Institute for Development andMOLDOVA’S FOREIGN POLICY STATEWATCH Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 21, April 2011Veaceslav BerbecaMOLDOVA’S MEMBERSHIP FEES:BETWEEN EFFICIENCY ANDSIMPLE PRESENCE NEXT TOPIC TO BE COVERED: W The relations hen the Republic of Moldova became between Moldova an independent state in 1991, it had and Romania to make a considerable effort in order to become a member of a number of Moldova’s Foreign Policy Sta- international organizations. The pro- tewatch represents a series of cess of joining international organiza- brief analyses, written by local tions, started and supported initially and foreign experts, dedicated by a pragmatic zeal along with the necessity to st- to the most topical subjects related to the foreign policy of rengthen the independence status of the Republic Moldova, major developments of Moldova turned, subsequently, into a less clear in the Black Sea Region, coope- exercise, at least for a part of society. However, ration with international orga- the process keeps going on in a natural way, even nizations and peace building activities in the region. It aims if there are several opinions within the society, es- to create a common platform pecially among the opposition political parties or for discussion and to bring to- within the civil society, questioning the importance gether experts, commentators, officials and diplomats who are of the Republic of Moldova membership status concerned with the perspecti- in different international organizations from the ves of European Integration of perspective of pecuniary issues or the national in- Moldova. It is also pertaining terest. Thus, the national interest, the relationship to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts a valuable tribune between benefits and costs would have to raise for debating the most interes- the problem of reevaluating the content of the Re- ting and controversial points of public of Moldova international cooperation. view that could help Moldova to find its path to EU.
2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy StatewatchInternational participationof the Republic of Moldova The Republic of Moldova is a member of more than 60 international organizations, a processthat started upon proclamation of its independence. The process of joining the international structureshas not always taken into account the same logical arguments for joining each organization. However,this attitude is a natural one because it occurred at different periods and depending on differentfactors that could be now obsolete. Certainly, the joining and participation of the Republic of Moldova in the framework of differentinternational organizations is an axiom but the knightly enthusiasm that characterized this processshould be monitored. The formal presence in some organizations is in contradiction to the Republicof Moldova limited financial and human resources. Also, another reason that is invoked could refer tothe emergence of a lack of agreement between its current membership status in some internationalorganizations and its middle and long-term national interests. The membership fees in the international organizations, to which the Republic of Moldovabelongs, accounted for about 50 million lei in the last 3 years. In 2009 the membership fees amountedto 49950000 lei. In 2010 the sum of 46700000 lei1 was allocated and a substantial part representedthe money for paying off the debts run up before2. Finally, the 2011 State Budget Law provides thefigure of 48000000 lei for paying off the membership fees3. Although it does not look like a large sum,it is necessary to strictly supervise the way the public money is spent, a process that will certainly beof a particular interest to a growing number of the Republic of Moldova citizens.Relation between efficiency andparticipation in internationalorganizations Obviously, the Republic of Moldova joining and participation in international organizationsshould not be assessed according to a very rigid system that would imply the carrying out of an analysisin terms of cost – benefit terminology. The state’s international collaboration could be explaineddepending on many criteria. One of them, that we are going to insist on, is an assessment of theinternational cooperation from the perspective of this process utility for the Republic of Moldova. Speaking about the category of useful organizations, we will, first of all, refer to internationalstructures and organizations that give visibility and substance to the member states. Joining the UNis the most important proof of a state’s existence and the UN multifunctional character backs up, onemore time, the idea of the importance of this organization for any state. The membership fees to theUN, its programs, special funds and agencies are, by far, the largest sums out of the total amount paid1 Government decision nr. 101 dated 17 February 2010 Hotărărea Guvernului nr. 101 din 17.02.2010 „Regarding the paying of the Republic of Moldova membership fees and debts to the regional and international organizations from the 2010 year state budget.”2 International Organizations and the Republic of Moldova, www.mf.gov.md/ro/cooperinternal/org/3 Synthesis of the state budget in terms of revenues, expenditures, deficit and financing sources, www.mf.gov.md/common/actnorm/budget/projectact/PBP2011/Anexe/Anexa_nr1_2011_Ro.pdfStr. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org
Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch 3annually by the state (accounting for more than one third of the entire amount) but the benefits arecorresponding to the costs. The UNDP role regarding the poverty alleviation, institutional developmentand environment and energy issues in the Republic of Moldova is well-known. The same logic may be used referring to the Council of Europe that develops common anddemocratic principles on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights and other referencedocuments concerning the individuals’ protection. Also, the European Council instruments serve asan accountability model for the member states authorities. The Republic of Moldova, since joiningthe organization, has been under a continuous European Council scrutiny, a fact that proves that thecommitments made as a result of its joining and ratifying the conventions regarding human rights havenot been respected. The Republic of Moldova was to pay membership fees of 5477545 lei in 2010 tothe Council of Europe an amount that represents 11,72% out of the total sum. The European Court ofHuman Rights is the last court the Republic of Moldova citizens may take their matter to if they considerthat their rights have been violated. From 1998 till 2011 196 decisions concerning the Republic ofMoldova were adopted. It has to be mentioned that there is a direct connection between the compliancewith the European Court of Human Rights decisions and the Republic of Moldova international image.Otherwise, a system of sanctions with a negative impact on the Republic of Moldova could begin. Butthe Republic of Moldova international participation and openness is vital for its economic, social andpolitical prosperity. Another example in terms of utility would be the World Trade Organization that deals with thetrade regulations between the member states. Moldova had to pay 378976 lei in 2010, that accounts for0, 81% out of the total amount of membership fees to the WTO which has to arbitrate in the commercialdisputes between the states. For example, on 3 March 2011, Moldova addressed to the WTO in orderto organize consultations with Ukraine regarding the discriminatory sales terms applied to the distilledMoldovan alcoholic drinks on the Ukrainian market4. Another important organization is the OSCE to which the Republic of Moldova pays 3631045lei, i.e. more than 7, 78% of the total amount. The OSCE activity is quite diverse including combatinghuman trafficking, arms control and disarmament, conflict negotiation and resolution, mass-mediafreedom, human rights and democratization. The OSCE presence is visible and important for theRepublic of Moldova. There is, also, a category of international organizations, the Republic of Moldova is a member ofbut the content and consequences of joining are not clear enough, from the utility perspective. We cansuppose that the fact of joining some structures was dictated by some political circumstances or somearguments we might not have any knowledge about. By stating this, we do not ask to denounce theseorganizations but we invite the state to explain the purpose of being members of many internationalorganizations and the civil society to express its opinion concerning the content of this internationalcollaboration. Moreover, assuming that they are important, we are interested in finding out if the statecapitalizes on the benefits provided by these international institutions. In this context, we refer, first of all, to the CIS. The Republic of Moldova joined this organizationhoping, among other reasons, to solve the conflict in Transnistria. Also, Chisinau administration signedand ratified within CIS agreements regarding the creation of the Economic Union and the free tradezone. The Transnistrian conflict was not settled and in terms of trade the Republic of Moldova facedseveral times an embargo on certain goods imposed by Russia. We can see that states’ participationin the framework of different signed agreements is selective and depends on every state’s interestin an agreement or another� and there are not mecanisms at the CIS level entitled to ensure theimplementation of the adopted norms. The relationships between the CIS states are regulated bybilateral agreements and this is an explanation of the Commonwealth legislation inefficiency. The4 Moldova files dispute against Ukraine, www.wto.org/english/news_e/news11_e/ds423rfc_03mar11_e.htm Str. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org
4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatchactual situation within the CIS seems to be in contradiction with the annual fees of 5310062 lei paid byChisinau to the CIS organizations which accounts to more than 11, 3 % of the total sum (the secondfigure after that paid to the UN and its specialized agencies). There are, also, voices highliting the factthat the CIS memebership is in contradiction to the goal of joining the EU. Another organization from this category is the International Organization of the Francophoniebut the utility of this one is interesting for us from another perspective. The IOF is an organizationwith a cultural mission but has a political one as well including 53 states and governments with afull membership status. Although the membership fee is not a large one – about 600000 lei annuallytogether with the debts, we would like to know if the Republic of Moldova takes the advantages ofbeing a member of this organization. It would be curious to find out what is the correlation betweenthe IOF and France taking into account the fact that Paris has blocked some processes of gettingcloser between the EU and the Republic of Moldova. This approach of capitalizing on the membershipbenefits also refers to the Conference concerning the Navigation Regime on the Danube to which wepay 2429461 lei annually. We do not question the necessity of being a member of this organization butwe would like not to have just a formal presence there.Conclusions and recommendations The Chisinau administration should assess its presence in terms of international cooperation.The need of this action is dictated by practical and financial reasons but by the middle and long-termstate’s interests as well. The Republic of Moldova has limited human and financial resources and,that’s why, it has to establish a list of priorities from the perspective of international collaboration. Assuming that all organizations are important, we would like to know if we take advantageof all benefits offered by these internatonal bodies and the state has to explain the reasons andneeds of belonging to these organizations and the results of cooperation with these internationalinstitutions. The signing and ratifying of agreements implies the compliance with some commitments. Thefact that the Council of Europe is still monitoring the Republic of Moldova is a proof of the state’sweakness. Chisinau administration must make efforts in order to comply with its commitments tothe international bodies. This thing would give the Moldovan society a new perception for which thepaying of membership fees would not mean a waste of money but an indication of the state’s maturity.The Republic of Moldova must pay off its debts incurred during years and avoid their appearancein the future. Eventually, the image of a state is shaped also by its compliance with the financialcommitments.This publication was produced by IDIS “Viitorul” with the financial support of Soros FoundationMoldova and the National Endowment for Democracy. The opinions expressed in this publicati-on reflect the author’s/authors’ position and don’t necessary represent the views of the donors.Str. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.orgStr. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org