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US Ambassador in Moldova: An empowered media isn’t always pleasant for those of us in the government

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The United States Ambassador to Moldova, H.E. James D. Pettit, delivered a strong speech in defense of the press on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Ambassador Pettit underlined that a free and independent media is the cornerstone of democracy. The American diplomat confessed that he is often asked difficult questions, but recognizes the strong media makes his work better:

“But through it all, a strong media makes us better.  It forces us to look at our policies and ask:  Does this make sense?  Does it actually accomplish what we are trying to do?  Does it support the core democratic values we hold dear?  A free and independent media is the whetstone against which the sword of truth and justice is sharpened.”

His Excellency did not forget to stress out that the United States of America monitors the cases of harassment of journalists in Moldova and the US will continue to defend Moldovan media:

“We are troubled when we receive reports, as we have this year in Moldova, of alleged harassment of journalists.  We monitor these reports closely and urge the government of Moldova to respond swiftly to all such cases.  It’s what all legitimate governments must do.  The United States will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the democratic principles of a free and open media are protected in the Republic of Moldova.”

Read the full speech here.

Important

This is Igor Dodon’s reply after Constitutional Court’s decision that the president can not submit a candidate for the post of PM

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President Igor Dodon believes that the election of the Parliament leadership is the only way to overcome the political crisis in the country.

The statement was made for the Russian news agency TASS after the Constitutional Court’s decision that the President of the Republic of Moldova can not submit a candidate to the post of PM in the absence of Parliament’s governing bodies.

“I have mentioned that if until mid-June the governing bodies of the legislature will not be established, I will have to sign the decree of dissolving the Parliament and appointing the date of organizing early parliamentary elections,” warns President Dodon on his Facebook page.

The president stressed that this scenario “is not good” for Moldova, given the risks of stopping investment projects in infrastructure, the emergence of risks in the budgetary system, postponing the creation of the Government and conducting local elections.

We recall that according to the decision of the CC, the impossibility of meeting the Parliament because of the lack of the organ convening it implies the impossibility of the President of the Republic of Moldova to appoint a candidate for the post of PM.

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Economy

Moldova will receive a $70,000,000 loan from the World Bank

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The aim of the money is to increase electricity distribution capacity. According to a communiqué to the international institution mentioned above, the decision to grant the loan was approved yesterday by the World Bank Board of Directors.

A new high-voltage 400 kV line will be built from the WB money between Vulcanesti, in the south of Moldova and Chisinau. Also, the modernization and extension of substations in Chisinau and Vulcanesti are envisaged, as well as strengthening the energy transmission and metering system.

“The project will strengthen the capacity and reliability of local energy distribution in Moldova and will support the future interconnection of Moldova’s electricity system to the European electricity grid through Romania. This will be vital for the diversification of Moldova’s electricity supply, which will allow electricity to be supplied at competitive and transparent prices,” says the communiqué.

Over the last 27 years, the World Bank has granted the Republic of Moldova loans totaling over $1,000,000,000 for about 60 projects.

Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes ten active projects with a total commitment of $391.300,000. The areas of support include regulatory reform and business development, education, eGovernment, healthcare, agriculture, local roads, the environment, and others.

The commitment portfolio of the International Financial Corporation in Moldova includes five projects amounting to $17,000,000 (69% loans and 31% equity). The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency provided $95,000,000. Both institutions are members of the World Bank Group.

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Important

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

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