In 2017, by changing the electoral system, there was laid a process of clearing the political class, and the first results of the reform will be visible after the 2018 parliamentary elections.
Before the deputies elected by the citizens will come at the Parliament will pass a reforming process.
At the same time, within the spring to summer session, the MPs will approve a new Regulation of the forum, that will even include behavior rules.
About the future plans of the MPs, the relations of Moldova with its foreign partners and the Andrian Candu's President of the Parliament expectations from the opposition will be explained in the following interview realized by Nicoleta Apostol, reporter of Publika TV.
Nicoleta Apostol: Hello, Mr. President. I want to thank you for accepting this interview. I want to make a review of the 2017 and to talk about the plans for 2018. In 2017 there were many important achievements both at Parliament and Government level. How do you think, what are the most important achievements of the Parliament this year?
Adrian Candu: I think I can not isolate the legislative from the Government. I will talk in about the achievements of 2017, and some arrears or failures. And, of course, I will start with the reform, that made a lot of troubles, and perhaps with that law that was debated the most, perhaps even in the history of the country, I am talking about changing the electoral system. If you remember, the idea of changing the electoral system, although not new, has been discussed since 2013, it has been talked for a few years, but it has been started in the context in which we also want to make changes at the political class level . We want to have a cleaner and more integrated political class and let the citizen choose the representative in Parliament. Perhaps, after all, the electoral reform and all that means changing the electoral system of party lists to a mixed one was an achievement. It also involved many debates, supposedly working in the Parliament between colleagues, supposed discussions and cooperation with international structures, including the Venice Commission, so the work was assumed to be done in at least a half a year, including a big communication campaign. Even if at this moment somebody could say that it does not have any immediate, long-term and medium-term results, also we should take into consideration the upcoming parliamentary elections in November 2018, there will certainly be results and, ultimately, the change in class policy. Another very important reform was the Central Government, Government Reform, although the Parliament had less involvement, as it only voted it and supported of the Prime Minister, Mr. Filip and his Government colleagues. In the end, it is also an achievement of the Republic of Moldova, because the goal was to have a smaller and more efficient government. Instead of 16 ministries we have nine ministries, we have very efficient state officials, but also well paid. We are also at the end of that transition period. From January 1, 2018, we are entering in a new state administration phase through a smaller, more efficient government, which has other financial coverage. Also, there were some changes in the Constitution, which are related to the judicial reform, as well as our intentions related to the Constitution mention of the European integration vector. The so-discussed, integrity package is an achievement that will definitely work for the future. The effects will arise because they talk about an important element in the fight against corruption and social protection, starting with pension reform, which was sometimes criticized because the age threshold was cut. Although some of the citizens were glad that the privileges were cut, but those who had the same privileges, somehow remained insulted. All of this will bring a positive effect and will surely will be felt. There have been other smaller projects, but also very important, for example, the law of mass vouchers.
Nicoleta Apostol: I want to talk a little bit about this law. You have promoted this law. Why did you come with this initiative? Is there any possibility that this system will be extinguished at the state institutions too?
Andrian Candu: I saw how this system works in other countries and I decided to implement it here. While I was traveling in Romania, I noticed how good it is. I had some privileges on covering some costs and I found it very beneficial. It is a very good idea, to have the possibility to cover some costs of the alimentary products, through a supplement at the salary, that is not even taxed. This idea was implemented in Europe 50 years ago. The idea means a supplement of one thousand lei at the salary, that is for alimentary products. On the one side, it provides the social element, on the other side, it provides a healthy feeding. Also, it provides an economic growth, because it involves a higher consumption, the labor productivity and state incomes. Why not? We saw how beneficial this law is and we decided to implement it since January 2018, in the private sector. Also, when we will have enough finances, we will cover a part of the public functionaries and the citizens employed to the state, for example, the teachers and the doctors.
Nicoleta Apostol: If we talk about the project of law voted by the Parliament, among those there is the document that comes to counteract the foreign propaganda. The President Igor Dodon announced he won't sign this law. How do you see this case?
Andrian Candu: The President is obliged to sign this law the second time, but, if he won't do it, then we will appeal the Constitutional Court. I discussed with some lawyers in the Parliament and we found some solutions. First of all, we should see the Constitutional Court's proposal: either interim, either the law. Definitely, the law will come into force.
Nicoleta Apostol: What other projects of law are going to be implemented?
Andrian Candu: There are laws in the business sphere that come to complement the packages of legislative acts voted to simplify everything according to the business in Moldova and fighting against state abuse. So is the media law. We have entered into a very wide-ranging process of preparing many media laws, from the new Audiovisual Code to the law of the print media, the law of online media, the law on access to information, the law on advertising, including those related to the security of the information space. All of them are currently prepared by the working groups with local and international experts, civil society and, when those are drafted, those will be presented in the Parliament. We will approve those at the next session.
Nicoleta Apostol: Can you tell us about the Parliament's plans for 2018?
Andrian Candu: We will continue the economic projects, all that means improving the business environment and the financial-banking system, in order to bring investments in the financial-banking field as well. The first signs have already been, but we must continue and have a very well developed sector. Also in the energy field there are still some elements that will be changed, but at the level of the Government, which may be less of Parliament, are related to the development of the energy infrastructure projects. Media law, as I mentioned. Then, we have a new strategy for cooperation and development with the civil society, which we have recently initiated in the Parliament, but this will be approved soon. Taking into account that the Parliament must develop and keep up with the new trends, because we have changed the electoral system and we will have deputies coming from the constituency, we need to have a new Parliament Regulation. I would call it the Code of Parliament, because it would also include an important part on the ethics of the deputies. I really want the next session to be marked by the drafting and approval of a new law, the Parliament's Rules plus the Code of Ethics, all together called the Code of the Parliament. I hope that we will succeed in the next session, until we will be in the election campaign.
Nicoleta Apostol: At the same time, we want to ask what spheres will be subject to more rigorous Parliament control?
Andrian Candu: We have to keep an eye on the children's feeding and the kindergartens, everything according to the implementation of the legislation and the judicial reforms and, of course, the fight against corruption. We should support the authorities more. In this sense, there was created the National Agency for Integrity. Of course, we will support the authorities of Moldova, who will investigate the bank fraud. The Kroll 2 company realized the second part of the investigation and recovery of the actives.
Nicoleta Apostol: Most probably, the most important event of the next year will be the new elections. At the same time, the Liberal Party disputed the law at the Constitutional Court. Also, many NGOs and parties ask for a referendum according to annul the mixed voting system. How do you interpret those actions?
Adrian Candu: They are free to do whatever they want. It is a democratic process to initiate and evolve a referendum. I don't think the referendum will have a success. I think the citizens want to choose by themselves the people they want to see in the Parliament. Evolving such a referendum means additional costs from the state budget. Even if such a referendum will take place, all the NGOs and the parties who are against the mixed election system will understand that the citizens want to choose the representatives of the Parliament. Finally, we should stop all the discussions according to the mixed voting system and to make other more important reforms.
Nicoleta Apostol: What if the Constitutional Court declared this law unconstitutional?
Andrian Candu: If the Constitutional Court declared this project of law unconstitutional, then, we should respect its decision. I don't want to guess what the CC will decide. We will see.
Nicoleta Apostol: If we are still talking about the opposition, the government's invitation to the opposition to designate a leader to see how decisions are made in state institutions has remained unanswered. How do you think why?
Andrian Candu: I want for the opposition to choose this member, to propose it, so we will provide him the access to information. Why didn't they do it? I think because of the Modovans' ability to be envious, the impossibility to find compromises. I regret about this, but, I hope the opposition will bring good news and will select their representative in the Parliament. They have time till the Parliamentary elections. It is almost a year.
Nicoleta Apostol: What message do you have for the opposition in the election year?
Andrian Candu: Everyone should fight, regardless of who they are, the opposition or the parties that hold the power. In such a way that the political struggle does not go beyond some limits of education, good growth and human tolerance to the opinion of others. We must understand that the political struggle involves a struggle of ideas and visions. We do not have to cross the limit so that we can reach up to altercations and insults. This must be excluded. I want a fair, transparent and opened campaign.
Nicoleta Apostol: I want to talk about the relations of Moldova and its foreign partners. How do you evaluate our relationship with EU and the USA?
Andrian Candu: The periods are different. There are times when there is a much better understanding of processes in the country and the region, but there are times when the EU or the US are more concentrated than the countries in the region. I refer to Moldova or Ukraine. In any case, unlike previous periods, if we are talking about two years ago, when the EU and the US were even disappointed with the processes that were happening in the Republic of Moldova in 2014 or 2015. Things have changed definitely and now we have a relationship based on pragmatism. Assessing things and the relationship depends greatly on the results we have, the successes of governance and the openness of governance to the processes that are going on, including the relationship between the EU and the US. We expect the next year to intensify relations with the United States on the dimension of the strategic dialogue, which involves several areas: defense, security, the business environment, energy infrastructure and education, but also with the EU, considering that we have entered this Macro-financial assistance agreement. We have committed to 28 conditions to be realized. I am sure that the Government will be able to achieve them in such a way as to benefit from the best expertise and experience of the EU Member States and on the other hand to enjoy the grants or aids coming from the European Union .
Nicoleta Apostol: How do you think, our relationship with Russia will be better in 2018?
Andrian Candu: I would like that from the current relations, which involve less cooperation and dialogue with Russia, to overcome misunderstandings and to move to pragmatic relations, based on mutual respect. I would liked this to happen in 2018, but I am afraid that due to the electoral processes both in the Russian Federation and in the Republic of Moldova, this will be less achievable, even though politics prove, including in the international relations that you never have to ever say and always hope for what's best. We will continue to strive to be fair to the Russian Federation, but also to ourselves, by demanding mutual respect and defending our honor and dignity when it comes to Moldova versus other states, no matter where it is by the Russian Federation. I'm afraid that because of electoral processes things will stay at least as they are today.
Nicoleta Apostol: What surprises should we expect in the election year, if our president, Igor Dodon is in a very good relationship with the Kremlin leaders?
Andrian Candu: We can see a great support of the Kremlin leaders to the Socialists party and Igor Dodon. The ones from Russian Federation have chosen this: to encourage this party. We want a equal treatment for everybody. What it is important is that we don't permit other country to get involved in our politics. The Russian Federation usually gets involved in the politics of other country through media or financial support. This should be excluded. The only one who should chose the future of our country is Moldovan citizen.
Nicoleta Apostol: How can we assure that we won't be influenced by other countries in the election year?
Andrian Candu: The first thing we should do is to fight against propaganda. When there is a message delivered to the TV channels, radio, on-line press it is already a manipulation. It is an interference in the politics of another country. We should be careful and to avoid the foreign financial support.
Nicoleta Apostol: Some political analysts say that this law is not enough to fight against Russian influence in Republic of Moldova.
Andrian Candu: Maybe is not enough for now, but, for sure, it is an important step. When it will come into force, it will have great results, even if now, there are a lot of impediments for this law to be implemented.
Nicoleta Apostol: Mr. President, is there any solutions for the ones who live on the left side of Nistru, I refer to the economic agents? Since January 1, 2018, the Free Trade Agreement wouldn't be applied anymore. Once, you said that you and the European officials are looking for a solution. Did you find any?
Andrian Candu: Most of the compromise has been based on actions and conditions to be met by the Transnistrian side, by the so-called authorities in the Transnistrian region. It must happen that the Free Trade Agreement is still applied for them as a transitional period but at the same time begins to comply with the conditions agreed upon at the level of sanitary and veterinary rules plus legislation that promotes free competition, including from a fiscal point of view, so that the products that are manufactured in Transnistria also benefit of the legal status so that they can then enjoy privileges under the Free Trade Agreement. I am sure the days to come to a decision arrived, especially in Brussels, because it belongs to the European Commission. It also depends on the attitude of the so-called Transnistrian authorities.
Nicoleta Apostol: Are those opened to make a compromise for the citizens?
Andrian Candu:Yes, they are.
Nicoleta Apostol: Mr. President, thank you very much for this interview. I wish you success for the next year, because it is a hard year for the Parliament.
Andrian Candu: Thank you for offering me the possibility of this interview. I want to thank all the journalists and everybody who is involved in the daily activity of the Parliament. I wish a happy New Year and Merry Christmas.