Role of President Dodon for Russia and implications for European integration

Publicate Iunie 22, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: Rusia pretutindeni, UE şi RM

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The Moldovan-Russian relations, as Moldova’s foreign policy, develop continuously in a bi-directional context. On the one hand, the Government and Parliament led by the Democratic Party confirm the commitment to the European agenda. On the other hand, President Igor Dodon and the Party of Socialists insist on the integration into the Eurasian Economic Union and, respectively, the abandonment of the Association Agreement with the EU. At the same time, in statements both of the political forces – the Democrats and the Socialists – highlight that Moldova needs good relations both with the West and with the East and plead for “flexible geopolitics”.

In reality, the relationships with the EU and Russia are antagonized by the government and the Socialist opposition. Thus, the Democrats recently resorted to the expulsion of five Russian diplomats for vaguely formulated reasons. Apparently, the decision to expel the Russian diplomats was determined by the behavior of the diplomats, their proximity to the Transnistrian administration or espionage practices. The penalization of Russian diplomats forms part of a long succession of gestures in relation to Russia, namely banning of access of Russian journalists and experts, who were considered agents of the Russian information war, recommendation for Moldovan officials not to travel to Russia or alleged Russian traces in the controversial murder attempt on Vladimir Plahotniuc’s life. Given his limited powers, President Dodon so far managed to only make accusations against the West (U.S. and EU) for the reason that this would have encouraged the pro-European government to expel Russian diplomats.
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Three scenarios concerning fate of EU macro-financial assistance for Moldova

Publicate Iunie 14, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: UE şi RM

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We are witnessing a unique situation in the EU-Moldova dialogue, when representatives of the European Parliament impose themselves more visibly than other European institutions in relation to the political situation in Chisinau. At the initial stage, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the European People’s Party committed themselves to persuade other European institutions of the necessity of halting the European assistance if the Democratic Party ruling in Moldova does not abandons the idea of introducing the uninominal voting system. But the political stratagems in Chisinau ramified continuously and this made the MEPs to look for more efficient solutions to constrain the ruling party, which constantly invents new ways of avoiding the European conditionality. In such circumstances, the European Parliament intends to postpone for a month, until June, the approval of the decision about the €100 million in macro-financial assistance (Free Europe, May 2017), intended for Moldova for 2017-2018.

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How did Moldova become a ”captured state”?

Publicate Iunie 9, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: Moldova corupta, Uncategorized

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Closer to the end of 2014, the expression “state capture” became a kind of country brand for Moldova. The extra-parliamentary opposition regularly used this phrase to describe the defective governance and infiltration of obscure interests into the government. The foreign development partners, with very small exceptions, used more veiled formulas when they spoke about “state capture” in Moldova so as to avoid a direct confrontation with the Moldovan authorities, which would have led to the imminent short-circuiting of the dialogue. Consequently, these used the “powerful politicization of institutions” as an equivalent.

The idea of state capture was assimilated by the public opinion much easier amid the crisis in the banking system unveiled at the end 2014. This way the phrase became a very popular jargon in national journalism. Other criminal activities committed in the period of the so-called pro-European governments (2009-2016), alongside the thefts in the banking system, also started to be associated with the phenomenon of “state capture”.

Habitually, state capture in Moldova is attributed to the leader of the Democratic Party (PDM), controversial businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc. Accusing him of complicity in state capture, the opponents call him “puppeteer”. Namely for this reason, the protests mounted by the pro-European and pro-Russian opposition (RFI, October 2015) in 2015-2016 featured primarily Vladimir Plahotniuc. Ex-Premier Vlad Filat referred to the implications of the “puppeteer” in his last speech in Parliament, before his arrest in October 2015. Read the rest of this post »

Halt in EU funding versus uninominal voting system in Moldova

Publicate Iunie 3, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: UE şi RM

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The Government of Moldova is determined to introduce the uninominal voting system fully or at least partially as soon as possible and at any cost. Thus, the bill to change the electoral legislation formulated by the Democratic Party was passed in the first reading, being introduced in the agenda, approved and adopted by 52 votes during only several hours. A similar swift path was covered by the bill on the mixed-member electoral system, which includes different components of the uninominal voting system. The latter, which was proposed by the parliamentary opposition (Party of Socialists) that is affiliated to President Dodon, was passed by the votes of 74 MPs. The uninominal voting system was the maximum goal of the Democratic Party and the mixed-member system could ultimately represent the minimum goal (combination of voting based on party lists and in uninominal constituencies). Only by modifying the electoral system can the ruling party ensure a place in the equation of power and sufficient immunity for the system built around Vladimir Plahotniuc.

The vote on both of the bills was organized several days before the planned arrival of Venice Commission experts in Chisinau (May 9), putting thus the Council of Europe before an accomplished fact. At the same time, the actions of the Plahtoniuc-Dodon duo took place only two days after the critical statement of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) of May 3, 2017. The two pan-European parties warned the Moldovan authorities that any attempt to bring about such a change without the full backing of the opposition and of civil society will lead the EPP and ALDE to demand that all European funding be stopped. (EPP, May 2017). Read the rest of this post »

Moldova after three years of visa-free regime with EU and new European realities

Publicate Mai 14, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: Liberalizarea vizelor, UE şi RM

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The abolition of the visa regime for Moldovan citizens in April 2014 was one of the most palpable accomplishments of the Moldovan authorities in the European integration process. Partially, owing to this success, Moldova was considered a “success story”. But this description was practically abandoned in the light of the multiple political crises caused by corruption and very serious offenses, like those committed in the banking system.

On March 28, 2017, Georgia joined Moldova, becoming the second Eastern Partnership country for which the EU abolished the visa regime (VisaFreeEurope, March 2017). Meanwhile, Ukraine goes through the last procedural stages so that it could also benefit from visa-free travel in the Schengen Area by the end of 2017. The negotiations with Georgia and Ukraine, as well as with Turkey and Kosovo, on the liberalization of visas depended a lot on the changes made by the EU to the visa waiver suspension mechanism (Council of the EU, February 2017). Thus, the EU introduced more rigorous conditions towards the countries that benefit from visa-free travel, including Moldova. Read the rest of this post »

Can Memorandum with Eurasian Union diminish Moldova’s European agenda?

Publicate Mai 1, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: Rusia pretutindeni, UE şi RM

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Shortly after his first 100 days in office, President Igor Dodon signed a Memorandum of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union. Symbolically or not, but the executive office of President Dodon chose to sign the document in Chisinau, in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan (Presedinte.md, April 2017). The five-page Memorandum was published on the organization’s official website on April 4 already, one day after its signing in Chisinau.

The content of the Memorandum hasn’t been consulted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, while Prime Minister Pavel Filip described it as “inopportune” and as a document that cannot bring “palpable economic and political advantages to the country”. As the representative of the government coordinated by the Democratic Party and its leader Vladimir Plahotniuc, Premier Filip expressed criticism during his visit to Brussels, which was dedicated to the third EU-Moldova Association Council meeting (Euroactiv, March 2017). Besides the Memorandum of cooperation, the Moldovan Premier also condemned President Dodon’s request to grant Moldova the observer status in the Eurasian Union. Contrary to the opinions shared by the government, President Dodon considers the Memorandum does not run counter to the Association Agreement with the EU. Read the rest of this post »

Hidden concerns of EU and adaptability of government

Publicate Aprilie 24, 2017 de dioniscenusa
Categorii: UE şi RM

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The long chain of shortcomings and the necessity for Chisinau to double efforts were at the core of the messages transmitted by the European Union in the third meeting of the EU – Moldova Association Council held in Brussels (Gov.md, March 31, 2017). Europeans’ emphases were yet offset by the Moldovan authorities that balanced out the constructive, but subtle criticism of the Europeans and the pro-reform commitments and rhetoric.

The pro-governmental press presented the March 31 meeting of the Association Council as a success of the government, which, according to Prime Minister Pavel Filip, stabilized the country in 2016, while in 2017 will focus on the implementation of reforms. The statements made by the European officials and the final document of the Association Council are yet more critical of the government’s performance. In other words, Europeans’ appraisals are rather reserved, but are simultaneously objective and balanced. Read the rest of this post »


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