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Moldova – Europe’s next security crisis?

Liviu G. Stan 17 august 2015 0

 

In the current reality of the Eastern European region, if we are to discuss about Moldova, we would talk, in political and administrative terms, of a state that is corrupt, having a government, mass media and business environment controlled by oligarchs, characterized by a high degree of poverty that leads citizens to emigrate to areas with higher standards of living.

Sursă imagine: bzi.ro

Sursă imagine: bzi.ro

 

Unfortunately, it is a state that loses its credibility in front of international institutions. More than that, Transnistria, Moldova’s Eastern region occupied by the russians, can be seen as „a powder keg which could explode at any time” and that might face a scenario similar to the one in Crimea.

If until recently Moldova was presented as the success story of the European Eastern Partnership, after the publication of an article signed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, the phrase „state captured by the oligarchs”[1] has become a fact worldwide recognized. In the article published in The New York Times the Secretary General of the Council of Europe states that the Republic of Moldova is a state trapped in the hands of the oligarchs, characterized by endemic corruption that causes its citizens to migrate to states with a higher standard of living.[2]

In addition, the Annual Report of the US State Department for 2014 on observance of human rights shows that the most serious problem of the Republic of Moldova is the corruption. The phenomenon is widespread, especially in the judiciary, tax and customs services as well as in other public institutions[3]. The Chisinau authorities have been slow in addressing this issue, though in the Republic of Moldova exists, at least at the theoretical level, a fairly extensive anti-corruption legislation. Regarding the mass-media, the lack of transparency in media ownership and the increased market monopoly held by Casa Media, acompany that belongs to Vladimir Plahotniuc[4], first vice president of the Democratic Party, are denounced. Furthermore, self-censorship, as stated in the report, represents one of the most practiced methods in the press from Chisinau for avoiding defamatory accusations through which the government officials threaten the independent media.[5] Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, the sanctions imposed by BCC (Broadcasting Coordinating Council/CCA – ConsiliulCoordonator al Autovizualului) to the broadcasting televisions stations retransmitting from Russia for propaganda purposes were just for show. The temporary suspension of Rossia 24 television station did not lead to the elimination of propaganda but to beginning broadcasting a new russian channel, Lifenews, without the BCC agreement. Other matters analyzed in the report tackle issues such as the erosion of press freedom, societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, human trafficking, violence against women, the torture and mistreatment of detainees, overcrowded prisons and detention centers, limited application of workers’ rights, child labor and many others[6].

Although the Progress Report of the Republic Moldova for 2014 within the ENP (European Neighborhood Policy) shows that there has been progress madein the fight against corruption and the institutional reform[7], today the situation in the state deteriorated significantly. Currently, the Chisinau authorities face a series of legislative initiatives aimed at fighting corruption that did not pass the Parliament and furthermore a billion dollars disappeared from the Savings Bank (Banca de Economii), the Social Bank (Banca Socială) and Unibank[8]. Due to frauds in the banking system and the high level of corruption, the World Bank announced on June 16th that it will not provide the Republic of Moldova the 45 million dollars set for 2015[9].

Regarding the regional image, Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, stated that it is also bleak[10]. In recent months the relations between Chisinau and Transnistria (a separatist province, indirectly controlled by Moscow which is located along the eastern part of Moldova) were damaged: „Transnistria’s leaders complain that Moldova is conspiring with Ukraine to keep them under economic blockade and have now ordered Transnistrian army reservists between 18 and 27 to mobilize”[11], Jagland wrote. Looking in the mirror at the crisis in Ukraine, fears of a Transnistrian conflict defrosting increased and it could become the next Crimea. Although currently the outbreak of a military conflict is likely to be modest, in an environment so tense in terms of security the situation could definitely get out of control.

The chances that Moldova would become the new security crisis in Europe are very high. The oligarchs have turned the state into a corrupt system in which a good part of the population left abroad and those who stay are prisoners of this oligarchic system. Given that there is a high level of corruption, the respective phenomenon prevents the democratic progress and undermines the prospects of economic cooperation and political ties with the European Union. In addition, the authorities in Brussels and other major international institutions (IMF- International Monetary Fund, WB – World Bank etc.) are awareof the risk that the European funds reach the „corrupt pockets” and be used for personal purposes by the oligarchic government in Chisinau is unacceptably high. Thus, Moldova loses credibility in front of the international structures and these in turn react by sending alarm signals to the Chisinau authorities through diplomatic channels, official reports and also through the media, for afterwards to resort to cutting the supporting funds.

The Euro-Atlantic path is desirable, but first there are necessary a series of measures to ensure the democratic state, along with other urgent measures to eliminate corrupt officials from public institutions, strengthen the rule of law, fixe the banking system, strengthen the transparency and freedom of the media, eliminate the social discrimination and resolve the conflict in Transnistria. Equally, it is necessary to boost the private business sector for later to be eligible for being supported by the international institutions. Otherwise, Moldova may soon become Europe’s new security crisis.

Autor: Irina Iacovoiu, pentru InfoPrut


 

[1]ThorbjornJagland, Bring Moldova Back From the Brink, The New York Times, article published on August 10th, 2015, link http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/opinion/bring-moldova-back-from-the-brink.html?_r=0, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[2]Ibidem

[3] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, Moldova, linkhttp://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[4] RISE Moldova, Documents which demonstrate that “General Media Group” belongs to Plahotniuc; Candu, owner of “Publika” through power of attorney, Jurnal.md, article published on May 8th, 2015, link http://jurnal.md/en/politic/2015/5/18/rise-moldova-documents-which-demonstrate-that-general-media-group-belongs-to-plahotniuc-candu-owner-of-publika-through-power-of-attorney/, article accessed on August 15th, 2015

[5]U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, Moldova, linkhttp://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[6]U.S. Department of State, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Reports, linkhttp://www.state.gov/j/reports/index.htm, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[7] The European Commission, ENP Country Progress Report 2014 – Republic of Moldova,

Brussels, 25 March 2015, link http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4682_en.htm, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[8]Roberto Drilea, The Stolen Billion: 15% of Moldova’s GDP Disappeared, April 29th 2015, link http://politicsandpolicy.org/article/stolen-billion-15-moldova%E2%80%99s-gdp-disappeared, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[9] Deutsche Welle, Economic crisis in Moldova starts with collapse of national currency, 19 June 2015, link http://jurnal.md/en/economic/2015/6/19/economic-crisis-in-moldova-starts-with-collapse-of-national-currency/, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[10]ThorbjornJagland, Bring Moldova Back From the Brink, The New York Times, article published on August 10th, 2015, link http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/opinion/bring-moldova-back-from-the-brink.html?_r=0, accessed on August 15th, 2015

[11]Pravda.Ru, Council of Europe fears Transnistria may become part of Russia, 11 August 1015, link http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/11-08-2015/131619-moldova_russia-0/, accessed on August 15th2015

 

 

 

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