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Moldovan President and Prime Minister Increasingly at Loggerheads

From a potential referendum, to membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and the relationship with the EU, Igor Dodon and Pavel Filip cannot find any common ground. 

6 April 2017

The war of words between Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip (pictured) and President Igor Dodon, caused by their different foreign policy views, is raging on. While Dodon is pro-Russian and in favor of joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union, Filip is pro-Western and wants to steer Moldova on a path toward the EU.

 

Such different views became once more apparent this week. In an interview with Die Welt, cited by Deutsche Welle, Dodon criticized former pro-EU governments for mismanaged EU funds, which, according to him, amounted to 782 million euros ($835 million) between 2007 and 2015.

 

"At least one half of that was lost through murky channels. Corrupt members of various, supposedly pro-EU governments in my country have stolen it," Dodon said, adding that he "repeatedly raised the issues with the representatives of Brussels, but the EU-Commissionaires in charge of this were not concerned. […] How should German citizens feel, living in their simple apartments, when their tax money goes to corrupt politicians in the Republic of Moldova, who then use it to buy castles in Germany?"


 Filip addressed Dodon’s remarks in an interview with Deutsche Welle, where he stressed that "Moldova is respectful toward the German taxpayer, and my government is committed to all transparency criteria as regards the use of EU money in Moldova. Dodon's comments are populist and unrelated to the reality on the ground."

 

Last week, the two also clashed over the issue of a referendum, after Dodon signed a decree on 28 March setting the referendum’s date for 24 September, adevarul.md writes. The referendum includes several questions, one of them about the “theft of the century,” which saw a billion dollars vanishing from Moldovan banks in 2014, and whether citizens should cover this loss; another one concerns the granting of more rights to the president, such as dissolving the parliament and calling for early elections; one deals with reducing the number of parliamentary members from the current 101 to 71; and one question relates to studying only Moldovan history, and not Romanian history as well, in Moldovan schools. 

 

Filip objected to the referendum on the grounds that it would cost 60 to 70 million Moldovan lei ($3 million to $3.6 million) to organize, and that the government is currently negotiating a salary increase with people working in education. “If we find this money in the state budget, I would prefer to channel them into increasing salaries,” Filip said during a television appearance, cited by adevarul.md.

 

Also last week, Filip sent a letter to Dodon, which was published on the Moldovan government’s Facebook page, in which he expressed his disapproval of Dodon’s request for observer status to the Moscow-led Eurasian Union and for the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with this organization.

 

 

  • The relationship with Romania has also been a bone of contention between Dodon’s Socialists (PSRM) and the pro-Western opposition. Celebrations in Bucharest of Bessarabia's decision to unite with Romania 99 years ago, and the decision to make the anniversary a public holiday, led to a PSRM proposal to outlaw the movement that favors reunification with Bucharest.

 

  • History teaching in Moldova has been divided into the history of the Romanians and world history, with the Romanian segment at times optional, at others times mandatory.

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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