of the city. You can find below some interesting facts about the celebration of this day and about the history of the capital city in general.

source: zdg.md

  • Every year, besides the usual festivity organised in the city centre of Chișinău, a religious ceremony dedicated to the celebration of the feast day of the “Nativity of Lord” Metropolitan Cathedral is conducted.
  • Another tradition, on Chișinău’s Annual Fete, is the laying of flowers at the monument of the Ștefan cel Mare in the centre of the capital, at 8 a.m.
  • Even though the actual anniversary of Chișinău must be celebrated on July 17th, as the locality was documentarily mentioned for the first time on this date in 1436, it is still used to count its age in October.
  • This year, a wide range of cultural, social and artistic manifestations were organised: exhibitions of crafts, florist, books, paintings and graphics, a musical-choreographic show, food courts, the Municipal Merit Award hosted by the Organ Hall, recitals of a choir from Estonia and a music school from Israel, entertainment activities for elder people, musical shows and concerts with the participation of national and international singers, folk music orchestras, as well as a marching band from Romania. The scheduled events end at 11 p.m. with a firework show.
  • The Annual Fete of Chișinău is celebrated since 1995, when Serafim Urecheanu – the mayor of that time of Chișinău – decided to do so. Initially, it was celebrated on the first Sunday of October. The situation changed due to a decree signed by Vladimir Voronin, the country president back then, who decided to organise the “National Wine Day” on the first Sunday of October. Thus, the municipality had to find a solution to separate the two holidays. The moment happily coincided with ending of the renovation works of the Metropolitan Cathedral, “The Birth of the Lord” on October 14th, 2001.
  • The Annual Fete of Chișinău is celebrated on the same day as the Annual Fete of Tiraspol and Iași.
  • Chișinău became the capital city by the decision of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni and the senator of the city in 1818.
  • The capital city has a population of 844 605 people, out of which 30893 are children, according to data from the State Register of Population.
  • There are 215 282 cars and 292 900 apartments registered in Chișinău.
  • The longest street in the capital city is the Muncești street, having a length of 13 km, the shortest one – Valeri Cikalov street, which has 41 m.
  • About 7% of the total area of the municipality is occupied by green areas and 2.3% is covered by water, that means about 3 square meters of green land for each resident of the city.
  • Also, the capital of the Republic of Moldova is twinned with 16 other cities from different countries of the world such as: Odessa, Iași, Ankara, or Grenoble.

More facts about Chișinău can be found in the infographic made by TV8.

Photo: zdg.md

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Culture

5 exceptional museum exhibitions in Chișinău, which are currently opened for visitors. Have you already seen them?

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There are still very few things known abroad about the history, architecture, nature and culture of the Republic of Moldova. Some old and contemporary treasures still remain hidden from the public eye, being visited only by a few connoisseurs. In this article, we present 5 intriguing exhibitions in the Chișinău museums for that time when you visit the capital city of Moldova and think about how to spend your time.

The collection of old charters at the National Library

source: ipn.md

The collection of charters of the National Library includes around 200 documents reflecting the economic, social, political and cultural life of Bessarabia from the Tsarist period (1812-1918). It has been recently restored and made available to the public. The preserved documents were exhibited after the project “Bessarabian charters and other historical documents from the 19th century”, financed by the US Embassy, ​​through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Conservation, was completed, IPN reported.

According to the director of the National Library Elena Pintilei the project has a major impact on the national heritage, as until two years ago, it was impossible to make these documents public or to make them available to researchers. “The restored historical documents will be researched by historians, because they contain very important information, perhaps still undiscovered, about the period of the 19th century, when Bessarabia was under Tsarist occupation,” said Elena Pintilei.

The exhibition is open to the public until December 30th, 2019. It can be found at the National Library on 31 August 1989 street, 78A.

The exhibition “Bessarabian Motives” at the “Andrei Lupan” Scientific Library

source: fest.md

The exhibition “Bessarabian Motives” is composed of about 70 works performed in different techniques of visual art: oil on canvas, watercolour, ink pen, paper engraving. In the works of the artists are represented rural and architectural motives, as well as local people of the old Chișinău.

The old Chișinău, located on a picturesque place, on seven hills, impresses its inhabitants, but also the guests of the capital. This is why, the artists try to immortalise the old city and its architecture through new works, representing different seasons and times of the day.

“Bessarabian Motives” is a personal exhibition organised by two freelance plastic artists Antonina Grişciuc and Vitalie Grişciuc who have been exhibiting their work in group exhibitions and organising personal exhibitions for 25 years. Their works have been exhibited in many countries such as Moldova, Romania, Russia, Israel, Spain, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Japan, France etc.

The exhibition is open to the public in the period from September 27th to November 15th at the “Andrei Lupan” Scientific Library, on Academiei street, 5A.

The “Nature. Human. Culture” exhibition at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History

source: muzeu.md

The exhibition “Nature. Man. Culture” is a permanent museum exhibition that was created in 1988-1994. It has an area of ​​2000 square meters and reflects the global problem of human-nature interaction, based on local experience. Starting from the idea that nature is the environment of any human community, and culture is a reflection of the experience of human accommodation in the natural environment, the exhibition demonstrates the evolution of the use of natural resources and the development of the culture of human communities, which populated the region between Prut and Dniester area in different historical periods. It defines the transformation of nature from the sacralization of the forces of nature to their consumer domination by man. The exhibition also illustrates the problems of developing ethnicity and traditional culture in all its diversity, the results of the irresponsible attitude towards the surrounding nature, the conflicts between man and nature, solutions of economic and rational use of natural resources, as well as the tendencies to optimise the values ​​of the society.

The National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History is located on M. Kogalniceanu street, 82.

The exhibition “Treasures of the past” at the National Museum of History of Moldova

source: nationalmuseum.md

The permanent exhibition brings together the most relevant objects made of gold and silver, from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, from the period between the 5th millennium BC till the 18th century, kept in the patrimony of the National Museum of History of Moldova. The oldest pieces in the exhibition were manufactured 6500 years ago. The collection includes ornaments, clothing accessories and weapon elements, a series of coin treasures discovered in different localities of Moldova.

The National Museum of History of Moldova can be found on 31 August 1989 street, 115.

The open air “Village Museum”

source: https://muzeulsatuluichisinau.wordpress.com/

The Village Museum is a wonderful place at the “Gates of the City” – the buildings located at the entrance of Chișinău (from the airport). It aims to exhibit the monuments of popular architecture, namely the Bessarabian village from the 18th-19th century and offers a representative image of the plant world in the Republic of Moldova.

The museum was inaugurated in 1995, as a branch of the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History.

The museum complex has been under construction for a long time, having until now only one monument: a wooden church built in 1642, brought from the town of Hirișeni (Telenesti district) in order to be restored and saved.

When the project will be completed, it will cover an area of 150 hectares and will include six ethnographic areas with 165 monuments: windmills, water mills, wooden churches, dwelling houses, house annexes, trout, a traditional inn and a pub, etc.

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Economy

Unaffordable prices for low quality transportation services in Moldova or the apple of discord among carriers and the Government

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The Employers Association of Car Transport Operators from Moldova organised a protest yesterday and today. More than 250 transport units have been brought to the city centre of Chișinău, and about 250 other units are stationed in villages and district centres. That means 586 trips of 124 regular routes were suspended.

The carriers require the adjustment of the tariffs for transportation by doubling them (from 0.48 lei/km to 0.92 lei/km). On the other hand, the Government officials consider that only after providing decent transport conditions for passengers, the request of tariff adjustment can be discussed. In the meantime, people have to wait for hours for public transportation all over the country.

The <<Marshrutka>> phenomenon

The public transportation in Moldova is not expensive at all from an outside perspective. There are few countries on the European continent where one can travel from the airport to the city centre of a city for 0.10 euro. The prices for longer distance travel using mainly the so-called marshrutkas (fixed-route minivans) and sometimes buses may also look more than affordable. Nonetheless, due to low income, these prices seem high for the main client segment – the local population.

Moreover, passengers in Moldova accept and tolerate to travel standing and ‘packed like sardines’ (as local people like to say) sometimes their whole route. Some people still approach the driver to pay, that meaning their ticket money are not officially recorded and paid. The schedule of busses and minivans is sometimes confusing and not accurate, the transport services being provided on old and insecure vehicles.

The protest of transportation companies

According to protesters, the last change of tariffs took place six years ago and they incur losses because of this. Oleg Alexa, the president of the Employers’ Association of Car Transport Operators, explained for Moldova.org that there is a Government decision, approved ten years ago, which provides for the adjustment of tariffs in the transportation area once a year. However, the decision was not respected. The last adjustment of the tariffs was made six years ago, in November 2013, and was obtained by addressing the matter to the court. That time, the tariffs were increased from 0.38 to 0.48 lei/km.

“We are basically all bankrupt and we have a staff shortage of 3,000 employees.”

At the same time, during the negotiations with the representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the carriers have presented a list of proposals that could cause the tariff not to increase so much. That means carriers require partially maintaining the current conditions of passengers’ transportation, namely reusing transport units, transporting passengers standing up to 50 km, combating illicit passenger transport, importing transport units up to a certain age, eliminating abusive tax controls, etc. If the authorities will consider the carriers’ proposals, they would be willing to accept a lower tariff than the one requested during the protest, as Oleg Alexa stated.

At the same time, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure declared that the Government is against increasing the tariffs on transport, specifying that the adjustment of the tariffs can only be discussed after the passengers will be provided with civilised travel conditions.

In a press release, the Government disapproved the decision of the carriers to suspend 600 trips, thus blocking the movement of citizens, motivating the strike by the refusal of the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure to increase the tariffs on national road services.

The experts’ opinion

Economic experts say that the request of the carriers is justified, but the tariffs should be increased gradually, in order to not affect the citizens.

The economic expert Veaceslav Ioniță declared that the carriers have at least 50% higher costs as compared to six years ago. This is mainly due to the basic components of tariffs – employees’ salaries, the cost of spare parts and fuel price, which have all increased.

According to him, the authorities impose more and more stringent requirements on the carriers, which means that the carriers can no longer use old cars, but have to buy well-maintained cars, that implying additional costs.

As for the requested increase of tariffs, the expert claims that it is obvious that the carriers “requested an exaggerated tariff, hoping that they will reach a middle ground at the negotiations.” In the same context, he noted, however, that the current government has a reason to be upset about the carriers. This is because they have not taken such actions in the past, during the six years since the tariffs were maintained.

At the same time, Ioniță warned that tariffs are politicised in Moldova. “They are approved by the authorities. It is not an independent regulation. Because of this, carriers are also vulnerable,” claimed Ioniță.

As it seems, the protests of the carriers will continue and the public transportation problem in the Republic of Moldova will not be so easy to be solved, as several contradicting interests exist. One thing is clear: Moldovan passengers of national and international routes have to suffer in this situation.

Photo: ipn.md

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