The report says the country has made almost zero progress since 2018 in implementing its advice on dealing with suspected corruption among parliamentarians, especially.

The newest report by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body GRECO lists Moldova among those states with a poor level of implementing its recommendations on dealing with corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors

A process more mimicked than followed

At a meeting with GRECO officials on November 26, 2019, in Strasbourg, Moldova’s Justice Minister, Fadei Nagacevschi, restated the Chisinau government’s commitment to meeting its anti-corruption pledges.

He reportedly “gave assurances regarding the firm commitment of the Justice Ministry in stepping up efforts to implement the [GRECO] recommendations at the national level, especially in terms of adjusting the legal framework and promoting policies to prevent corruption among magistrates and prosecutors.”

But, by the end of 2019, Moldovan authorities had still fully implemented only four of the 18 GRECO recommendations, equal to 22 per cent of them.

It had partially implemented another nine, or 50 per cent. It had not implemented five, or 28 per cent.

Moldova pledged to undertake serious reforms to its much-criticised justice system on signing an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, the first step towards eventual membership.

Six years on, it is still deemed one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, with especially serious deficiencies in the courts.

Galina Bostan, executive director of the Moldova-based Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Corruption, CAPC, told BIRN that the GRECO report should be a wake-up call to the Moldovan authorities.

“This is a clear signal to them that they should accelerate in the field of justice reform, with an emphasis on anti-corruption,” she said.

“The GRECO mechanism is a very effective mechanism for implementing recommendations. We just hope that the recommendations are implemented,” she added.

Bostan added that, till now, Moldova had been mimicking rather than actually enacting justice reforms.

“There is no other description for it,” she said. “Reform of the justice sector has been due to politicians who did it out of conviction, or because they were asked to from outside. But these reforms have never been mastered and actually started by the judges,” she noted.

“Judges have participated in reforming the judiciary to the extent that they were able to increase their salaries. These are more caste interests on their part rather than a real desire to reform the sector,” she added.

BIRN has fact-checked what the country has said – and done – on some of the main GRECO recommendations.