Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Update No: 308 - (29/08/06)
Odd man out in Europe
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, having been overtaken by Albania
in the last decade, previously the bearer of this unenviable epithet.
In some ways it is an anomaly that it should be so poor, because it is in the
centre of Europe and has rich fertile soil and a tradition of horticulture and
agriculture going back millennia. It was, indeed, one of the richer republics of
the USSR, a fact which helps to account for why it is also the only country in
Europe that still has a communist party in power, which, moreover, was
re-elected last year.
The president in Moldova is elected by parliament, so is always the head of the
governing party. This has been for five years now the head of the Communist
Party of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, a figure who, in yet another paradox, is
much more popular in the West than in Moscow.
The Kremlin has tried in its usual heavy-handed way to undermine the president
and government by imposing a ban, allegedly on health grounds, on Moldova's wine
and several other exports to Russia, traditionally, its main market. This is
crippling the already sorely tried economy.
Russia's ban on Moldovan products affects republic's economy
Russia's ban on wine, crop and livestock imports from Moldova affected the
development of the Moldovan economy, Vasiliy Tarlev, the republic's Prime
Minister, told a government meeting, while presenting a report on the
socio-economic development of the country in the first half of 2006.
He noted that the rise of gas prices and export barriers explained the growth of
the inflation rate to 7.4 per cent in January-June 2006, up by 2.7 per cent from
the same period of 2005. Moldova's exports dropped by 10.6 per cent; while
imports rose by 14.4 per cent in the relevant period. Wine production fell by
42.4 per cent. The growth of prices of energy resources not only damaged the
competitiveness of Moldovan products, it was also a serious challenge to the
country's energy sector.
Nevertheless, Moldova managed to preserve macroeconomic stability in the first
half of 2006, the premier noted. The country's GDP rose by 6.2 per cent.
President: The country is preparing for a spurt following "Latvia's
Meanwhile, the Moldovan president decided to put a positive interpretation on
recent developments in two important speeches he made in July.
Voronin believes that the current troubled state of the Moldovan economy is just
a challenge which should be seen as a new requirement for Moldova's
independence, he announced at a news conference in Chisinau on July 11th, a
REGNUM correspondent reports.
"The situation has become a serious incentive for the Republic of
Moldova," Voronin noted. "An incentive to actively reorganize its
economic sphere, modernize and diversify its export-oriented potential, apply
models of development to our economy that have been long used in Latvia."
"We are thoroughly preparing for the spurt," the Moldovan president
announced. "Our European and American partners will view this approach with
understanding," Voronin averred.
The Moldovan president says, the republic should gain advantages from both its
neighbourhood to the EU and the prospect of obtaining an asymmetrical trade
regime with Europe, as well as from a free trade regime with CIS countries.
"We cannot really be serious in hoping that a modern economy can be built
alone on wine and sweet-cherries," Voronin concluded.
Country "needs industrial revolution"
The Moldovan president on July 29th addressed the same message to the
Moldovan parliament, maintaining that his country does not have chances for
further development without radical reforms.
Mr. Voronin stated that the Republic of Moldova "needs an industrial
revolution" and he called on MPs not to be scared by the radicalism of his
proposals. "One should not be scared by economic freedoms. We should
carefully adopt economic freedoms reasoning from other countries' experience.
The more freedoms, the more the competitiveness of Moldovan goods will
rise," Mr. Voronin said.
"Entering into the 15th year of our independence, we should become a
country which opens a new page in the history of its democracy, its economy, and
its social development," the Moldovan president stressed.
"We have only one way to prosperity - quick modernization - in our present
situation," Mr. Voronin said. "I am sure that only in such way will we
gain real independence and the territorial and civil unity of our
motherland," the president stressed.
Moldova Abolishes Death Penalty
In a move to align the country with European legal practice, so different
from that of the US, Moldova abolished the death penalty completely, the radio
station Echo of Moscow reports.
The law was adopted recently by the country's parliament and on August 2nd it
was signed by President Voronin. Thus Moldova joins the 13th protocol of the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and is obliged to abstain
from implementing the death penalty in every case.
Up to now the law in Moldova allowed the passing and execution of death
sentences in special cases in wartime.