Diplomatic Tensions Arise Between Moldova and Romania

Diplomatic Tensions Arise Between Moldova and Romania
25 May 2020 | 09:06

A Romanian member of the European Union Parliament criticized Moldova’s Government, stating that it didn’t make substantial reforms in the country and failed to manage the COVID-19 crisis. Following the statements, Prime Minister Ion Chicu criticized how Romania managed the COVID-19 pandemic and suggested that the statements are an attack towards the current government. Following Chicu’s controversial statements, several deputies issued their opinion. 

While the Democratic Party deputies stated that they do not support Chicu’s statement qualifying it as inadequate, a Socialist Party deputy stated that Chicu’s response is adequate. 

Siegfried Mureșan, a member of the European Parliament, criticized Moldova’s Government, claiming that Moldova has failed to manage the COVID-19 crisis because it has also failed to implement reforms.

“In the last five years Moldova has had several weak governments. The governments led by the Democratic and the Socialist Parties jeopardized the political situation in Moldova and burdened the citizens. Because of this, the COVID-19 crisis caught Moldova unprepared,” Mureșan said. 

The European Parliament’s Research Service on the implementation of the European Union (EU) Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Moldova, issued a report last week. The report confirms that Moldova is lagging behind in implementing reforms.

Mureșan stated that political instability, frequent changes in government and political events in recent years have significantly contributed to slowing the pace of implementation of reforms that would’ve reduced corruption and strengthen the public institutions in the country. 

According to Mureșan, the only government that kept its commitments implemented projects and made visible progress was the Government led by Maia Sandu.

Mureșan claimed that the current government is favoring the people associated with the governing coalition. Subsequently, the Government must strengthen the independence of state institutions, guaranteeing the separation of powers in the state and the independence of the judiciary and the prosecution. It must fight corruption, improve the living conditions of its citizens, and advance the investigation of bank fraud.

Mureșan stated that there is a risk that the judiciary, the prosecutor’s office, and other key state institutions will be politicized again. This is another reason why the macro-financial assistance provided to Moldova by the EU must be accompanied by strict and clear conditionalities and a strong monitoring mechanism.

Mureșan pointed out that the EU expects more openness in implementing the necessary reforms to consolidate democracy and help the economy develop. He also added that the EU remains Moldova’s biggest partner and will continue helping the citizens. 

Following Mureșan’s statements Prime Minister Ion Chicu stated, in a Facebook post, that the Government in Moldova cares about the citizens’ opinion. Chicu suggested that Mureșan’s statements are organized attacks towards Moldova’s Government. Chicu also suggested in his post that Moldova is managing the COVID-19 crisis better than Romania.

In Bucharest, Moldova’s Ambassador to Romania was summoned to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest described Chicu’s statements as inappropriate denoting profound disrespect for Romania and the privileged bilateral relationship of the Strategic Partnership for Moldova’s European Integration.

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the well-being of the citizens of Moldova cannot be ensured by public statements denoting a rudimentary language, but only by efforts towards building a solid rule of law and with democratic institutions. 

The mayor of Iași, Mihai Chirica, commented on Chicu’s statement, which created a diplomatic scandal between the authorities in Bucharest and those in Chișinau. 

Chirica pointed out that Romania will continue supporting Moldovan citizens. Chirica also stated that Chicu’s statements don’t deserve attention. At the beginning of April, Iași donated over 41,000 euros to Moldova to fight against the COVID-19. 

Moldova’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Țulea stated that Moldova’s relations with Romania have always been strong, regardless of certain political circumstances. 

The Democratic Party claimed that it doesn’t support Chicu’s statements. Dumitru Diacov, honorary president of the Democratic Party, told ZdG that the Democratic Party voted for a technocratic Prime Minister. Subsequently, Chicu should refrain from making political statements.

Asked about a possible resignation, Diacov told ZdG that this should be discussed with the party members, first. 

Diacov states that Romania’s reaction is also inadequate because Moldova’s relations with Romania should not be guided by some statements. 

Later on the Democratic Party announced in a press release that does not agree with Chicu’s statements and it will request the urgent convening of the Coalition Council on this subject.

At the same time, the Democratic Party expresses its disagreement with the biased and disrespectful way in which Mureșan gave appreciation to Moldova’s governments.

The press release claims that Mureșan’s statement regarding the Democratic Party Government, led by Pavel Filip, allegedly destabilized the situation in Moldova and did not make progress in implementing the reforms is a blatant lie. The press release adds that the Filip Government has reached a share of the Association Agenda with the European Union of 65 percent, the progress in the years 2016-2019 making up 35 percent, and the indicated period being characterized by an overall improvement of all indices.

President Igor Dodon didn’t mention anything regarding Prime Minister’s statement but said that some members of the EU Parliament denigrate Moldova and act similar to the opposition parties in the country.  

Vasile Bolea, a deputy of the Socialist Party stated that Chicu’s answer to Mureșanu was adequate and suggested that such people who call themselves members of the EU Parliament should not tell Moldova’s Government how to govern. 

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