During November and December 2021, the European Union funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA) and enhancement of the legal approximation process for the Republic of Moldova” provided assistance to the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, as one of the relevant public institutions whose capacities for identifying, planning and implementing the priorities for implementation of the Association Agreement is being strengthened and enhanced.

The EU funded project team of experts conducted and completed a Training Needs Assessment and Capacity Development Plan for Structural Units in charge of EU integration in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, which includes a two-year training plan which will be integrated into the Parliament’s overall annual training plan. This plan focuses on the General Legal Department, the Information-Analytical Department and the secretariat staff of the Parliament standing committees.

This Assessment found that about half of the Parliament staff is quite experienced in EU matters while about one-third of the staff lack important experience in the EU field as they have recently begun working at Parliament.

he training plan covered four main topics: 1) general training on EU matters, 2) training on general legal matters, 3) trainings related to EU legal approximation and 4) training on the use of relevant databases – all meant to increase the capacity of staff to appropriately engage in the implementation of AA agenda. In addition, the Project has prepared and agreed with the Parliament Secretariat on a detailed list of EU-related training and capacity-building activities for 2022 and 2023. These agreed activities will be included into the Parliament Secretariat’s Annual Training Plan for 2022.

As a follow-up on the event dedicated to the Role of Parliament in the Association Process with the EU conducted in October 2021 for the newly – elected MPs, the Project experts prepared an Information Note on the further need and follow-up activities to support MPs in legal approximation and other EU-related matters. Using the results of the questionnaire and on-site interviews with MPs and Parliament staff, the experts outlined the proposed subjects for follow-up support activities to MPs through the specific Parliament committees. The identified topics include specific aspects of Moldova’s EU association process and many specific topics of draft legislation which are covered by Moldova’s AA, such as environmental law, data protection, customs law, e-commerce and insurance law.

Moreover, two assessment reports have been completed and submitted to Parliament for its consideration, namely an Assessment report on the Moldova draft Code of Parliamentary Rules of Procedure (registered 2 November 2018) which aims to provide general and specific EU-related recommendations as to improve the parliamentary procedures related to 1) EU legal approximation, 2) oversight over the EU association process and 3) interparliamentary cooperation with the EU and its Member States; and an Assessment report on the Parliament-Government cooperation on the EU integration agenda which aims to assess the legal framework defining the cooperation between the Parliament and the Government regarding EU integration and to present a comparative analysis of Moldovan practices and the approaches existing at the EU level and in EU Member States. It identifies specific challenges in Moldova as to the implementation of the AA and EU legal approximation and proposes solutions.

At the same time, through other Project activities, the Parliament has also received specific support regarding the draft Law on Data Protection and the draft Law on the National Centre for Protection of Personal Data (after their first reading and their subsequent amendments in Parliament) – Assessment Reports and roundtable discussions with Project experts were held.

The AA has been the legal framework for Moldova’s gradual political association and economic integration with the EU and its Member States since 1 September 2014, when most of its provisions were provisionally applied, and which fully entered into force on 1 July 2016. The AA includes Moldova’s commitments to modernize its institutional and legal framework, by harmonizing it with the existing EU laws and principles. A major goal of the AA is to establish a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) between Moldova and the EU and its Member States, thus opening the EU’s internal market to Moldova’s goods and vice versa. The Government has the primary responsibility for approximating Moldova’s national legal system with the EU requirements listed in the AA and also undertakes the central coordination role for Moldova’s implementation of the AA. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) is responsible for coordination of Moldova’s implementation of the AA, which includes the preparation of the National Action Plan to Implement the AA (NAPIAA) and reporting on Moldova’s implementation. The Centre for Legal Approximation (CLA), within the Government State Chancellery, is responsible for checking whether the draft laws/bylaws meet the EU requirements listed in the AA (compliance checking).