Info-Prim Neo interview with Romanian MEP Sebastian Bodu
– How is Moldova regarded in Brussels, especially the democracy in Moldova?
– Romania has always been attentive to the changes experienced by Moldova. The April 7 events attracted a lot of attention as there were violated the principles of democracy, the norms of the state of law. I hope those to blame for the abuses will be identified and judged so that no more such events take place. Afterward, we followed how the parties emerged victories in elections and how the Communist government was removed from power. Moldova is now in a period of transition and the European community is obligated to support the switch from Communism to democracy. All the parties in Moldova, those that are represented in the Parliament and those that are not, must contribute to the rebuilding of the state.
– You spoke about the necessity of rebuilding Moldova. What are the first steps that the Democratic government must take to start the rebuilding process?
– I think the first and most important step is to eradicate corruption. Corruption generates poverty. Romania has such a type of experience. We fought corruption and the living standards have improved. I think the legal system must be reformed; the prosecutors and judges should be offered greater independence. Nobody should be influenced by the political class. The reforms should be based on the principles of the state of law and on the principles of democracy like the separation of the powers in the state and the promotion and observance of the human rights and freedoms.
– Do you know about corruption cases in Moldova?
– I found out about such cases only from the Moldovan press. Press reports appeared while the Communists were in power and they featured Communist leaders, from the head of state to ministers. This seems very serious to me. But the ordinary people probably face cases of corruption every day. For example, they have to offer bribe when they go to the doctor. The large-scale corruption cases cause the greatest misbalances and inequities in a society. It would be ideal to work out a national strategy for fighting corruption that would be implemented by all the parties in Moldova. Maybe a parallel should be drawn with the Romanian legislation, especially because the National Anticorruption Division of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Romania is constantly praised by the European Commission in its country assessment reports. Moldova may also need a National Anticorruption Division.
– What do you think about the measures taken by the present government so far? Do you know the Alliance for European Integration’s government program?
– Moldovan people’s expectations are higher than the promises made in the government program. I think that Moldova needs firm and definite measures. Romania experienced a similar situation in 1996, when it had to initiate structural reforms. The politicians must assume a certain cost for pushing the country forward. In 1996, Romania was in the same situation as Moldova today – Romania after six years of neo-Communism with Ion Iliescu, while Moldova after eighty years of neo-Communism with Vladimir Voronin. The elections represent an essential event for the country. Maybe we do not realize it, but they have an effect on the daily life and not going to the polls means abandonment of one’s own destiny. It was proven in Romania, the last time in 2004, when Adrian Nastase was hindered from winning the elections. It was proven in Moldova as well, in the summer of 2009, when Vladimir Voronin was removed from power by a democratic vote. In December 2004, Romania said NO to state corruption. Moldova said No to Communism in 2009.
– Do you think that the IMF’s financial support to Moldova will be enough for overcoming the economic crisis?
– No. The new administration will have to take specific and courageous economic measures. Therefore, it is very important to establish political stability and solidarity in Moldova. I want to say that the agreement with the IMF will not only provide for the disbursement of cheap money, but will also attract cheap or event non-reimbursable financing from other organizations or countries. The EU could be one of them. In order to fulfill the conditions of the agreement with the IMF, which are not a goal but a means of attracting new financing, all the democratic forces in Moldova, either in Parliament or outside it, should help achieve the set objectives and reform the state institutions.
– Romania repeatedly said that it supports Moldova in its efforts to join the EU. How can this support materialize?
– I can reiterate the Romanian MEPs’ support, regardless of their political affiliation, for Moldova’s efforts to become part of the EU. Romania in general supports Moldova, but this does not spare Moldova from the obligation to conscientiously do its homework. I think the presidential elections in Romania are very important for Moldova too. President Traian Basescu has been Moldova’s ally for democracy and European integration. That’s why it is very important that the Romanian citizens in Moldova exercise their right to vote and support the one who contributed to Moldova’s development. Traian Basescu has been active at foreign level and did not close the eyes at what’s happening in Chisinau, as other politicians did with great diplomacy. Romania’s President publicly condemned the violation of the human rights, took steps to help Moldova make progress on the path to European integration, simplified the procedure for regaining Romanian nationality and did many other things. I urge all those who can vote in Moldova to vote in favor of Traian Basescu.
– You visited Moldova for the first time. What can you say about the Moldovans?
– The Moldovans are free, courageous and hospitable. Yet, most of them live in poverty. Definite and responsible measures must be taken to boost economic growth and improve the living conditions. I think the Moldovans now should follow the example of other countries from the former Communist bloc that made considerable progress, like the Baltic States, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Romania of course.
– You have been invited to Moldova by the European Action Movement. Why did you accept the invitation from an extra-parliamentary party?
– I accepted the invitation because it is a Christian-Democratic party, because it showed it is responsible during the elections and because it promotes a package of coherent measures against corruption. I’m glad that the invitation was made by a party that, even if it is not represented in the Parliament, has openly declared its Christian-Democratic orientation and the orientation to Europe.
Info-Prim Neo Note: Sebastian Bodu, a member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Romania, had been in Chisinau between November 6 and 7. He was invited to the roundtable meeting “Moldova in the EU. Economic, Political and Institutional Prospects following the Communist Government,” organized by the European Action Movement. He is a member of the Parliamentary Group of the European People’s Party (Christian-Democrats) in the European Parliament and deputy chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee. Recently, he made statements in support of Moldova in the European Parliament.