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Moldovan NGOs Reject Proposed Ban On Foreign Funding

Ilie Chirtoaca, a lawyer with the Institute of Legal Resources, says no Western European countries have similar legislation.

About 20 leading nongovernmental organizations in Moldova have issued a public statement urging the government not to adopt a proposed ban on foreign funding for NGOs that are involved in "political activity."

The appeal issued on July 11 compares the Justice Ministry's proposal to a similar law in Russia, where many NGOs that receive funding from abroad are compelled to register as "foreign agents." That law has been widely criticized as part of a bid by Moscow to control civil society.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and at least 90 percent of its NGOs are believed to receive foreign funding.

Ilie Chirtoaca, a lawyer with the Institute of Legal Resources, told RFE/RL that no Western European countries had similar legislation and that the proposal violated Moldova's Association Agreement with the European Union.

Although Moldova's parliament and government are controlled by pro-European factions, the government has made a number of controversial legislative proposals in recent weeks, including a law on reforming the electoral system that was criticized by the Venice Commission, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the EU.