The upcoming presidential elections in Moldova will be a test for democracy, say MEPs 

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The European Parliament is concerned by the slow course of rule of law reforms and fighting corruption in Moldova, which continues to suffer from acute political instability.

On Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted its report assessing the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Moldova, with 554 votes in favour, 70 against and 65 abstentions. The text reaffirms the EU’s commitment to support Moldova’s “European path” through political association, economic integration and reforms, and commends the “sustained engagement” by both the Moldovan authorities and society in this process. It also highlights Moldova’s “constructive contribution to the cooperation within the Eastern Partnership.”

At the same time, much more must be achieved with regard to the commitments undertaken by Moldova in its Association Agreement with the EU, particularly when it comes to ensuring the independence of state institutions, preventing oligarchic influence, stepping up the fight against widespread corruption, promoting justice, strengthening the rule of law and improving media freedom and people’s living conditions, says the text.

Presidential elections in an environment of acute political instability

With regard to the Moldovan presidential elections scheduled on 1 November this year, MEPs say that the EU and relevant international organisations should monitor the situation in the country closely, as these elections will be a “test for democracy and the rule of law”.

Against a backdrop of what they describe as “acute political instability”, Members call on the Moldovan authorities to ensure that these elections will be “free and fair” and to further improve relevant electoral legislation. This is a necessity to guarantee the effectiveness of the right to vote, the fairness of the electoral campaigns, the transparency of the legislative process and democratic oversight, which must allow for proper public scrutiny of the government’s and the parliament’s activities.

The Moldovan authorities must also refrain from altering rules and regulations for political gain, “which will always end in political unrest and instability affecting the commitment for structural reforms”, says the report.

The Constitutional Courts’ independence is crucial

Following serious cases of harassment and blackmailing, MEPs further call on the Moldovan authorities to strengthen and ensure the complete independence of the country’s Constitutional Court, in order to guarantee that it is not subject to any political interference.

They firmly condemn the “enormous pressure” that the Court’s judges were recently subjected to when they declared an agreed 200 million EUR loan from Russia to Moldova as unconstitutional.

The report also expresses concern over the general slow course of rule of law reforms in Moldova, as well as over problems with seriously tackling corruption and highly politicised media and advertising sectors.

The text, which addresses everything from institutional provisions and trade to the rule of law, good governance, the situation in Transnistria, EU macro-financial assistance, energy and much more, will be available in full here. (20.10.2020)

Quote

“The European Union and the Republic of Moldova are partners, because they are committed to one another. At the heart of this commitment lies one value, one that is debated even amongst ourselves, the members of the Union: the rule of law. As we remind our Member States that the rule of law is the fabric of democracy, we also underline this to the Moldovans. Over and over again. The commitment to the rule of law and democracy is essential for the common destination we have set for ourselves, European integration. My report and the main message that we, as Parliament, send this week to the Republic of Moldova are precisely about these fundamental choices and values that make us all European”, said rapporteur Dragoș Tudorache (Renew Europe, RO) after the vote.

Background

The report was prepared by MEPs in the Foreign Affairs Committee.