Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south. Moldova emerged as an independent republic in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The majority of Moldova's 3.6 million citizens (2012 est.) are of Romanian descent, and the two countries share a common cultural heritage. The official language is Moldovan. The city of Chişinău is Moldova's capital.
Moldova celebrates its national day on 27 August.
Moldova is a republic with a President (Nicolae Timofti) as its Head of State and a Prime Minister (Vladimir Filat) as its Head of Government. Its Parliament is unicameral, comprising 101 seats, to which members are elected from party lists on a proportional representation basis. The President is directly elected by Parliament for a four-year term. The President, in turn, appoints the Prime Minister with the approval of Parliament.
Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 27 August 1991.
Moldova has actively participated in the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy. In February 2012, the EU launched Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Moldova.
Moldova is a member of the Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development, an initiative for co-operation between pro-Western former Soviet Union states (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova). Its headquarters are in Ukraine.
Transnistria (Transdniestr) dispute
In September 1990 (that is, before Moldova's independence from the Soviet Union), Transnistria, the area east of the Dniester river, declared itself an independent state. This eventually led to a brief civil war in early 1992. A ceasefire agreement was later signed in July 1992. Transnistrian separatists established their own administration and Russia deployed peacekeeping troops into the region, which remain there. The region has been under Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) supervision since 1993. A Memorandum of Understanding guaranteeing a degree of autonomy for the region was signed in 1997.
Chişinău offers a large degree of autonomy, but Transnistria demands independence. Transnistria is internationally recognised as part of Moldova, but Chişinău does not exercise control over the territory. In February 2011, OSCE-led negotiations between Moldova and Transnistria recommenced after a six-year hiatus. These negotiations are ongoing.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe with significant foreign debt and high unemployment. The economy is based on agriculture, including horticulture, viticulture and tobacco production. The country does not have any significant known mineral deposits and relies heavily on Russian energy.
Economic reform measures have included: the introduction of a stable convertible currency and real interest rates; the end of price fixing and export controls; the privatisation of land; and the eradication of preferential deals for inefficient state-owned enterprises. The continuing reliance on agriculture, however, means that Moldova's economy is extremely vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in international markets.
After two years of strong growth (about seven per cent), Moldova has experienced a dramatic slowdown—its real GDP growth is 0.3 per cent (2012 est.).
Australia's Ambassador in Moscow is accredited to Moldova. Moldova has no resident representation in Australia.
Bilateral economic and trade relationship
Australia's trade and investment relationship with Moldova is currently very small. Total two-way merchandise trade in 2011–12 was A$1.06 million.
Updated May 2013