We, the Heads of Missions of EU Member States, the Delegation of the European Commission and the European Union Special Representative's office residing in the Republic of Moldova,
- with reference to paragraph 2 of the Conclusions on the Republic of Moldova of the Council of the European Union of October 13th, 2008,
- recalling our joint declaration of July 17th, 2008,
- recalling commitments to OSCE, other international standards for elections as well as the commitments contained in the EU-Republic of Moldova Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of November 1994,
- noting that preparations for the 2009 parliamentary elections are well underway and that measures have already been taken by the Moldovan authorities in that respect:
call upon the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to ensure that the forthcoming parliamentary elections are conducted in accordance with international standards for democratic elections.
In particular we underline the importance of guaranteeing full respect for the principle of political pluralism including competition of parties and candidates and, ultimately, of ideas with the aim of protecting maximum voter choice.
We note in this regard that a number of political parties have complained of difficulties encountered in complying with the new registration procedures introduced by the Law on Political Parties which was adopted in April this year. Delays in obtaining proper registration could jeopardise the chances of political parties or candidates of participating fully or at all in the upcoming elections. We therefore call upon the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova to ensure that the procedures for registration of parties and movements are applied in a timely, fair and transparent manner.
We are also concerned by a mounting number of criminal investigations which have been recently initiated against opposition politicians. While we appreciate the importance of the fight against crime and corruption, it is essential that the law enforcement agencies act, and are seen to act, in an impartial and transparent manner. This is particularly important in the context of an electoral campaign where the launch of criminal investigations risk undermining the ability of candidates to participate effectively in the electoral campaign.
Finally, we also note the importance of guaranteeing access to the media for all parties participating in the elections and ensuring balanced coverage of the elections themselves. In this regard we attach great importance to the editorial independence of the public broadcaster and to the pluralistic nature of the audio-visual environment of the electoral campaign. The issue of the renewal of broadcasting licences will also be of particular relevance here.
With regard to the amendments made to the Moldovan Electoral Code, we call on the authorities to give due consideration to the recommendations made by OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission in 2005 and to the recent recommendation of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe as well as to the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
In this context, we recall the Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of February 2008 welcoming the progress made by the Republic of Moldova in the implementation of the ENP Action Plan over the past three years. We also note its call for further and continuous efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of the media, inter alia, in the run up to the parliamentary elections.
The EU is committed to further deepening the relationship. However, we call on the Moldovan leadership to ensure that further progress in bringing Moldova close to the EU will not be hindered by shortcomings in the democratic process.
We therefore will continue to follow closely the progress of the electoral campaign and the conduct of the elections in the coming months.
Embassy of Austria
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
Embassy of the Czech Republic
Embassy of the French Republic
Embassy of the Republic of Hungary
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
Embassy of Romania
Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Moldova
Office of the European Union Special Representative