Moldova. The year was marked by both domestic and foreign power struggles, where the government fell and Moldova’s path to the EU was challenged by the Russian Federation.
According to Countryaah, the government was shaken in January by a scandal when a small anti-corruption party accused the country’s prosecutor of being involved in the shooting death of a businessman in connection with hunting. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, a judge was the main suspect in the investigation, but at the request of Prime Minister Vlad Filat, the prosecutor left his post during the investigation. This was later released during the year by the court from the suspects.
In the wake of the scandal, Filat accused his coalition partners of the Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of corruption, and his own Liberal Democratic party withdrew from government cooperation. In a distrustful vote in parliament in March, the coalition was voted off, but President Nicolae Timofti urged Filat to try to form a new government. Filat’s appointment was rejected by the Constitutional Court, and the president appointed outgoing Foreign Minister Iurie Leancă as acting prime minister.
President Timofti himself was in crisis when information was published that he, as a judge in Soviet times, had sent a famous Moldovan nationalist dissident to the psychiatric clinic. However, the demands of the president’s resignation came when he acknowledged his mistake and asked the dissident’s family for forgiveness. Moldova has not done away with Soviet repression, because the Communist Party has ruled for a long time even after the country’s independence.
In May, Parliament approved Iurie Leancă as the new head of government. In doing so, the president failed to announce new elections, which would probably have given the Communists in opposition success. The Leancă government retained most of the Filat coalition ministers.
The conflict with the Transnistrian breakaway republic was heated during the year. In May, Moldova introduced passport control at the border, and in June Transnistria issued a border marking decree, which included areas controlled by Moldova. The Moldovan government responded by declaring that Moldova was prepared to defend its borders. The EU and the European Cooperation Organization OSCE appealed for constructive management of the conflict.
Moldova negotiated with the EU an association and free trade agreement, which it was hoped to sign at the EU summit in Vilnius in November. This brought pressure from the Russian Federation, which wanted to impede Moldova’s approach to the EU. Prior to a visit to Moldova in September, the Russian Federation’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested that an agreement with the EU could make it difficult for Moldova in terms of trade, guest workers and attempts to resolve the Transnistrian conflict. There were also hints of high gas prices ahead of winter, a threat that is noticeable in the poor country.
Moldovan President Timofti replied that the country stuck to its decision to approach the EU. The Russian Federation then stopped its large imports of wine from Moldova, a significant economic breach for Europe’s poorest country. The European Commission proposed that the EU should be fully opened to imports of Moldovan wine, while pointing to Moldova’s political shortcomings and urging the reform of the Constitution and the judiciary as well as the fight against corruption. At the EU’s request, in October, Parliament repealed a law prohibiting information on homosexuality to minors.
In November, a demonstration was held in the capital Chişinău with tens of thousands of participants in support of Moldova’s plan for EU agreements. Like a response from Brussels, the European Commission’s proposal came to lift the visa requirement for Moldovan citizens to the EU.
At the EU summit in Vilnius in November, Moldova signed an agreement, which opened for the signing of an association agreement with the EU in 2014. The agreement with the EU led to the outbreak of the Transnistrian republic to Russian legislation.
In December, the Constitutional Court ruled an old language dispute by stating that the Moldavian language should be called Romanian. Several linguists see Moldavian and Romanian almost as a language with small differences.