The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Thursday 3 May 2007 by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Vitalie Pîrlog and Norway’s Ambassador to Moldova, Mr. Leif Arne Ulland.

The cooperation project foresees that 5-8 Norwegian rule of law experts work in Moldova in the period 2007-2009.

The main aim of the cooperation project is to strengthen the institutions guaranteeing the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova. This cooperation will provide essential support to Moldova’s European integration.

In 2005 the Head of the OSCE Mission in Moldova suggested that Norway take the lead in carrying out a legal assistance needs assessment for the Republic of Moldova. Following consultations with the Government of Moldova at the level of Ministers of Justice and Interior/Police and Ministers/State Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. Norway undertook to carry out such a study.

A team of three Norwegian experts had extensive contacts in Moldova during 2006 prior to finalising a report entitled “A Norwegian Rule of Law Programme in Moldova. Report and Recommendations”. The report lists several possible cooperation projects as regards the police, the prosecution authorities, the courts, the prison service and lawyers. It recommends a comprehensive Norwegian-Moldovan bilateral rule of law programme in order to strengthen the legal chain in priority sectors and support the European integration efforts of the Republic of Moldova. The report was presented to the Government of Moldova in the autumn of 2006, and has also been presented to OSCE delegations in Vienna and to the OSCE Mission to Moldova..

Shortly afterwards the Government of Moldova expressed its support and appreciation for the legal cooperation proposal and declared its willingness to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for the project. A formal decision to this effect was taken by the Government of Moldova on 12 February 2007.

Following this decision, the two sides started negotiations on the MOU and the Norwegian side started recruiting the rule of law personnel necessary for the start-up of the project. Mr. Iver Huitfeldt, a senior judge of the Norwegian Court of Appeals in Oslo with considerable experience from running international rule of law projects (including in the Western Balkans and Asia), was appointed as Head of the Norwegian team of rule of law experts.

More information could also be found on the website of the Norwegian Embassy for Moldova and Romania.