Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2017-07-03-Speech-1-045-000"

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"Mr President, the Republic of Moldova is in the process of recovering its economic stability after several very harsh years. Due to various circumstances – some domestic and self—inflicted, such as the well-known bank fraud, which has also led to an interruption of external support, and some external, such as a sharp decrease in exports to Russia and Ukraine – Moldova faces an external balance of payments crisis and has asked for assistance from international donors, notably the IMF and the EU. I will conclude by thanking the shadows Mr Winkler from the PPE, Mr Takkula from ALDE, Mr Zahradil from the ECR, Mr Scholz from GUE and Ms Hautala from the Greens, as well as Mr Auštrevičius and Mr Mureşan, the rapporteurs for the opinion from the two opinion committees, and also Mr Preda from the PPE Group, who has played a key role in building a consensus in this House. In November last year, the IMF approved the three—year programme in the amount of almost USD 180 million and this programme is now well on track. The IMF has also calculated the country’s residual external financial needs for 2016—2018 at approximately EUR 400 million. The EU has also resumed its budgetary support operations, following the interruption in the context of the bank fraud, through the European Neighbourhood Instrument. In January 2017, the Commission proposed the instrument that we are discussing today, a macro—financial assistance package covering approximately 25% – so only a quarter – of the country’s financial needs as identified by the IMF. This is in order to address the short-term balance of payments and fiscal vulnerabilities of the Moldovan economy. The proposed assistance therefore amounts to EUR 100 million; EUR 60 million would be a loan and EUR 40 million would be a grant to be disbursed in three instalments in 2017 – ideally – and in 2018. The Commission had proposed in its original draft text that strong conditionalities be attached to the assistance. These conditionalities have been thoroughly discussed in the two committees giving opinions in this House, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Budgets, and of course in the Committee on International Trade. The result has been even stronger conditionalities attached to the disbursement of each of the three instalments. The principle is: no reforms, no money. It is the first time that the EU has taken such a tough stance, as the practice of the EU until now has been to grant the first instalment immediately and only attach some conditions to the subsequent ones. The ambitious programme of reforms will cover financial sector governance, public sector governance, the fight against corruption, the fight against money laundering, energy sector reforms, and improvement of the business and investment climate. Parliament’s amendments have put strong emphasis on the independence of the judiciary, freedom and pluralism of the media, the depoliticisation of public administration, and the need to fight corruption and money laundering and to support the implementation of the DCFTA. We have clarified that conditions are to be attached to the disbursement of each and every one of the three instalments, that benchmarks should be clear as required by the European Court of Auditors, and that the assistance shall be immediately suspended or terminated if the conditions are not met. If done properly, it is my strong belief that these reforms have a high potential systemic impact. These are reforms that will discipline and constrain the exercise of power by the government and any other economic or political actor for generations to come. The other two institutions have accepted one hundred percent of our requests. The agreement reached during the trilogue also includes a joint statement by Parliament, the Council and the Commission recalling that the necessary precondition for the disbursement of the assistance is respect for effective democratic institutions. I have come up with this proposal to adopt this joint statement in order to address the concerns of colleagues in this House regarding the recent initiative by the authorities to change the electoral system in the Republic of Moldova. The process is still ongoing and the Venice Commission has recently made public its opinion on this process. It is key that the Moldovan authorities duly take into account this recommendation. The joint statement puts a strong emphasis on the fact that the consideration by the Moldovan authorities of the recommendations of the Venice Commission will be part of the regular monitoring of the respect for the aforementioned precondition. The regular monitoring of this precondition is in fact a mandate that we have created and are giving to the Commission. I would encourage the Commission today to reconfirm the strength of its commitment in the context of this instrument that we have created together. This is important and is the underpinning factor for the consensus we have achieved in the House. To conclude, in its current form, the decision gives us the green light – if we vote positively tomorrow – for the aid to Moldova. However, it does not mean immediate disbursement. If the decision is positive, the first instalment of the disbursement will reach Moldova in December. The European Union is therefore equipped with the right set of instruments to react to any potential developments in the Republic of Moldova."@ro2

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