Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 290 - (25/02/05)
Parliamentary elections a foregone conclusion
European election monitors were visiting the former Soviet republic of Moldova
in late January and early February. Josette Durrieu and Andre Kvakkestad, two
members of the Monitoring Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE), arrived in the Moldovan capital Chisinau Mond on
January 31st for a three-day visit to monitor preparations for Moldova's
parliamentary elections, the press service of the Moldovan parliament told
PACE experts met with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, parliamentary speaker
Yevgeny Ostapchuk, and faction leaders and commission chiefs. On Feb. 1, the
PACE officials travelled to Transdniester to see if the talks on the
Transdniestrian settlement could be resumed and if local residents would have an
opportunity to cast their votes in the parliamentary elections.
Moldova's president is elected by parliament so that the elections were really
presidential as well as parliamentary, ensuring Voronin's re-election too.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Nevertheless, the incumbent communist
government, the only one in Europe, was widely expected to be re-elected and
duly was in February, exactly four years after its initial victory in February
This is not so surprising since they have done a better job than their
predecessors, who were notorious for corruption and self-seeking. In the bad old
days of the Soviet Union so were the communists. But much less so now. The
corrupt careerists left the party after 1991, leaving a residue of idealists
behind. In the early 1990s nobody was expecting the Communist Party of Moldova
ever to be in power again.
Economy on the mend
The government has gone out of the way to make payment of salaries and pensions
more prompt. This is the easier to do because the economy is picking up, albeit
from a very low base.
According to preliminary data, Moldova's GDP growth totalled 7.3 per cent in
2004, the republic's Department for Statistics and Sociology has reported. The
Moldovan GDP amounted to US$2.6bn in current prices and US$2.4bn in comparable
prices. As the country's economy ministry told RBC, GDP growth was linked
primarily to a dynamic development of the service and production sectors. It is
worth mentioning that initially, the ministry forecasted GDP growth at 5 per
cent in 2004.
Government revenues are being doubled; hence also its spending plans. This has
made the election result a shoo-in.
Ukraine result excites great interest
People were stunned and pleased by the victory of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine.
Voronin attended his inauguration on January 23rd. They agreed to meet shortly
to discuss a settlement of the Dniester Region issue. Relations are pretty sure
to improve. They could hardly have been worse beforehand.
For instance, Ukraine and Moldova are to resume talks on enhancing control at
the border between the two countries. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin
maintains "This sector of the border, 460 km long, is open to smuggling and
brings big dividends to certain forces". This was a broad hint that he
meant the corrupt gang of unreformed communists, indeed Stalinists, in charge of
the Transdniester region. In retaliation, Ukraine's ex-President Leonid Kuchma
accused Chisinau of an intention "to organise an economic blockade of the
Dniester Region," with whose grim president, Igor Smirnov, he had long been
Premier Vasile Tarlev expressed hope that Ukraine's new leadership would support
the proposal made by Chisinau to make arrangements for joint customs control at
the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. Last year, the Moldovan authorities applied to
the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
in a request to carry out international monitoring of the border, particularly
its Dniester Region sector.
At the same time, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European commissioner for
international affairs, has stated that a number of delicate problems hinder a
special and concentrated relationship between Ukraine and the European Union and
that one of the problems concerns Moldova and the Dniester Region.
300m KWt of electricity on the cards
Romania will provide 300m KWt of electricity to Moldova this year, New Europe
The decision was made on the eve of Traian Basescu's visit to Chisinau, the
government press office said in a statement.
The price of the delivery will correspond to the market situation in Romania,
which is higher than Moldova's, but Moldova will pay for the delivery the price
of its internal market. The difference will be covered by Moldova's electric
power deliveries to Romania during the summer season.
Electric power deliveries will begin as soon as this schedule is confirmed, as
well as historic debt of Moldova to Romania, US$32m accumulated in previous
years for energy supplies. This decision was made by the Romanian government in
response to the Moldovan government's request last December to consider a
possibility of power supplies from Romania due to a critical situation with
energy supplies by the Moldovan hydropower station. But since the end of
December 2004 the Moldovan hydropower station has been making power supplies
deliveries to electricity distributors in accordance with previously signed
Chisinau targets power plant privatisations
The Moldovan government will privatise the Chisinau Thermoelectric Power Plant-1
in 2005, Energy Minister, Yakob Timchuk, said, RBC news service reported
A tender will be announced soon to choose a strategic investor for the power
plant, he said. The minister added that the ageing power plant was bringing huge
losses and needed serious modernisation, which was impossible without private
Last July the Moldovan parliament passed amendments to the privatisation concept
for the energy industry, stipulating that thermoelectric and heating plants
could be privatised separately instead of being offered to investors as a united
enterprise in accordance with earlier plans, the news service noted. The energy
ministry considers simultaneous privatisation of thermoelectric power plants
inexpedient, as the technical condition of these power plants is not the same.
All thermoelectric power plants are unprofitable and have big debts. Their main
creditor is the Russian-Moldovan joint venture Moldova-gaz. The Moldovan Energy
Ministry is in favour of privatising thermoelectric power plants as soon as
possible, as the ministry expects private investors to modernise these power
Russian exports to Moldova up
Moldova's surplus in its trade with Russia reached US$134.8m in January to
November 2004 having gained 14.3% compared to the same period in 2003, Vitaly
Valkov, the director general of Moldova's Statistical Department, said recently,
Moldova increased exports to Russia by 16.3% to US$320.1m in the first 11 months
of last year compared to the corresponding period in 2003, he stressed. Russia's
share in the structure of Moldova's exports dropped from 39% to 36.3% in the
reported period. At the same time, imports from Russia surged 17.7% to US$185.3m
in January to November 2004 compared to same period in the year before. The
share of Russia in the structure of Moldova's imports eased back from 13% to
11.8%. Russia is a major importer of Moldovan products. The republic's exports
to Russia include mainly wine, cognac, juice, canned fruit and vegetables, while
Russia supplies energy sources.
Romania supports Moldova on European integration efforts
Moldova and Romania plan to collaborate in the European integration field,
Presidents, Vladimir Voronin and Traian Basescu, stated recently, Infotag News
"We will have to pay particular attention to matters concerning European
integration," Voronin said.
He voiced his pleasure with Basescu's stand on the Transdnestria question as
well as on the declaration on stability and security for the Republic of
Basescu said Romania and the Republic of Moldova have much in common, and are
united with one common goal to accede to the European Union. "Romania
deeply respects the Republic of Moldova as a sovereign and independent state,
and is ready to be the republic's advocate on its way to the European
Union," he said.
The Romanian president stressed his country will not permit the Republic of
Moldova to be blackmailed in energy matters: "Each time when the question
of electricity supply arises, it is enough to make a telephone call to
Bucharest, and Moldova will see it has true friends there."