On June 25, 2017, an interview with Russian Duma representative Leonid Kalashnikov, recorded in Moscow, by anchor of the program “Oqros Kveta”(Golden Intersection), Valeri Kvaratskhelia, was broadcasted by “Obieqtivi TV”. Kalashnikov disseminated five falsehoods about Moldova’s European integration process:
- The EU wrecks Moldova’s economy;
- Russia helps Moldovan economy;
- The European Union does not stimulate Moldova;
- DCFTA only helps the Moldovan business sector and not the Moldovan people;
- DCFTA imposes on Moldova’s economy a heavy burden.
Leonid Kalashnikov: “I’m an optimist. I see what’s happening in Moldova: a small country, what is there to say, they already have a visa-free regime, signed a European integration, or Bulgaria, which has long been in the EU and so what?! Here is the Bulgarian President who declares: I want to restore everything with Russia as it was before and he’s voted in. And Daddon in Moldova ?! He said the same thing … and why did he say this? And why did the people vote for him? Because they received visa-free travel, they even got open borders, but at the same time they received huge costs and utility bills, and with such a (small) salary and an additionally tethered industry that is not needed by the West! Even agriculture, which is the most developed sector of Moldova’s economy, is not desired by the West! They do not know where to get rid of their own agronomical produce: from Spain, Italy … And it is besotted not to understand this in Georgia! Who needs your produce? Who needs your culture? Do the Americans need your culture? Or grapes? “
Kalashnikov’s statement is nonsensical: since the signing of the Association Agreement and DCFTA’s entry into action, Moldova’s export has increased by 6,9% and the export value of agricultural products has increased by 25%. During the years 2007-2013, the European Union helped Moldova with € 561 million in European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) framework.
Deceit N1: The EU harms Moldova’s economy
Real Fact N1: In comparison with 2014 Moldova’s export value has increased by 6.9%
On April 28, 2014, visa free access to the EU was ratified for Moldova, which means that Moldovan citizens can visit EU member countries with just the possesion of a biometric passport. In the first year of visa liberalization more than 460,000 Moldovan traveled to the European Union. Moldova signed an Association Agreement with the European Union in June 2014, in accordance with which the DCFTA, or trade agreement was authenticated in July 2014. During the period of visa-free travel agreement talks, Moldova was already subject to restrictive tariffs imposed by the Russian Federation. The majority of beneficial rates were adopted by the Autonomous Trade Prefrences (ATP) regime. After receiving the DCFTA, the valuation benefits, of which Moldova was the beneficiary before the ratification of the treaty were not suspend. Although by 2015 the export was reduced by 2.3%, which can be explained by the political transition period inside the country, but by 2016 the export of Moldova started to increase and was 6.9% higher than in 2014.
Moldovan exports by regions
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova
Real Fact N2: The export value of agricultural products saw an increase of 25%
The export value of agricultural products saw an increase of 25%. In addition, approximately 63% of agricultural products and 68% non-agricultural products saw an surge of quantity.
Export of agrarian products by regions
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova
Despite many fears and speculation that the closer relations with the EU would have a negative impact on agriculture, the final cummulative result was the contrary. The import of agricultural products from the European Union has declined by 25%, as most of the products are in competition with local produce (alcohol, potatoes, milk, cheese and so on).
Deceit N2: Russia gives econimic aid to Moldova
Real fact N3: After signing the Association Agreement with the EU, Russia imposed sanctions that hurt Moldova’s economy
After Moldova signed the Association Agreement, Russia introduced heavy sanctions on Moldova, causing significant economic damage to the country. Russia abolished rate preferencies on 19 different categories of products that were foreseen by the Treaty signed with Moldova. Russia also laid down ardous import constraints and in some cases, mostly in the food and agriculture sectors, the import from Moldova has been terminated altogether.
Deceit N3: The EU does nothing to improve Moldova’s financial situation
Real Fact N4: Moldova has received € 561 million from the European Union just by the programs enacted by ENPI.
On 20 April 2017, the EU member states agreed to assist Moldova in a macro-financial manner, which included financial aid of 100 million euros. With this money the EU aims to help stabilize Moldova’s economic situation and strengthen its democratic institutions.
In 2014, the European Union allocated 131 million euros for Moldova to enable DCFTA to implement agrarian, agricultural and public financial reforms. In 2007-2013, the European Union helped Moldova with € 561 million from the structure of European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).
EU assistance may reach € 410 million in the period of 2014-2017. With these funds, the EU encourages Moldova in fortify its economic and financial structures.
Deceit N4: The DCFTA only helps the Moldovan business sector, not the Moldovan people
Real Fact N5: The DCFTA handles many fields which by imroving benefit the whole of the country’s population
The DCFTA, which is an integral part of the Association Agreement with the EU, does not apply only to the trade sector. Within the DCFTA there are many envisaged reforms aiming not only trade liberalization, but also the introduction of EU standards in areas such as food safety, technical regulations, public procurement, competition policy, intellectual and property rights, energy and trade-related legislation in an effort to move them closer to EU legislative framework. Relevant reforms in these scopes will contribute to stable economic growth, which is reflected directly on the welfare of the population.
Deceit N5: DCFTA Agreement imposes a heavy burden on Moldova’s economy
Real Fact N6: The DCFTA agreement implies the creation of a free trade zone for Moldova
The abovementioned agreement includes several changes in economy and trade sectors, which have a positive impact on Moldova’s economic growth and the employment rate inside the populace.
- Import requirements for industrial products are rescinded that promote the market expansion inside Moldova.
- Export commitments are being dissolved, which makes Moldovan market accessible to other countries.
- Import liabilities are also terminated on agrarian products, which equals to a sum total of € 46 million reduction of the amount on imported agricultural products.
- Moldova establishes anti-damping and anti-subsidies legislation, as well as additional legislative safeguards, to ensure legitimate aims and interests are protected.
- Moldova is adopting new technical regulations and new standards of infrastructure.
- Public procurement information becomes public, accessible and more transparent that will facilitate more efficient work in this area.
- The standard of intellectual property protection is becoming the same as in other EU countries.
- Prohibition of transactions and practices that prevent free competition. Among them are cartelic deals, misuse of monopolistic position on the market and so on.
It is also interesting that Leonid Kalashnikov is not only against the rapprochement of Moldova with the EU, but also the integration of Ukraine and Georgia into the European family. In an interview with RIA Novosti in 2016, Kalashnikov noted that the EU’s will to award a visa-free regime to Ukrainian and Georgian citizens is “a bait”. He said that visa-free regime will not improve the life of general population and they will not solve problems of their livelyhood.
Myth Detector Lab