The law on NGOs and the way in which it was promoted show the state’s attitude to civil society. The bill was approved by all the parliamentary commissions in 2018 and practically no changes can be made. The Socialist MPs try to make “small corrections” that actually change the essence of the law. The Socialists can say that they voted the given law, but changing the essence of the law is something serious and the EU will not accept such changes, PAS MP Virgiliu Pâslariuc stated in a public debate titled “Voting of EU conditions: parliamentary majority’s twist” that was held by IPN News Agency.
Virgiliu Pâslariuc does not consider that the Party of Socialists radically changed its position on the law on NGOs even if it was announced that they are ready to vote it, with particular amendments. “If the amendments proposed by the Socialists are accepted, the Republic of Moldova’s European course will be practically compromised. One of the amendments clearly restricts the work of nongovernmental organizations and bans them practically from criticizing any public policy, a very vague conception of “political lobbying” being introduced. Any statement or criticism referring to a politician, for example, can fall under this conception. If such restrictions are introduced, the purpose of civil society will be practically constricted. If this amendment is adopted in the second reading, I don’t think the second tranche of the macro-financial assistance will be disbursed,” stated Virgiliu Pâslariuc.
He noted that another provision proposed by the Socialists refer to state control over the finances of NGOs. But this is a nonprofit sector and the state should not intervene in it. When the people’s right to association is violated, the country is pushed towards authoritarian states. Another amendment banks the NGOs from monitoring elections, while another amendment annuls the proposed ban that prevents the foundations affiliated to parties from campaigning. A lot was said about those foundations that interfere in the pace of elections.
Virgiliu Pâslariuc noted the rhetoric of the Party of Socialists, which is an opportunist party, is similar to the Kremlin’s rhetoric as civil society is attacked and the same propagandistic ideas are used. The PSRM tries to base its message on those general ideas that are distributed through the Russian mass media.
The MP also said that by introducing such terms as “political lobbying”, society is removed from the process of debating and adopting political decisions and this is an authoritarian reflex. The law on NGOs is designed to ensure more transparency in terms of financing and to also simplify the procedure for registering these organizations. The politicians should take wise decisions as the higher is the quality of civil society, the better is governance.
The debate “Voting of EU conditions: parliamentary majority’s twist” was the 138th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” that are supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.