With no sign of irony, the EU has warned little Moldova that unless it clamps down on corruption it faces an effective fine of 100m EUR.
Siegfried Mureşan of the European parliament’s budget committee suggested the funds (which come from EU taxpayers) would be frozen because Moldova had not met its obligations on corruption and democracy – neither of which are areas the EU is known for its upstanding record in.
For the current year the EU had pledged around 100m EUR to the struggling state, however a new electoral law brought all that to a halt. Critics in the EU claim Moldova’s new law would expose politicians to improper influence from business and the wealthy.
The EU were quite clear, implement all the recommendations of the Venice Commission or face financial penalties – such implementation has not been forthcoming.
Between 2012-2014 $1bn was stolen from the Moldovan banking system, representing 13% of GDP for the struggling state. Little effort has gone into prosecuting the case, and the findings of an investigation have also been withheld. The European Commission has said it is questionable whether the Moldova elite has the “will to prosecute the culprit of this fraud”.
The Prime Minister Pavel Filip brushed aside such concerns and said he fully expected the EU to release the money, but it remains troubling that, once again, EU states in receipt of substantial financial assistance do not appear able to adhere to the most basic standards of transparency and propriety.