Address by Nicolae TIMOFTI, President of the Republic of Moldova
(Strasbourg, 3 October 2012)
Dear Mr. President, Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Dear members of Parliamentary Assembly, Dear Ambassadors, Excellencies,
I am honored to be here among you and to address yourselves on behalf of the people of the Republic of Moldova. We are a small country, with limited natural resources, but with people determined to build a modern, democratic and prosper society.
The April 2009 events have tested the national capacities and European aspirations of our citizens. Today, after three years of democratic governance, I am firmly convinced that the European course the people of the Republic of Moldova have chosen is irreversible.
Therefore, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you, dear parliamentarians, as well as to PACE President, Secretary General of the Council of Europe and to Venice Commission for the interest you have shown for the evolutions in the Republic of Moldova and, particularly for your involvement and personal contribution to identify a solution for overcoming the constitutional crisis in my country.
The Governing coalition from the Republic of Moldova, which is called Alliance for European Integration, is acting in order to promote the transformation reforms for a genuine, democratic and European rule of law.
Today I can state that after a relatively short period of time, the changes in my country have become visible. Now we are focusing on judicial reform, stimulation of business opportunities and fight against corruption. We are well aware of the fact that these actions fall within a complex process which implies considerable efforts and sometimes sacrifices. At the same time, we are determined to finalize these important reforms for the welfare of the Republic of Moldova.
The democratic development of my country is ongoing also due to our membership to the Council of Europe. The standards and requirements of the Organization have helped us to achieve modern institutional reforms.
At the same time, our vision is that the Republic of Moldova becomes in the future a fully-fledged member of the European Union, which will ensure a better climate for our citizens and contribute to regional and international efforts for security and a solid ground for trust and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Upon accession to the Council of Europe seventeen years ago, my country has undertaken a number of commitments regarding strengthening of democracy, rule of law, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In order to ensure a democratic transformation of the society concrete actions have been undertaken, being created an extensive legislative framework and appropriate mechanisms for the effective implementation of the reforms.
After identifying and recognizing the shortcomings in our judiciary system, we considered necessary to develop and adopt a Justice Sector Reform Strategy for the period 2011-2016, aiming at ensuring sustainability and integrity of this sector, through concrete actions.
The overall objective of the reform is that justice becomes accessible, effective, independent, transparent, professional and accountable to citizens. It shall meet European standards, ensure rule of law and restore society's trust in the judiciary.
Since the beginning of the current year, the first normative acts aimed to promote the reforms have been adopted, including measures to combat corruption. Clear procedures for the selection of judges and the evaluation of their performance have been envisaged. The legislation was amended to make possible the activity of the courts and of the Superior Council of Magistracy to become more transparent and judges immunity to be waived for the acts of corruption.
There is ongoing work towards the reform of the Prosecutor office and other related criminal investigation structures, including the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the police.
The draft budget for 2013, approved by the Government last week, provides 55 percent additional funding for justice. That will be the biggest budget that the judicial system of Republic of Moldova has ever had.
In terms of human rights, the structured Dialogue Republic of Moldova - European Union was initiated in 2010. In the framework of this dialogue Moldovan experts and representatives of major international actors - the European Commission, Council of Europe, OSCE and UN are involved. I should mention in this regard, the valuable support offered by the Council of Europe in order to improve the human rights situation. At the same time, the Council of Europe Facility, launched on the basis of political priorities of the Eastern Partnership, provides added value and strengthen the synergy between the two organizations, including upholding of European values.
We believe that the Joint Programmes of two European organizations have a consolidated impact on democratic transformations. For instance, the Council of Europe and European Union Joint Programme - Democracy Support for the Republic of Moldova, initiated after April 2009 events, brought good results in a relatively short period of time. As an example I would like to mention, the pluralism of opinions and freedom of mass-media have clearly developed. This progress became possible since the establishment with the support of the Council of Europe and European Union of the Press Council and the elaboration of the Code of Ethics of Journalists. To be mentioned also the adoption of the Laws on de-nationalization of public periodical publications and on the freedom of expression, which were inspired the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. These laws are an important achievement of national media organizations aimed to compel public authorities to de-nationalize the newspapers funded by public money, encouraging thereby a fair and open competition in printed media.
During the last 3 years, the freedom of expression, which is first of all an achievement of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, has been improved considerably, a fact recognized equally by civil society and international organizations.
I would like to highlight in this context that the main objective of the current governance from the very beginning was to set the human rights at the core of the national policies. We believe that the citizen and the essential improvement of his life should be at the forefront of our course of actions.
From a global perspective, I would like to say that I have followed closely the events in Northern Africa and the Middle East, and more recently - hate, intolerant, instigation to violence, homophobia and islamophobia speeches. These manifestations reconfirm once more the importance of maintaining the human rights on our top agenda.
Council of Europe is the very organization which has the tools and capabilities for this purpose. We will follow closely the first World Forum for Democracy, to start in a couple of days at the initiative of the Council of Europe. We believe that this Forum shall emphasize the importance of dialogue, negotiation and compromise to be used both at European level and worldwide in order to avoid misinterpretations and abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
For the Council of Europe members inclusively for the Republic of Moldova, the justice institution is represented by the European Court of Human Rights. The complaints sent to the ECHR by many Moldovan citizens forced the state to return to its primary responsibility in order to ensure compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. In this context, I would like to emphasize our support for the ECHR reform and recommended actions at the Interlaken, Izmir and Brighton Conferences.
We understand that the quality of the ECHR reform depends not only on the activity of the Council of Europe but on the willingness of each Member State to ensure effective protection of human rights at the national level. I’m referring not only to the adoption of the laws according to the European and international standards, but to their implementation and respect too. This is also the case of the Republic of Moldova and I can firmly confirm on behalf of the entire political leadership of the country - there is a political will to do so.
On the other hand, there is a huge reservation regarding the possibility of ensuring the respect for human rights and the pursuit of democratic transformations in the Eastern part of our country. The perpetuation of the Transnistrian conflict undermines our national security and territorial integrity, hampers economic development and divides the society.
Our policy is focused towards the promotion of the dialogue and consolidation of trust between the both sides of the Nistru River in order to reintegrate the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders as a functional state with a clear European perspective. The Transnistrian region should be granted a special status within the Republic of Moldova, which will provide the region with a comfortable level of self-governance. Defining the special status is the core task of the political negotiations in the 5+2 format, which should generate a reasonable compromise based on principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.
Council of Europe has an important role in this process through the Confidence-building measures on both sides of the river Nistru Project. We express our gratitude for the valuable support provided by the Member States and count on their further voluntary contributions for the project extension and expansion of its activities.
We also consider as imperative the transformation of the existing military peacekeeping mechanism into an international civilian mission aimed at building the confidence rather than separating the sides.
We count that the OSCE, Russian Federation, Ukraine, European Union and the United States will combine their efforts towards the final resolution of the Transnistrian conflict and reintegration of the Republic of Moldova
It is equally important to reiterate that the Russian forces, present on the territory of the Republic of Moldova without host-nation consent and in contradiction with constitutional framework and the international commitments, should be finally withdrawn.
We welcome the PACE resolution adopted yesterday, October 2, on the report regarding honoring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation, in particular on the necessity of withdrawing Russian troops and ammunitions from the territory of the Republic of Moldova.
The Republic of Moldova is advancing towards the path of European integration, continuing negotiations on the Association Agreement and launching earlier this year the negotiations on the creation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Zone. We set jointly with the European Union an intensive agenda of negotiations and will make concerted efforts to meet the established timetable and to achieve the ambitious goal to complete negotiations by the next summit of the Eastern Partnership next year.
At the same time, throughout registered progress that has been made in implementing Moldova-EU Dialogue on visa liberalization conditionality, we are awaiting the European Commission and the EU Council decision to move to the second phase of dialogue. We appreciate the implementation results of the Mobility Partnership Republic of Moldova-European Union and would like to encourage all Member States of the European Union to join the Partnership in order to strengthen the cooperation in the migration field.
We are aware that we have a better European perspective if first of all we successfully fulfil the commitments assumed at the accession to the Council of Europe.
The priority of our country in cooperation with the Council of Europe was and still remains the finalization of the monitoring and the transition to the post-monitoring dialogue, goals that are consistently reflected in our governance programmes.
Based on this objective and in order to monitor strictly the implementation of obligations the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova has adopted on 13 July 2012 the Action Plan on honouring of the Republic of Moldova’ commitments to the Council of Europe. This document represents first of all a consolidated message regarding the determination of the Moldovan authorities to promote systemic and structural reforms despite the consequences of the global financial crises. This exercise constitutes a platform of actions in which every single institution has its role and confirms the political maturity of the political leadership and of the entire society.
We count on further support of the Parliamentary Assembly in the realization of reforms and transfer to the post-monitoring dialogue. I would to assure you that it is time this action to be undertaken and for the recognition of arguments and proofs to support this natural goal. The Republic of Moldova has a real prospective to provide a differentiated approach and its citizens deserve to be encouraged and assured that they have their place in the space of European democratic values.
Personally, I look forward to the forthcoming visit of the PACE co-rapporteurs to the Republic of Moldova and I‘m convinced that they will have the possibility to state on the ground the progress in fulfilling the commitments, the idea that distinguished Parliamentary Assembly has confirmed in its Resolution 1895 of 2012. I took note with satisfaction the findings and PACE encouragements stated in the above-mentioned document.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and all its MPs for their continuous and noble work which I assure you is appreciated in Member States.
Thank you for the approach you manage to disseminate the fundamental values of our organization and to continue reforming the Parliamentary Assembly, in order to make it more effective and more visible. We all need to combine our efforts to provide a better future for our citizens and our countries.
I thank you.