Today 14 December 2019, Saturday - Last updated at ora 19:45
Abonamente

News 27 June 2019, at 08:23

Moldova’s new PM sets pro-Western course

Marime Font

 Maia Sandu also warns of Moscow’s attempts to maintain influence in the small nation.

As far as Moldova's new prime minister is concerned, her country's future lies to the west.

Maia Sandu, whose nomination as prime minister launched a constitutional crisis this month, has vowed to steer her nation on a pro-Western course — despite concerns that her pro-Russian coalition partners have other ideas.


In a phone interview with POLITICO, she also warned of Moscow's attempts to maintain influence in the small landlocked country, which has struggled to implement a 2014 association agreement with the EU.

Earlier in June, Moldova emerged from its most turbulent fortnight in more than two decades after a tense political standoff ended with the previous government ceding power to a coalition comprising Sandu's pro-Western bloc ACUM and the Russophile Socialist Party of Igor Dodon, Moldova's president.

While her coalition partners are avowed supporters of Russia’s foreign policy, Sandu is highly critical of it and keenly aware of Moscow's interests in the region.

“This partnership is not an ideal solution, but it was the only way to free the country from the grip of the oligarchic regime,” Sandu said.

Moldova's Democratic Party (PDM), led by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, had initially refused to leave office after Sandu was elected prime minister by the parliament at the beginning of the month.

The stalemate was resolved one week later, when Plahotniuc — under pressure from both the West and Moscow — left Moldova on his private jet and the country's top court reversed its previous judgment labeling the Sandu government illegitimate. It was the first time in recent memory that the EU, U.S. and Russia agreed on a point of policy in Eastern Europe.

Sandu’s coalition with Dodon is formally based on implementing Moldova's association agreement with the EU, signed in 2014. The Socialist Party had previously criticized the deal, but Sandu said they are backing it, at least for now.

“I don’t want to appear too optimistic but for the moment we have support for the actions required by the association agreement,” she said, adding: “We know there are some risks.”

Seeking EU support
Moldova has been down this path before, only for Plahotniuc’s PDM to pull back from reforms that the EU said were vital for the partnership to work, such as establishing a straightforward election process.

At the end of last year, the EU suspended an aid package due to the "deterioration of rule of law and democracy," prompted by the annulment of the Chișinău mayoral election, which had been won by an opposition candidate.

Yet Sandu says that things are changing. “We are aware of the fact that we in Moldova need to do our homework better. Then we will see the EU being more open to advance Moldova on the path of EU integration,” she said.

She added that her Cabinet would "not make decisions that go against our commitments with the EU and the U.S.”

The EU, for its part, has sought to appear friendly: Johannes Hahn, the EU's enlargement commissioner, was the first foreign official to visit Moldova since Sandu was sworn in.

He welcomed Sandu's reformist drive and signaled that "substantial EU support and advice can be rapidly mobilized once the conditions are met," according to the Commission.

Chișinău already has a wish list: “We first and foremost need budget support,” Sandu said. She added that her government is “determined to move quickly, to use all means at our disposal so that in the autumn we may obtain the first resources.”

Apart from paying bills, Sandu said Moldova would like Brussels to help with infrastructure, agriculture and energy.

But it remains to be seen how long her government lasts. As Sandu herself said in her inaugural speech, “the duration of this coalition is uncertain.”

Only months ago, she campaigned against the Socialists and Dodon, who want close ties with the Kremlin. Sandu admitted the coalition is “unnatural,” but argued that it is a “temporary” compromise to restore the country’s independent institutions and rule of law, which she said had been eroded under Plahotniuc.

Kremlin critic


While her coalition partners are avowed supporters of Russia’s foreign policy, Sandu is highly critical of it and keenly aware of Moscow's interests in the region.

“It is hard to say what are the real plans [of Russia],” she said. “We are under no illusions, we know that Russia wishes to maintain influence over the countries in the region, including the Republic of Moldova.”

She theorized that the Kremlin’s encouragement of the Socialists to enter the coalition might have been “a momentary objective," as the alternative would have meant the “absorption” of the Socialists into the PDM, denting Russia's influence.

In discussions with Kremlin representatives, she said her ACUM bloc "made it clear that we are pro-European parties." She also said she told Moscow to pull its forces back from Moldova's separatist region of Transnistria, something Russia has long refused to do.

“Russia needs to withdraw its troops and ammunitions from the territory of the Republic of Moldova,” she said. “At the same time we are open to finding ways to improve commercial and economic relationships between us.”

On Transnistria, Sandu said she wants to work with neighboring Ukraine, but she has not yet spoken with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy or Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

She accused the previous Ukrainian government headed by Petro Poroshenko of collaborating with Plahotniuc’s administration to enable smuggling and “corrupt schemes” that have “abetted the survival” of the separatist leadership in Transnistria.

“Now we expect the Kiev authorities to contribute to the elimination of these schemes,” she said.

Cleaning up

Sandu, a Harvard graduate and former World Bank adviser, said she had not anticipated ending up as prime minister.

She previously served for three years as education minister, gaining notoriety for putting baccalaureate exams under video surveillance. She's 47 and unmarried, which she said had been used against her during the campaign to create some “unpleasant moments.”

Ridding Moldova of corruption won't be an easy task. During its decadelong rule, the PDM made sure to place loyalists in key institutional positions, including the judiciary.

Sandu said she feels "overwhelmed with responsibility" but it feels good to be rid of what she called Plahotniuc's “regime.” The vestiges of his rule, however, remain.

Moldova’s economy was blighted by a series of large-scale financial scandals, which culminated in what locals term “the theft of the century” in 2014, when three banks were deprived of about $1 billion.

The perpetrators were insiders, headed by Ilan Shor, a businessman and politician, according to an investigation published at the time. Shor was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2017, but appealed and went free. He left Moldova on the same day as Plahotniuc.

The 2014 investigation, conducted by corporate research company Kroll, was followed up by a second confidential inquiry from the firm into the beneficiaries of the fraud. But this document, Sandu said, seems to have vanished from Moldova.

“I am personally trying to obtain the Kroll 2 report,” said Sandu, adding that she has been unable to find a copy thus far and that she has asked Kroll to supply her with one.

“It’s a priority for us to find out who is guilty of the banking theft and especially to recover the money and sanction the beneficiaries,” she said.

Ridding Moldova of corruption won't be an easy task. During its decadelong rule, the PDM made sure to place loyalists in key institutional positions, including the judiciary.

Sandu is currently pressuring the sitting general prosecutor to resign, accusing him of being an ally of Plahotniuc and unfairly pursuing his opponents through the courts.

Once a new top prosecutor is found, the cleanup will start in earnest, Sandu said.

https://www.politico.eu/
 

 Urmărește știrile Timpul.md pe Telegram
loading...
Loading...
blog comments powered by Disqus

Din aceeaşi secţiune

Cele mai noi ştiri de azi

News 11 December 2019, at: 11:59

NATO leaders need to idenitify Russia as a threat to the Alliance, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said in London on Tuesday. "It is very important to identify Russia as a threat. If we don’t do that, we considerably change the whole angle of the NATO structure," Nausėda...

( ) Read all

News 11 December 2019, at: 11:03

How the television producer Konstantin Ernst went from discerning auteur to Putin’s unofficial minister of propaganda. Ernst’s work combines cosmopolitan savviness with subservience to the state.Illustration by Chloe Cushman In the final days of 1999, Konstantin Ernst prepared...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 12:57

 New Zealand volcano: PM Ardern says questions must be 'asked and answered' New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there are questions which "must be asked" after the volcanic eruption on White Island. Five people are dead and eight are missing on the island -...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 11:03

The little girl has not been given a name yet A paramedic in Pakistan has been arrested after allegedly stealing a baby to give to her childless aunt. The little girl was taken shortly after birth from a hospital in Balochistan, in the south-west of the country. But the family was...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 10:19

Sitting two seats away from the leading architect of his country’s five-year war, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he had travelled to Paris in the hope of reaching consensus to bring the conflict to an end.  “The important thing for me is human life,” Mr...

( ) Read all

News 10 December 2019, at: 10:15

Four people have been killed in a shooting at a hospital in the Czech Republic, police have said. The attack took place in the city of Ostrava.

( ) Read all

News 7 December 2019, ora: 11:17

OSCE group of friends of Georgia condemn Russian aggression, demand release of abducted doctor

OSCE group of friends of Georgia condemn Russian aggression, demand release of abducted doctor

 The group of friends of Georgia in the OSCE has delivered a joint statement to reaffirm their “firm support” for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemn the Russian aggression and demand the release of a well-known Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili who...

( ) Read all

News 7 December 2019, at: 11:01

GEORGIA, MOLDOVA, UKRAINE TO CREATE ‘EU+3’ FORMAT

GEORGIA, MOLDOVA, UKRAINE TO CREATE ‘EU+3’ FORMAT

The foreign ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed a joint statement on the establishment of a so-called EU+3 format including the three Eastern Partnership countries in order to advance their goals of European integration.

( ) Read all

News 28 November 2019, at: 08:13

The Albanian village of Thumane experienced the worst destruction in this week's earthquake. Residents there have celebrated rescues and mourned deaths as emergency crews search the rubble for survivors. The Albanian village of Thumane was hit hard by Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude earthquake....

( ) Read all

News 27 November 2019, at: 14:39

 Effort aims to reduce the stigma experienced by those living with the virus. A reproductive scientist checking embryos The online clinic aims to give people diagnosed with HIV the opportunity to create life and to raise awareness. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian The...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, at: 17:01

Brown bear attacks: Deaths spark fear in Romania

Bears have become so numerous that there are growing calls for a return to trophy hunting A spate of deadly bear attacks in Romania has raised fears that the population of Europe's largest protected carnivore is increasing beyond control. Three men have been killed in little over a month in...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, ora: 16:30

Russian domestic violence: Women fight back

Russian domestic violence: Women fight back

Two years ago, many Russians were shocked when the parliament significantly reduced penalties for domestic violence. Since then, women have been fighting back - demanding new legislation to restrain abusers, demonstrating in support of three sisters who took the law into their own hands, and...

( ) Read all

News 21 November 2019, at: 16:22

(VIDEO) Chisinau Airport deemed an example for former soviet countries - famous Russian blogger says

(VIDEO) Chisinau Airport deemed an example for former soviet countries - famous Russian blogger says

You can have a great time at the Chisinau International Airport while waiting for your transfer. This is the conclusion of the well-known Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov, who shared his impressions of a recent trip to Moldova. According to him, Chisinau Airport is an excellent example of the...

( ) Read all

News 6 November 2019, at: 23:30

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

 There have been various reports about an illegal attempt to expropriate Danube Logistics Holding BV of its shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL, the operator and general investor in Giurgiulesti International Free Port. In order to discuss this subject in greater detail TIMPIL.MD had a...

( ) Read all

News 26 October 2019, ora: 09:53

The Guardian How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

 After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

( ) Read all

News 18 October 2019, ora: 09:48

Turkey's Erdogan 'threw Trump's Syria letter in bin'

Turkey's Erdogan 'threw Trump's Syria letter in bin'

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump's letter "in the bin", the BBC has been told.

( ) Read all

News 12 October 2019, ora: 09:56

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

 Kyiv has co-signed with Russia and the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) a commitment to: a) accept the holding of “local elections” in that Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine and b) accept the Organization for Security and Cooperation in...

( ) Read all

News 7 October 2019, at: 09:20

 On the occasion of the book launch, "Panorama of communism in Soviet Moldova", writer from the Republic of Moldova, Maria Sleahtitchi, one of the authors of the volume, spoke to B1.ro about the condition of Moldovan literature in a society strongly divided by ethnic and political...

( ) Read all

News 4 October 2019, at: 07:26

 The Council of Europe is concerned about the possible adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of a bill amending some laws of Ukraine regarding the activities of the judiciary (No. 1008), which provides, inter alia, a reduction in the number of judges of the Supreme Court and changes in the...

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 21:51

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

 I would like to clarify a number of false and misleading press reports about Danube Logistics Holding BV’s acquisition of Danube Logistics SRL in 2011 and other matters that have been circulating in Moldova last week.

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 17:06

 The United States continues to closely follow and support efforts to reform and strengthen Moldova’s justice system.

( ) Read all
Current tier / breakpoint: xs sm md lg xl (= visible only on this breakpoint)

.hidden-xs-down .hidden-sm-down .hidden-md-down .hidden-lg-down

.hidden-xs-up .hidden-sm-up .hidden-md-up .hidden-lg-up .hidden-xl

.hidden-xs (only) .hidden-sm (only) .hidden-md (only) .hidden-lg (only) .hidden-xl (only)