The European Parliament is going to call on the European Commission to upheld the EU financial assistance to Moldova over the annulation of the Chisinau mayor election.
Ahead of the parliamentary debate to be hold in Strasbourg on July 5 under the “breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law” six draft resolutions have been deposited for voting by 6 of the 7 major political groups in the Parliament.
Five of the resolutions are calling for a suspension of the disbursements of EUR 100 million for Micro-financial assistance (MFA) until after the November parliamentary elections with only the socialists not raising the issue of freezing the EU financial support.
The reason for the anger is the annulment of the second tour of the mayoral elections in Chisinau on 3 June. The claim of the runner up candidate Ion Ceban for political agitation on the election day was confirmed on three court instances, including the Supreme Court of Moldova.
However, the European deputies from the conservatives on the right to the communists on the left, find these decisions were politically influenced and are signal for the “deterioration of the democratic standards in Moldova”.
The magistrates found that both candidates were campaigning on social media on the election day, although the international and national observers didn’t report serious regularities.
According the biggest parliamentary group in the European Parliament – the European People’s Party – similar campaigning “has been standard practice in previous elections in Moldova and never led to their cancellation”. The liberals from ALDE Group are noting that the campaign ran by the winner Andrei Nastase was “invitation to voters to cast their ballots” and didn’t mention neither the name of the candidates, nor their campaign messages.
Members of the European Parliament are assessing that the annulment of the results by the courts taken “on dubious grounds and in non-transparent way”.
The Greens are adding “the invalidation of the mayoral elections raises serious doubts about the independence and impartiality of Moldova’s judicial system” and the conservatives from the ECR group are raising concerns with the “oligahisation” of Moldova while the socialists are stressing on the “interference of the judicial power on the electoral process”.
Everyone but the socialists are explicit that “the political conditions for the disbursement of MFA have not been met” and are insisting on freezing payment. The Christian-Democrats are the only who would like to go further and to ask the European Commission to suspend all budgetary support, using the precedent following the bank fraud in 2015.
Moldova was the first EU partner which MFA was conditioned on the reforms and the respect of the democratic mechanisms.
In October 2017 the EU decided to cancel a transfer of EUR 28 million over the slow judicial reforms in Moldova.
While European Parliament does not have the final decision of the next tranche of financial aid, the deputies will be sending a strong political signal and the European Commission will be required to decide on the call of Parliament.
Moldova joined the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2009 and the EU-Moldova Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) entered into force on 1 July 2016.
Being the poorest country in Europe with over 40% of the population under the poverty line, Moldova is benefiting from the EU financial support and visa free travel.
In September 2017 the European Parliament and the Council agreed on EUR 100 million macro-financial assistance programme to support Moldova’s economic stabilisation. It foresees the assistance to be provided in three tranches, each of them subject to strict conditionality. The respect for effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law, and guarantees for human rights are among the preconditions for receiving the money with the EU and the EEAS responsible for monitoring their implementation. So far, no money was send in Chisinau under the assistance scheme.
Draft resolution on behalf of EPP
Draft resolution on behalf of S&D
Draft resolution on behalf of ECR
Draft resolution on behalf of ALDE
Draft resolution on behalf of GREENS
Draft resolution on behalf of GUE
Micro-financial assistance for Moldova