Jaromír Štětina se ve dnech 13. – 15.11.2014 společně s kolegy z frakce Evropské lidové strany zúčastnil vyšetřovací mise v Moldavii. Termín cesty se shodoval s hlasováním Evropského parlamentu o dohodě o přidružení Moldávie k Evropské unii, které proběhlo ve čtvrtek 13. listopadu v Bruselu.V Moldavsku se budou konat 30. listopadu 2014 řádné volby; tyto volby jsou velmi důležité i vzhledem k budoucímu směřování o geopolitické orientaci země.
Report on the EPP Group Fact Finding Mission to Moldova, 13 – 15 November 2014
The EPP Group Fact Finding Mission to Moldova timely coincided with the European Parliament’s vote on the Association Agreement, which took place on Thursday 13 November in Brussels. Moldova holds the legislative elections on 30 November 2014; these elections are to decide on the geopolitical orientation of the country. Should the support to the parties of the pro-democratic camp be transformed in a secured majority of seats in the parliament allowing the continuation of the pro-European coalition, the country would continue its path towards Europe.
The EPP Group Mission was chaired by Sandra Kalniete, the EPP Group Vice-President in charge of the Eastern European Neighbourhood and Enlargement. Members who took part were Michael Gahler, EPP Group rapporteur for Moldova, Jaromír Štětina, Vice-President of SEDE, and Andrzej Grzyb, member of the bilateral delegation EU-Moldova.
The Members engaged in the direct campaign and met with approximately 800 Moldovans whom they informed about the benefits of the Association Agreement (the EPP Mission was divided into three teams to multiply the impact throughout the country). Regarding the political meetings, delegation members met with Vlad Filat, Chairman of PLDM (EPP Observer), Iurie Leanca, Prime Minister of RM, who is the most popular politician in the country, Dorin Recean, Minister of Internal Affairs, Sabina Cerbu, Deputy Minister of Justice, and diplomats, namely Pirkka Tapiola, Head of the EU Delegation in Moldova, Artur Michalski, Polish Ambassador, Vita Dobele, Charge d’affaires of Latvia,Thomas Weithöner, Deputy Head of the German Embassy, Jan Husák, Deputy Head of the Czech Embassy.
The signing of the EU Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement took place on 27 June in Brussels. Already on 2 July, Moldova’s Parliament ratified the agreement. The European Parliament approved it on 13 November. The MEPs informed their Moldovan partners about the fact that it was right and left extremists in the European Parliament, including representatives of the GUE Group, who voted against the Association Agreement. The provisional application of the AA/DCFTA started on 1 September 2014. The next government will have to ensure the implementation of the agreement.
The relations with the EU have advanced, as since April 2014 Moldovans with biometric passports can travel to the EU without the need to obtain visas. The Moldovans can truly see the fruits of the association with the EU.
It is worth noting that the current trade volume shows that more than 50% of Moldovan export goes westwards to EU Member States, while only some 20% are exported to Russia (figures are likely to change after the effects of Russian counter-measures against the EU sanctions).
Recent polls show that only 35% of Moldovans seem to support EU integration while 38% favour Russia’s Customs Union. These figures further prove that the country is internally divided. The European prospects of Moldova depend on the results to be achieved by the pro-European parties. PLDM President Filat stressed that the goal of the party after the elections (should the election results allow it) is to advance the EU-Moldova relations to the point that it would not be possible neither for Russia nor its proxies to reverse the Foreign Policy orientation of the country towards the EU.
During the recent visit of Commissioner Hahn to Moldova, the EU and Moldova signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Single Support Framework with the Republic of Moldova and a new financing agreement to support DCFTA implementation.
The European Union will provide Moldova with up to 410 million euros in 2014-2017.
The society in Moldova is strongly polarised and tired of seemingly endless political crisis in the country. Repeated elections, a marred referendum and long term inability to elect the President (due to the rigid provisions enshrined in the constitution) led to a fatigue of the population. In March 2012, Nicolae Timofti was elected as new president of Moldova. His election ended two and half years of instability. Since May 2013, Iurie Leanca (PLDM/EPP) has been the Prime Minister of Moldova and he is currently the most popular politician in the country. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Filat’s governments was selected by his party following the decision of the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled that Vlad Filat, the Prime Minister by then, could not be reappointed to the office of Prime Minister.
According to the polls, the main competitors of the upcoming elections will be either theLiberal Democrats (PLDM/EPP) and the Communists. The PLDM based its core campaign on the slogan to get the country to the European Union and NATO. Delegation members witnessed the electoral billboards with EU flag and NATO logo. As concerns the Communists, despite their softened rhetoric on the EU and the Association Agreement, their engagement in the next government would possibly destroy European aspirations and the progress achieved so far. The two parties are accompanied by smaller ‘allies’. In the democratic camp it is the Democratic Party led by Marian Lupu (Socialists) and theLiberals led by Mihai Ghimpu (liberal party with national accent). On the Eastern leaning side it would be the Socialist party of Igor Dodon who is seen to be more radical than the Communists, and the new populist party ‘Patria’, led by Usati, who made fortunes in his dubious business in Russia. The representatives of embassies informed that the opinion polls are not accurate and are hard to be trusted. The PLDM representatives are confident that the voters will choose the European path.
The ambassadors informed that in case it would not be possible to agree on a pro-European coalition after the elections, the bad scenario could actually be the creation of the pro-Eastern coalition (Communists, Socialists and Patria), provided that Communist leader Vladimir Voronin would overcome his antipathies with Igor Dodon.
The impact of the Presidential elections in Romania on the voter’s behaviour in Moldova due to the fears of the reunification with Romania is hard to be predicted.
Russian exercise of influence
Russia’s goal is to re-orient the country towards the East. Besides the continuous occupation of the left bank of Dniester river and support for the Gagauz population (Christians of Turkish origin held an illegal referendum on joining the Russian-led Custom’s Union in February 2014), there is the more imminent threat to challenge the elections. Members were informed that the Moldovan authorities expect provocations on election day and at the moment the results are announced (challenging the statistics/calling mob to the streets). The elections will likely to be influenced by the inflow of Moldovans living in Russia. Of about 600 thousand Moldovans, only 190 thousand have acquired the legal right to work in Russia. According to the latest news, the Russian authorities will not apply sanctions against those citizens of Moldova, who have exceeded their time of stay in Russia, but want to go home to take part in the parliamentary elections and come back to Russia to resume work. This could be interpreted as a retaliatory measure against Moldova (there will be about 5 polling stations throughout Russia, while there are 25 in Italy).
Another example is giving support for the Socialist party leader Igor Dodon. While Russian leaders try to deliberately avoid bilateral contact with the Moldovan leadership (including at the CIS countries meeting in Minsk), President Putin met with Igor Dodon in Moscow a week ago.
The delegation members were actively campaigning and informing the Moldovans about the benefits of the Association Agreement. Sandra Kalniete met with students of the State University, met the participants of the campaign concert in Singera where she replied to the questions of ordinary Moldovans. On Friday 14, she accompanied Prime Minister Leanca at meetings in the countryside. Michael Gahler
accompanied Valeriu Streleț, Vice-President of the PLDM and Party Group Chairman. He spoke at two party rallies in villages in Carpineni and Balceana. Jaromír Štětina accompanied Anatolie Dimitru MP. They attended a meeting with teachers and students of the lyceum at Razeni village and met villagers of Costeti. The MEPs addressed approximately 800 Moldovans directly.
Pirkka Tapiola, Head of EU Delegation in Moldova, informed that the EU Delegation is to finance TV spots informing about the benefits of the visa free travel to the EU. The question however remains whether the EU has done enough to inform the citizens of the advantages of the association with the EU.
Members of the EPP Group are encouraged to take part at the final rally the PLDM will organise on the eve of the parliamentary elections because with our presence we could make a difference in supporting pro-European forces.
The Members issued the following press release. Thanks to the efforts of the Romanian section of the EPP Group Press and Communications Department, the press release was translated into Romanian and further distributed on social media networks. Until 17 November at midnight, the Romanian version was shared more than 3600 times.