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Republic of Moldova: rapporteurs call for a new impulse to the much-needed reform process

On their return from a fact-finding visit to Chisinau and Comrat (13-16 May 2015), PACE rapporteurs Lise Christoffersen (Norway, SOC) and Piotr Wach (Poland, EPP/CD) expressed their expectations and hopes relating to the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Republic of Moldova.

“We hope that the country, which is facing difficult times, will be able to give a new impulse to the much-needed reform process and bring national legislation closer to European standards, in the interest of the population. For the time being, a minority government supported by the Democratic Party and the Liberal-Democratic Party, is running the country, which means finding case-by-case political compromises with the Party of the Communists or the Liberal Party to pass legislation. We find it however unfortunate that the government decided to assume responsibility for securing the adoption of the 2015 budget - while debating and voting the budget is an essential prerogative of the parliament. We understand that the coalition could evolve, depending on the results of the local elections, planned for 14 and 28 June 2015.”

“The geopolitical context, and the interference of foreign countries and business interests in domestic politics, are still major challenges. The authorities should also urgently address the disillusion of the population caused by corruption cases, especially a serious bank scandal involving the disappearance of one billion dollars from three national banks in conditions that raise a number of questions about the functioning of the supervisory bodies and the chain of responsibility. Prompt action and thorough investigation are expected to shed light on this case and bring those responsible to justice. This shows, once again, that the fight against corruption and money laundering should be strengthened, as well as the separation of powers, the independent, depoliticised functioning of State institutions and transparency in public life, including in media ownership and the funding of political parties. In this respect, we welcome the adoption of the Law on political party financing in March 2015, which is a step in the right direction.”

“In this difficult context, we were pleased to note that the authorities remain committed to fulfilling their obligations towards Council of Europe values. We welcome the fact that the much-anticipated reform of the prosecutor’s office, taking into consideration most of the recommendations of the Venice Commission, should be adopted by the parliament during this session. Once implemented, this reform should limit political interference in the appointment of the General Prosecutor.”

The rapporteurs called on the parliament to start work, without further delay, on the revision of the Constitution that is needed to avoid a new political deadlock for the election of the President of the Republic, scheduled for spring 2016. They also took note of the decentralisation process, which is continuing as planned. “We need to stress that allocating sufficient financial resources to local authorities will be crucial to the success of this reform, but may prove more difficult in the current economic context, marked by the bank scandal,” the rapporteurs added.

Ms Christoffersen and Mr Wach welcomed the positive messages issued by the authorities in relation to the Autonomous Region of Gagauz-Yeri and the renewed communication between the Moldovan Parliament and the newly-elected Bashkan (Governor) of Gagauzia. “We expect that consolidated dialogue between the central and regional authorities will finally enable both sides to ensure that legislation promulgated by the Moldovan Parliament is compatible with the statute granted in 1994 to the region, which should be fully implemented. We urge the Moldovan central authorities and the Gagauz representatives to find a format to set up, without delay, a working group. We are convinced that such an initiative would substantially contribute to lifting all legal hurdles that have hampered the relationship between the two sides. This process should be fully backed by the Council of Europe, which can provide the necessary expertise.”

Finally, the rapporteurs welcomed the meeting between the Speaker of the Parliament, Andrei Candu, and Mikhail Burla, President of the de facto Supreme Council of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, on 18 May 2015 - the first of its kind in 13 years. “We sincerely hope for a friendly settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, primarily in the interest of the people, and in full respect of Moldovan territorial integrity. We wish to encourage the initiative taken by the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament today, which, we believe, shows that parliamentary diplomacy can and must play a positive role in the reintegration process, as recommended by the Parliamentary Assembly in the past.”

The rapporteurs are due to present their findings in an information note to be submitted to the Monitoring Committee in June 2015.