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EU Urged to Rethink Funding for ‘Corrupt’ Moldova

March 13, 2013

BRUSSELS, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Concern has been voiced about EU funding to Moldova after the former Soviet state was
recently branded “one of the most corrupt” countries in Europe.

It comes as the EU develops an increasingly close relationship with Moldova, going
beyond cooperation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political
cooperation.

According to EU sources, Moldova, along with Georgia and Armenia are supposed to
receive up to EUR1.9bn as ‘assistance allocations’ in 2010-2013.

However, members of Moldovan public organisations, journalists and independent
analysts claim the majority of EU foreign assistance to the state is being misused by
local officials.

The EU and Moldova are currently negotiating an association agreement which will
significantly deepen Moldova’s political association and economic integration with the EU.

The objective is to start negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area
(DCFTA), a core element of the association agreement, as soon as Moldova is deemed to be
ready to sustain the impact of far-reaching liberalisation of its trade with the EU.

However, the eastern partnership community (EaP), a leading independent think tank
which specialises in the region, has raised concerns about the possible misuse of EU
funds.

A spokesperson for Warsaw-based EaP said, “The EU is devoting considerable sums to
Moldova for very little return in terms of progress in the country’s reform process.

“It begs the question: Why is the EU throwing money like this at a black hole of
corruption, when there is so much to do in the EU’s own member states?”

In 2009, the EU assigned EUR600m to the eastern partnership. During 2010-2013 the
amount increased to EUR1.9bn.

The biggest beneficiary of the funds in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood is Ukraine with
Moldova next, receiving some EUR482m.

Recent opinion polls say that the majority of citizens of Moldova consider the current
coalition government as “totally corrupted”.

According to Transparency International reports, in 2012 Moldova occupied fifth place
in Europe among the most corrupted countries.

One of the examples cited by Transparency International is the situation with the
largest state bank of Moldova Banca de Economii that at present faces a collapse due to
what TI says is “irresponsible” credit policy of the government.

EU experts say that Moldova is still unable to fulfil its obligations in fighting
widespread corruption in most state institutions and carrying out economic reforms.

Some experts express fears that after further liberalisation of visa regimes between
the EU and Moldova there will be a risk of illegal labour migrants moving from Moldova to
the EU, as well as a possible influx of criminal elements, prostitutes and drug
traffickers.

Concern has also been raised by another group, the association for participatory
democracy, a public, nongovernmental organisation based in Moldova.

It says Moldova also has a “troubling” human rights record, especially in the field of
fighting organised crime and human trafficking.

Moldova has one of the highest rates of children living in institutionalised care in
central Europe, it says, and these children often lack necessary life skills and are
totally dependent on adult assistance.

With a low level of education combined with a lack of proper insight from adults, such
children easily become victims of trafficking crimes, it has been claimed.

A recent OSCE report stressed the urgent need for Moldova to enhance prevention of
child trafficking through child protection measures and to pursue its efforts in the
deinstitutionalisation of people with special needs.

SOURCE The Parliament Magazine


Source: PR Newswire