Moldovan Constitutional Court provided Green Light for the Parliament to change the name of State Language

Moldovan Constitutional Court (Court) provided green light for the Parliament to change the Official Language of the State. This came after Court endorsed [1] a draft amendment to the Constitution to change the official name of the country’s Language from “Moldovan” to “Romanian”.

The draft constitutional amendment was initiated [2] by one third of MPs of total number of 101, and it is expected to be debated in parliament from April next year. The draft law aims to revise the Constitution by amending article which lays down the official language of the country, namely by replacing the text “Moldovan Language” with the text “Romanian Language”.

The Court stated that this issue was the subject of its examination (in 2013) and underlined that Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova, adopted in 1989 after collapse of USSR, operates with the term “Romanian language” contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, which was adopted later in 1994, and operates with the term “Moldovan language”. [3]

The Court said that the “Romanian” is a state language due to the fact it is established by the Declaration of Independence [4], which is “the founding act of the Republic of Moldova”. In addition, Court underlined that the provision of the Declaration of Independence on Romanian language as the official language of Moldova prevails over the provision on “Moldovan Language” laid down in Article 13 of the Constitution. [5]

The Court underlined that “the initiative to amend Article 13 of the Constitution is not an ordinary initiative on amending the Constitution, but rather a technical one resulting from the duty to execute the judgments of the Constitutional Court, i.e. Judgment no. 36 of 5 December 2013 enjoys res judicata status, it being mandatory for all public authorities and for all individuals and legal entities.”

The court’s ruling is final and is not subject to appeal.

According to the Constitution of Moldova, the country’s official language is defined as Moldovan. However, most politicians and academics are of the opinion that the language should be called Romanian.

Historical Background

The ex-Soviet state of Moldova has strong historical and political ties with its western neighbor and EU member Romania. Moldovan is the name given to the Romanian language spoken in Moldova during the Soviet Age. Around a 400,000 people of Moldova’s are living in the separatist region of Transnistria so called, which broke away in the 1990s and voted to merge with the Russian Federation.  

Moldovans and Romanians speak the same language with small variations due to different historical zones and ex-Soviet influence. Moldova was part of Romania until 1940, when it was annexed to the Soviet Union. The language was renamed Moldovan under Soviet rule in order to underline the difference between Romania and new created country within Soviet Union. Republic of Moldova declared its independence in 1991, after USSR collapsed.




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