Situation in Moldova discussed again in European Parliament

Before the Eastern Partnership Summit that will take place in Brussels on November 24, the political situation in Moldova was again debated in the European Parliament. EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides said the EU’s further financing for Moldova will depend on the way in which Chisinau fulfills the commitments that will be undertaken by a memorandum of understanding that is to be signed by the sides. He noted the EU will “closely monitor” the implementation of Moldova’s controversial new electoral law, IPN reports.

Christos Stylianides told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on October 3 that suggestions made by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe “have not been addressed by the new electoral law.” “The effect of this law on multiparty democracy will depend on how it is implemented,” said Stylianides, who was speaking on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. He added healthy democracy not only depends on good electoral legislation, but also needs an appropriate legal system and a clear fight against corruption.

A comment on the statement was made by Cristian Preda, of the Group of the European People’s Party. He said he considers the law to introduce the mixed-member electoral system was adopted as a result of an agreement between President Igor Doron and the Democratic leader Vlad Plahotniuc, who now head the most influential political parties in Chisinau and would like to eliminate the other parties. He repeatedly called on the European Parliament to request the European Commission to suspend the transfer of the €100 million in macro-financial assistance.

Petras Austrevicius, of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, said the impartial judicial procedures applied in Chisinau by courts of law arouse concern. He referred to the case of the suspended Mayor General of Chisinau Dorin Chirtoaca. “Only a depoliticized judicial system can give correct sentences. I see that Moldova fails in this regard. I have a critical position on Moldova’s European future. The country will continue to lose until the authorities reach a conclusion as to the building of a European Moldova,” stated Petras Austrevicius.

Igor Soltes, MEP who led the EP’s November 30, 2014 parliamentary elections monitoring mission in Moldova, wondered if EU funds should be further sent to Moldova if these only disappear there. He noted the justice sector in Moldova does not work to recover the money stolen from the banking system, corruption grows, while the freedom of the media and the freedom of opinion are restricted. “They do politics by arresting political opponents. There is no viable, impartial legal system. All these elements should worry us. Given such a situation, I think the European Parliament should play a role,” he stated.

According to David McAllister, German MP on behalf of the EPP, said that if no progress is made in doing reforms, this should have financial consequences. “Less for less,” he stated.

Bas Belder, of the Independence and Democracy Group, said the adoption of the mixed system means that the rule of law in Moldova will continue to be weak and this will prevent the existence of democratic political opposition.

Some of the MEPs said the 100 million in macro-financial assistance should be provided only after a series of clear conditions as to the implementation of reforms are fulfilled. “We should not be afraid to impose conditions on Moldova. The citizens expect this from us,” stated Siegfried Muresan.

“The things that take place in Chisinau do not make the Republic of Moldova a candidate for EU membership,” said Marian Jean Marinescu, of the EPP Group.

Other MEPs criticized the colleagues with harsher positions, saying that by seeking the suspension of the financial assistance for Moldova, they will prevent the country from following the European course on which it set off several years ago.

Victor Bostinaru, of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, reminded that the Government of Moldova requested Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova’s territory and about the Democratic Party’s initiative to introduce the European integration as a strategic development course in the Constitution. “These facts show that the actions are not taken in complicity with Russia. If we do not support the Republic of Moldova now, we will give it free to Russia,” he stated.

Norica Nicolai, of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, warned that if the EU does not help Moldova now with the €100 million, the country will get this money from Russia and the EU will thus become irrelevant to the Moldovans.

MEP of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Andi Cristea said Moldova follows a good road. The economic situation in the country stabilizes and the European support should continue because the reforms are in full swing. “There will be yet many internal challenges, but the Association Agreement is implemented at a stable pace. The next few months will be crucial for confirming this positive tendency,” stated Andi Cristea.

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