Moldova country brief

Overview

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 (2016 est.) are of Romanian descent, and the two countries share a common cultural heritage. The city of Chişinău is Moldova's capital.

Moldova celebrates its national day on 27 August.

Political overview

Moldova is a republic, whose Head of State is President Igor Dodon. He was elected in November 2016, the first time in 16 years that the Head of State was chosen by popular election rather than by parliament. The Head of Government is Prime Minister, Pavel Filip, who secured a majority in Parliament on 20 January 2016. The last parliamentary elections were held on 30 November 2014.

Moldova has actively participated in the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy. In July 2016, the Moldova-European Union Association Agreement entered into force. The Agreement seeks to deepen political, economic and trade relations. In April 2014, the EU lifted visa restrictions on Moldova, allowing its citizens to travel freely throughout the EU Schengen passport-free area.

Moldova is a member of a number of international organisations including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Moldova is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the EU’s Eastern Partnership along with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine.

Transnistria (Transdniestr) dispute

Transnistria is internationally recognised as part of Moldova, but Chişinău does not exercise control over the territory. Transnistria declared itself independent in September 1990 (before Moldova’s declaration of independence). This led to a brief civil war in early 1992, followed by a ceasefire agreement in July 1992. Separatists in Transnistria established their own administration and Russia deployed peacekeeping troops, which remain. The region has been under OSCE supervision since 1993. The EU has restrictive measures in place against the leadership of Transnistria, and funds a border monitoring mission designed to prevent illegal smuggling activities.

A Memorandum of Understanding guaranteeing a degree of autonomy for the region was signed in 1997. OSCE-led negotiations between Moldova and Transnistria recommenced in February 2011, after a six-year hiatus and are ongoing.

Economic overview

Moldova has one of the smallest economies in Europe with significant foreign debt and high unemployment.
Moldova’s economy is based on agriculture, including horticulture, wine and tobacco production. The country does not have any significant known mineral deposits and relies heavily on Russian energy.

Moldova has undertaken some market-oriented measures, including the introduction of a stable convertible currency, real interest rates, an end to price fixing and export controls, the privatisation of land, and the eradication of preferential deals for inefficient state-owned enterprises. Its reliance on agriculture means that Moldova's economy is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in international markets.

Moldova’s economic growth in recent years has been mixed. It experienced strong growth in 2010 and 2011 (about 7 per cent), followed by a slowdown in 2012. In 2015 the economy contracted by an estimated -0.4 per cent in 2015, but is estimated to have grown by around 4 per cent in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Bilateral relationship

Moldova has no diplomatic representation in Australia. Australia's Ambassador in Moscow is accredited to Moldova.

The 2016 census recorded 736 people in Australia who claim ancestry from Moldova.

Australia's trade and investment relationship with Moldova is modest. Total two-way merchandise trade in 2016-17 was $1.75 million. Australia’s merchandise exports to Moldova were valued at $0.15 million in 2016-17 and included paper and paperboards, and worn clothing and rags. Merchandise imports from Moldova were valued at $1.6 million in 2014 and included fruit and nuts, clothing accessories and travel goods.

Last updated: May 2018

Last Updated: 9 February 2016