Leaked roadmap reveals Russian demands on Moldova

By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2016

Russian daily Kommersant has revealed details of the roadmap drafted by Russia for the normalisation of economic ties with Moldova. The document was reportedly submitted to the Moldovan authorities on June 28, one week before the visit of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to Chisinau and the separatist republic of Transnistria.

The document includes Russian requests for Moldova to repay its gas debts to Russia and fully implement the Free Trade Zone agreed by CIS members in October 2011. However, it remains vague on the prospects of a lifting of Russian trade embargoes against Moldova.

The Moldovan authorities say they have received the document, but stressed that it is a unilateral draft by Russia. Moldova will be able to add to the document, and according to Kommersant, some of the topics have already been rejected by Moldova.

The head of IDIS Viitorul think-tank head Igor Munteanu told Deschide.md that it would be impossible to comply with many of the 14 points in the document, while most are in conflict with Moldova’s Association Agreement with the EU.

The topics included in the road map broadly fall into the technical, energy and geopolitical categories.

A number of requirements concern the implementation of the various agreements with the CIS, of which Moldova is a member, Kommersant reported.

In particular, in order to reduce barriers to trade and economic relations, Moscow requires a guarantee of "unconditional implementation" of the Free Trade Zone, as well as the certification of agreements, metrological certification, standardisation and veterinary medicine. The ministry of economy told Kommerant that Moldova should open negotiations with the European Union with the purpose of harmonising the Association Agreement with the country’s commitments as a CIS member.

As regards the prospects for the return of Moldovan wines, fruits and vegetables to the Russian market, the document is less specific, simply proposing continuing cooperation in the area of product safety and work on opening markets.

Energy issues are addressed in a separate section. Moscow wants the resolution of problematic issues in the gas sector, in particular the repayment of Moldovagaz's debts to Gazprom. Moldova owes $477mn and Transnistria $4.5bn.

Another proposal concerns JSC Moldovan GRES (Transnistria’s power plant owned by Russian company RAO). The Russian side would like the contract between Moldova and Moldovan GRES renewed after it expires in 2017. The sale of electricity to Moldova is a very important source of revenues for Transnistria, which is backed by Russia.

JSC Moldovan GRES’s electricity is produced from Russian gas, for which Transnistria does not pay. Instead, Gazprom bills Moldovagaz, which is controlled by Romgaz.

 

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