EU provides Moldova with necessary assistance to combat COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences
The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), in partnership with Privesc.eu and with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, organized on Thursday, 14th of May, 2020, the forth EU Debates On-line Café, a videoconference dedicated to EU assistance for the Republic of Moldova, including in the context of COVID-19 crisis.
The debate was attended by His Excellency Ambassador Peter Michalko, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, Tatiana Molcean, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Tatiana Ivanicichina, Secretary of State, Ministry of Finance and Adrian Ermurachi, Deputy Secretary General of the Government. In their speeches, the speakers referred to the assistance offered by the European Union in the last years, how the European Union helps the Republic of Moldova to manage the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the main beneficiaries of EU support for the Republic of Moldova, but also on how, when and under what conditions the Republic of Moldova could capitalize on EU macro-financial assistance.
Please find bellow the main interventions of the speakers.
Peter Michalko, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova: “The European Union has identified and reoriented over 87 million euros for the immediate needs of the Republic of Moldova in the context of COVID-19 crisis. Also, the EU will provide new emergency macro-financial assistance of 100 million euros, in addition to other 70 million euros of macro-financial assistance agreed in November 2017, money that can still be disbursed by the Moldovan government under certain conditions. The first tranche of the new macro-financial assistance could be granted in a fairly short time, without imposing conditionalities. The second tranche could reach Moldova by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. It will support the state budget of the Republic of Moldova as emergency assistance. We hope that the memorandum on macro-financial assistance will be negotiated fairly quickly, and that the first tranche will be immediate. For the assistance provided in the context of COVID-19, the 87 million euro, as well as for the first tranche of the new macro-financial assistance, no conditions are formulated. Regarding the second tranche, which could reach the Republic of Moldova by the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, there are certain conditionalities related to the internal reforms to be carried out. ” Ambassador Peter Michalko added that the European Union will continue to provide support for the Republic of Moldova that will produce a tangible impact for citizens. And, when the Government of the Republic of Moldova addresses new requests for additional macro-financial assistance, the EU will be available to provide it to the Republic of Moldova based on the same principles, including strict conditionality related to the progress of domestic reforms.
Tatiana Molcean, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration: “From the first days we called on the EU and the Member States to offer us support in the fight against COVID-19. There were many steps, it was discussed with the European Commissioners through addresses and messages, telephone discussions. EU assistance for us was also important. Discussions continue on long-term programs. Let’s see, together with the business environment, the authorities, in which areas the money will be redirected. Our first efforts were directed at getting the necessary protective equipment and medicines. During this period, we have received important assistance both from the EU and from Member States such as Romania, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Austria, etc. EU assistance is provided through many instruments and mechanisms, and now, during the crisis, ordinary mechanisms have multiplied. The discussions continue, because, in particular, we need to identify in which areas we will redirect the money coming from the EU, because the amounts are quite large and the affected areas are just as important. In this regard, we are grateful to the European Union for its support and thank them for their efforts. “
Tatiana Ivanicichina, Secretary of State, Ministry of Finance: “There is the support provided by external partners, which is reflected in the state budget and there is direct assistance provided to citizens, small and medium enterprises, civil society. In this period of pandemic, we talk much more with external partners. So we can talk about three dimensions. The first is the assistance provided to the health system, which most often materializes through procurement and purchase of medical equipment. The second direction of external assistance would be related to the social field, civil society, and for the implementation of some projects at local level. The third area is assistance for economic support. Here, too, the European institutions support us by offering credit lines through commercial banks, where small and medium-sized enterprises can access loans on preferential terms. In the state budget we have reflected the macro-financial assistance agreed with the EU a few years ago. With little time left, the Ministry of Finance has excluded from the budget the third tranche of 40 million from the macro-financial assistance agreed at the end of 2017. And this is because the Government, when planning its budget, takes into account predictability. The memorandum stipulates that it expires in July, and the minimum period for disbursement of the tranche may not be less than three months. Thus, appreciating the objective situation of the time left, but also the consequences of the pandemic, which slow down many existing processes, we considered that the third tranche should be excluded from the budget. Today, we are already in the process of negotiating with the European Commission on the new 100 million euro emergency macro-financial assistance (Omnibus). ”
Adrian Ermurachi, Deputy Secretary General of the Government of the Republic of Moldova: “In the context of the crisis that affected our country, the External Assistance Coordination Center was created to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Center is not an institution, but a platform within the State Chancellery, which includes colleagues from the Ministry of Health and those from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The need to create this Center was in fact motivated by the situation in which we found ourselves at the beginning of this crisis, where practically all the authorities, the institutions, being in a certain crisis situation, tried to request external assistance. Following discussions with development partners, which were met with an avalanche of requests from the authorities, it was decided to set up this specific center to prioritize requests and avoid the duplication of efforts. This Center is created only during the crisis and does not come to replace other authorities. By monitoring the activity of this platform for over a month, I would like to mention that I had most of the requests at the very begining. Another aspect concerns the transparency of funds coming from external assistance and which are distributed at national level to public health institutions. This information is public, and the Ministry of Health is at the final stage of developing an IT platform, where all the information about external assistance and how it was distributed will be published”.
For more details you can watch the video recording of the event here.
The event was organized within the project “EU DEBATES CAFÉ: Advancing knowledge and expertise about EU institutions and policies in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by IPRE in cooperation with the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the Republic of Moldova and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.