Moldova Government - History

Moldova Government - History


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MOLDOVA

Moldova is an emerging democracy. The President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The country has a unicameral legislature and judiciary.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT
PresidentVoronin, Vladimir
Speaker of the ParliamentOstapciuc, Eugenia
Prime MinisterTarlev, Vasile
First Dep. Prime Min.Iovv, Vasile
Dep. Prime Min.Odagiu, Stefan
Dep. Prime Min.Cristea, Valerian
Dep. Prime Min.Todoroglo, Dmitrii
Min. of Agriculture & Food IndustryTodoroglo, Dmitrii
Min. of CabinetPetrache, Mihai
Min. of CultureMadan, Veaceslav
Min. of DefenseGaiciuc, Victor
Min. of Economy & ReformOdagiu, Stefan
Min. of EducationSima, Gheorghe
Min. of EnergyLesanu, Ion
Min. of Environment, Construction, & Territory Dev.Duca, Gheorghe
Min. of FinanceGreciani, Zinaida
Min. of Foreign AffairsDudau, Nicolae
Min. of HealthGherman, Andrei
Min. of IndustryGarstea, Mihail
Min. of InteriorPapuc, Gheorghe
Min. of Internal AffairsTurcan, Vladimir
Min. of JusticeMorei, Ion
Min. of Labor & Social ProtectionRevenco, Valerian
Min. of ReintegrationSova, Vasile
Min. of Transportation & CommunicationsZgardan, Vasile
Dir., Intelligence & Security Service (ISS)Ursu, Ion
Prosecutor GeneralIuga, Mircea
Pres., National BankTalmaci, Leonid
Secretary of National SecurityPlamadeala, Mihai
Ambassador to the USManoli, Mihai
Permanent Representative to the UN, New YorkBotnaru, Ion


Causes of Poverty in Moldova

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Its gross domestic product per capita stands at only $5,200. Around 20 percent of Moldova’s 3.5 million people are poor. There are several causes of poverty in Moldova. Here are a few:

Limited agricultural investment
Poverty is more common among farming families. The country’s history can partly explain why this is.

When Moldova gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the government divided a lot of agricultural land into plots too small to be commercially viable. The small size of the plots–most under 2.5 hectares–meant farmers had to depend on manual labor instead of large, advanced machinery and technology. This led to inefficiencies and poor yields compared to the land’s potential.

Rural Moldovans continue to lack access to new technology, agricultural support services and financial services, which shackles them to a life of subsistence farming. With extension services, they could better contribute to agriculture’s share of Moldova’s GDP, which is around 14 percent.

Trade restrictions
A lack of agricultural investment is not the only cause of poverty in Moldova. Sometimes, families, businesses and entrepreneurs have goods, but they do not have reliable buyers.

Countries that Moldova would usually trade with have imposed strict sanctions or all-out bans on products from the small nation. Russia has repeatedly rejected Moldovan goods, such as wine, fruit and vegetables, by stating they do not meet its high quality standards.

This closed market took a toll on the Moldovan economy, which in turn trickles down to negatively affect citizens. Before the embargo in 2014, 90 percent of Moldova’s apples went to Russia. Now they are sent to other countries that buy them at lower prices.

Government corruption
Corrupt oligarchs and politicians rob citizens of money. In 2015, $1 billion — or about one-eighth of the country’s GDP — was stolen from the country’s three largest banks. Around 40 people, including a former prime minister, either helped or benefited from the massive theft.

The capital city’s mayor, the transportation minister, the agriculture minister, the deputy economic minister, the environmental minister and other public officials face corruption or embezzlement accusations. The many officials facing these charges do not appear to have the general public’s best interest in mind.

Corruption in Moldova makes it difficult for people to succeed in business. Around 30 percent of all companies reported that public authorities requested bribes at least once per year to pass inspections, get permits, obtain utilities access or secure an operating license. The cost of electricity in the country is nearly double the price in the rest of the region, according to the GAN Business Anti-Corruption Portal. These oppressive practices stifle Moldova’s business environment and rank among the causes of poverty in Moldova.

Weak social systems
UNICEF reports that Moldova has a social protection system that comprises 15 benefits and services. But just one of these benefits is for the poor. Furthermore, money earmarked for the poor does not always end up in the right hands. A state report found that 17 percent of social assistance is used inefficiently and goes to families with high incomes.

Adding pressure to government financial resources is an aging population. Low wages, limited educational opportunities and poor job prospects push young Moldovans to leave their home country. Moreover, the birth rate is too low to replenish the population that is lost.

These factors create a disproportionate number of elderly people in the population. The high proportion of the country’s elderly is putting pressure on the country’s pension system.

The government is considering increasing the retirement age to lessen its financial burden, but there are not a lot of jobs for people to get. The labor participation rate was a mere 42 percent in 2016.

Causes of poverty in Moldova include limited agricultural investments, trade restrictions, government corruption and a weak social system. But, the government of Moldova is committed to helping alleviate poverty.

The government works with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to create microfinance opportunities for farmers, which supports agricultural investment and can increase farmers’ returns. IFAD has also invested in agro-processing to ensure farmers prepare their goods for domestic and international markets.

Moldova is also making progress in regards to corruption. Parliament passed a new law on prosecution in 2016. It helps in the fight against corruption by strengthening prosecutor independence and doubling salaries, so prosecutors are less prone to accept bribes.

More evidence of the government’s goal to reduce poverty is its “Moldova 2020” National Development Strategy. The strategy details how reforming the pension system and developing the labor market will contribute to poverty rate reduction.

As the above examples demonstrate, leaders have set their sights on fixing the underlying causes of poverty in Moldova.


Basics of Moldovan Cuisine

Well, Moldovan cuisine is a very interesting mix of cuisines from eastern and western countries as these countries have influenced Moldova through the history. The majority of their traditional food is based on European food like different types of meat, cereal, cabbage, potatoes and so on. Moldova is located on a very fertile soil which means they can produce their high-quality food including all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products and grains. Their traditional cuisine is very similar to Romanian but differs in details because of influences from Europe and Russia. Moldovan cuisine is based on vegetables and they are focusing a lot on eating healthy, so it’s not a strange thing that the majority of their traditional food combines vegetables such as peppers, cabbage, onions, garlic and tomatoes.

They consume meat too, but not in the same amount of vegetables, so meat-based dishes are usually served as appetizers. The traditional dishes mainly depend on the area you’re visiting as there is huge difference in food between areas. For example, Eastern part which is influenced by Ukrainians consumes mostly variations of sour soups while southern areas base their cuisine more on meat. Moldova is a small country and if you have one week to stay there, you can easily travel through different areas and try the various cuisine.

#1 Sarmale

I If you ever visit Moldova, it would be a sin not to try their Sarmale . It’s traditional Moldovan food that is serving in the country for the centuries. Sarmale is usually made from few ingredients including rice, meat and vegetable mixture which is then carefully rolled in the cabbage leaves and served in a variety of soups. That dish is also popular in many East European countries, which means there are many variations of it.

The most usual and traditional Sarmale is made from rice and minced meat combined with vegetables like carrots and peppers. Once they make a solid mixture of these ingredients, it’s time to fill the cabbage leaves with it. The cooking process is prolonged and it takes around few hours to be prepared. In Moldova, they are serving Sarmale with sour cream so you can dip it for extraordinary taste. No matter where are you from and what’s your traditional cuisine, you will simply fall in love with this tasteful dish.

#2 Zeama

If you’re a soup lover then you will enjoy your stay in Moldova as they love to prepare different types of soups. Zeama is their traditional soup they’re eating through the year mainly as a main dish. Zeama is a great choice as a main dish as it’s very light, but at the same time combines many tastes that go well together. The base of the soup is a chicken meat, specifically broth, noodles and all kind of vegetables. Like the most of the Moldovan traditional food, Zeama isn’t different when it comes to the variety of ingredients.

They usually put pepper, salt and other spices for extraordinary taste and vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes and another seasoning. There is much variety of this traditional dish, but you will see that one thing is the same in every region of Moldova – they are serving Zeama with lots of bread and sour cream.

#3 Mamaliga

Mamaliga is Moldovan version of cornbread that was eaten by the poor class during the history. Right now, this dish becomes traditional and people around the world love to taste it, so even the high-end restaurants placed this delicious dish into their offer. The dish itself is easily made by using only a few ingredients including cornmeal, water and salt. Depending on your taste, it can be prepared in two ways – thicker or softer mamaliga.

The dish will never be served alone as it perfectly goes along with other food like traditional cheese, fish and even meat. Many restaurants give onions, garlic and sour cream on the side and it’s up to you to pick other sides that go well with Mamaliga. Many travelers agree to locals when trying mamaliga for the first time regarding ingredients. You should definitely eat mamaliga with brinza (Traditional Moldovan cheese), fresh fish, sour cream and garlic with onions. That combination will give you the perfect taste of Moldovan food.

#4 Placinta

Placinta is Moldovan traditional on-the-go dish that is widely available in the country. Placinta is a fried bread that can go well with additional fillings like brinza, potatoes or some fruits. Depending on the season you’re visiting, there will be different fillings, so if you’re visiting in summer season then you can expect placinta with cherries and pumpkin placinta in the fall.

You can literally find this favorite dish on every corner in Moldova, but the thing is that majority of these places won’t serve a perfect placinta as it won’t have enough filling inside. The best bet to try the ideal placinta on Moldovan way is to check villages around towns where locals are preparing this dish with the right amount of filling and on the traditional way.


Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1992 .

Diplomatic relations were established when President George H.W. Bush and Moldovan President Mircea Snegur agreed to do so during a February 18, 1992 meeting at the White House. The Bush administration confirmed February 18 as the date relations were established in a statement issued the next day.

Establishment of the American Embassy in Chisinau, 1992 .

The American Embassy in Chisinau was established on March 13, 1992, with Howard Steers as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim .


Moldova — History and Culture

As with many newly-independent countries, Moldova has a long history and fascinating culture which are a source of real pride for its people. The country is still struggling to rid itself of remnants of the Soviet era and to evolve with modern Europe while retaining its traditional values and unique identity.

History

As with the rest of the Balkan region, Moldova has a history that stretches back to the original Neolithic settlers of the vast area between Ukraine’s Dniester River and beyond Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the Romans arrived and departed several times, and numerous invasions of Goths, Avars, Huns, Bulgarians, Magyars, Mongols, and Tartars took place up until the early Middle Ages. The Principality of Moldavia was established in the mid-14th century, bound by the Black Sea and the River Danube in the south, the Carpathian Mountains in the west and the River Dneister to the east.

Crimean Tartars continued their invasions until the 15th century arrival of Ottoman forces and by 1538, the country was a tributary state of the Ottoman Empire while retaining internal autonomy. The Treaty of Bucharest in 1812 saw the Ottoman Empire cede the eastern region of the principality to Russia and its renaming to the Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia. The Oblast was initially granted a great degree of autonomy, but between 1828 and 1871, the region saw more and more restrictions as Russification took over.

The 19th century saw Russian-encouraged colonization by Cossacks, Ukrainians and other nationals and just before WWI, thousands of citizens were drafted into the Russian Army. The 1917 Russian Revolution saw the creation of the Moldavian Democratic Republic as part of a federal Russian state, but a year later, a combination of the Romanian and French armies saw independence proclaimed and Moldova united with Romania. Newly communist Russia rejected the changes, seizing power again by 1924 and forming the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, recognized by Nazi Germany in 1930.

By 1941, the Axis invasions resulted in cooperation with the Germans, including the extermination or deportation of almost a million Jewish residents and the drafting of over 250,000 Moldovans into the Soviet Army. The Stalin period from 1940 saw massive deportations of Moldovan nationals, severe persecution, and forced migration of Russians to urban areas. After Stalin’s death, patriot leaders were imprisoned or murdered. The Russian Glasnost and Perestroika movements of the 1980s saw a rise in Moldovan nationalistic fervor, resulting in demands for independence, a mass rally in Chisinau in 1989, and continuing riots.

By 1990, democratic elections were underway, and a Declaration of Sovereignty was signed. Despite an attempted Soviet coup in 1991, Moldova finally declared its independence and a year later was recognized by the United Nations. Although the Communist Party has struggled to retain its hold over the country, Moldova is governed by a coalition of Democratic and Liberal parties. Communism is still the leading influence in the breakaway region of Transnistria.

Culture

Moldova’s rich culture goes back to Roman times, with the ancient overlay colored by Byzantine, Magyar, Serbian, Ottoman, Russian, and Soviet influences. From the 19th century onwards, European and French elements were added, forming a varied, lively and resilient lifestyle expressed in traditions, festivals, the arts, music, dance, and literature. Elements of folk culture, such as wood carving and embroidery, are shared with other Balkan countries, but many aspects, such as pottery decoration and the 2,000-year old Doina lyrical songs, are unique to Moldova.

The country’s folk traditions and costumes are highly valued at a national level, and preserved in the capital’s museums, its Republic Dance Company and its choir, Doina, as well as forming part of every Moldovan celebration. The Colinda Christmas tradition of masked and costumed singers, musicians and dancers going from door to door to give performances and receive gifts bears a resemblance to the Christian tradition of carolling, but is rooted in pre-Christian pagan practices.

Wine is deeply rooted in Moldovan culture, with the vineyards some of the oldest in the world, known and appreciated by the Romans and a major source of export revenue during the Middle Ages. The Moldovan Roma community has contributed to the field of music, although it is still regarded as a disadvantaged group. Most traditional cultural events relate to agriculture, religion, folklore, or mythology, and are celebrated with joy and feasting.


People of the World, Stop Looking at Moldova!

CHISINAU, Moldova—“Some people follow politics daily. I’m not one of them,” said Lilya, a 52-year-old cleaner who declined to give her surname, outside a polling station in Moldova’s capital. “But I feel politics in my pocket. I can only just afford food and rent.”

This was the weary perspective of many, if not most, voters in the Feb. 24 parliamentary elections in Moldova. It makes for quite a contrast with the perspective encouraged by foreigners—and by many of Moldova’s own politicians. Foreigners were keenly focused on this unassuming corner of Eastern Europe as the latest stage for the rivalry between the West and Russia. As pro-Europe parties faced off against the pro-Russia Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), each side publicly promised it would secure a geopolitical edge for its preferred patron.

CHISINAU, Moldova—“Some people follow politics daily. I’m not one of them,” said Lilya, a 52-year-old cleaner who declined to give her surname, outside a polling station in Moldova’s capital. “But I feel politics in my pocket. I can only just afford food and rent.”

This was the weary perspective of many, if not most, voters in the Feb. 24 parliamentary elections in Moldova. It makes for quite a contrast with the perspective encouraged by foreigners—and by many of Moldova’s own politicians. Foreigners were keenly focused on this unassuming corner of Eastern Europe as the latest stage for the rivalry between the West and Russia. As pro-Europe parties faced off against the pro-Russia Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), each side publicly promised it would secure a geopolitical edge for its preferred patron.

For Moldovan voters, however, geopolitics were a marginal concern. A poll by the International Republican Institute, taken ahead of the vote, found that 49 percent of Moldovans said they would vote based on their concerns about corruption. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe declared the contest competitive, though marred by possible vote buying and misuse of state resources. (The race also saw the removal of 200 accounts by Facebook, mercury poisoning allegations, and the mysterious mass transportation of voters from the Russian-backed breakaway territory of Transnistria.)

Meanwhile, the 49 percent turnout was the country’s lowest since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Those who did vote failed to reach any consensus. The nominally pro-Europe ruling Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) came third with 24 percent of the vote, beaten by the opposition ACUM bloc (27 percent) and the PSRM, which took 31 percent. No party will be able to govern alone now comes the messy task of coalition building. If that fails, according to President Igor Dodon of the PSRM at a press conference attended by Foreign Policy the day after the vote, the country could hold snap parliamentary elections.

Lilya said that while she voted for Dodon in the 2016 presidential election, she grew disillusioned with his pro-Russia party and switched to the pro-Europe and anti-corruption ACUM bloc instead. But in impoverished Moldova, the pro-Western forces aren’t uniformly identified with good governance or liberalism. Geopolitics has proved a distorted lens through which to understand the politics of a place like Moldova. It’s also one that local politicians have learned to exploit.

Not so long ago, Moldova was held up as the success story of the European Union’s eastern outreach in 2014, Brussels and Chisinau signed an association agreement, and Moldovan citizens won visa-free travel to the EU. Then things went south. Trust was badly damaged in 2015, when it emerged that between 2012 and 2014, $1 billion, around 12 percent of Moldova’s GDP, was siphoned out of the state budget via three banks. In 2016, former Prime Minister Vlad Filat was sentenced to nine years in jail for his role in that theft. Then, last July, the EU froze a more than $100 million aid package to Moldova’s self-described pro-European government after a Moldovan court annulled the results of Chisinau’s mayoral election, which was won by Andrei Nastase, a strident critic of the ruling government who is currently a leader of ACUM. By November 2018, the European Parliament had declared Moldova a “state captured by oligarchic interests,” and it had fallen to 117th place in the 180 countries surveyed for Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. A party led by and named after Ilan Shor, who was convicted of fraud in 2017 and was the chairman of the board of one of the three banks, even entered parliament in the recent elections with 8 percent of the vote.

Today, Vlad Plahotniuc, Filat’s erstwhile business rival and the country’s richest man, has taken over more than just the ruling PDM party. Plahotniuc is now widely regarded as the most powerful man in Moldova, with pervasive influence over government institutions. Plahotniuc and his party allies have gone to great lengths to present themselves to Western partners as the sole guarantors of Moldova’s pro-European trajectory. As Prime Minister Pavel Filip recently wrote for EurActiv, anything less than a victory for the PDM would mark a reversal for Moldova’s European future.

This self-presentation has frustrated Moldova’s other broadly pro-Europe forces, which have been seeking to prioritize anti-corruption efforts—including ones directed against the PDM. “Whether it’s about taking the country closer to Europe or Russia, the arguments that Moldovan elites sell in Brussels or Washington cannot be further from the truth,” said Vlad Kulminski, an analyst at the Institute for Strategic Initiatives, a Chisinau-based think tank. “They are interested in maintaining Moldova as a gray zone between Russia and the West. It’s about running a local fiefdom under the pretext of fighting a geopolitical battle, unaccountable to either Brussels or Moscow.”

It’s a pretext that pro-Europe and pro-Russia forces in the country seem to cooperate in maintaining. So when Dodon clashes with the parliament and constitutional court after another pro-Kremlin speech, he can’t make good on his rhetoric because his role is largely ceremonial. But Moldova’s PDM leaders can invoke that rhetoric to Western backers as an example of what the country would face if they lost power.

“Dodon and the [pro-Russia] Socialists only picked up fights with the [pro-Europe] democrats on secondary but very symbolic issues,” said Kulminski, stressing that the Socialist parliamentarians have supported less publicized but more consequential PDM initiatives, not least the new mixed electoral system by which last weekend’s elections were held.

PSRM deputy head Vlad Batrincea strongly denied that the Socialists carry water for the PDM, describing such suggestions as desperate attempts to smear his party’s high ratings. Batrincea insisted that the PSRM is the only party left untainted by the scandals of recent years, given its exclusion from successive pro-Europe coalition governments. “Everybody likes to talk geopolitics. But we’re not heading anywhere—not to Europe and not to Russia. Nobody will come and put our house in order unless we resolve our internal politics first,” Batrincea said. “Half our population looks towards Russia, the other half towards Europe. We have to base our foreign policy on ‘and’ rather than ‘either/or.’”

At the PDM party offices in central Chisinau, the ruling party’s deputy chairman, Vladimir Cebotari, dismissed recent EU criticism of democratic backsliding in Moldova, adding that his party had extended olive branches in all directions in the hope of cobbling together a government. “Since 2009, we’ve been the only party that ensured Moldova’s European integration was a nonreversible course. We were the only party that had the choice of forming coalitions with the left or the right, and we only did so with the pro-Europeans,” Cebotari said.

“We expelled Russian agents and Russian diplomats, and there have been many actions of harassment against our leaders from the Russian authorities,” continued Cebotari, who suggested that Moscow was partly responsible for Plahotniuc’s negative reputation in Moldovan society. “I’d recall that in some of our conversations with diplomats and ambassadors, they now recognize that we were right to take the steps we did. Moldova is on the front line, and this is an area of continuing geopolitical battles.”

Mihai Popsoi of the ACUM bloc believes that Plahotniuc, rather than Europe or Russia, was the biggest winner from last weekend’s elections. “The [pro-Russian] Socialists are the biggest losers because they’ve lost a lot of credibility due to their collaboration with him, which has catapulted the democrats to where they are now. The Socialists have no convincing answers. Their voters have woken up to the realization that it’s all a ploy,” Popsoi said.

Popsoi doesn’t doubt that, with the help of smaller parties and a handful of independent members of parliament, the PDM will eventually be able to form a majority. Others could join them, given that Moldova’s parliamentarians have an unusual knack for changing their allegiances en masse at the last minute. (In 2014, the PDM party won 19 MPs by the time this year’s elections were held, the party had 42.) “We’ll be in a kind of suspended animation. Relations with the EU aren’t likely to improve much, and the credibility of the regime is very low,” Popsoi said.

But the EU’s credibility has suffered among Moldovans, too. “Today, in the minds of Moldovans, democracy, rule of law, human rights, checks and balances, you name it, they’re almost swear words,” Kulminski said. “The fault doesn’t lie with the EU but with Moldovan politicians. They had a golden opportunity to build a functional democratic state, but everybody who got to the top positions of power found a ready-made money-making machine. Nobody had the statesmanship to say, ‘No, I’m going to destroy this machine rather than use it for my own purposes.’”

Cornel Ciurea, a political scientist close to the PDM, sees things very differently. For him, Brussels’s censuring of Moldovan governments does not show a concern for the rule of law but instead that the EU has forgotten the relevance of geopolitics in its backyard. “This moral stance is not very convincing when you see that such values are not applied consistently within the EU, which now has its own internal divisions,” Ciurea said. “So I think very pragmatically, the PDM could weather the criticism and wait for European elections.”

Few doubt that the Kremlin would like Moldova to return to its orbit and put aside its European ambitions, and many Moldovans might genuinely prefer that future (though there is no reason to suspect that future would bring any more accountable governance). Perhaps, wondered Balazs Jarabik, a specialist in Central and Eastern Europe at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the EU’s expectations for Moldova’s European integration were too high. “They needed more resources and more patience, none of which Brussels has in abundance these days,” he said.

With the race over, Chisinau is still festooned with posters bearing politicians’ faces and an array of bold promises. The Socialists’ bright red billboards are the most visible, with their white stars and the slogan “It’s logical!” The PDM’s posters, meanwhile, prefer to show jubilant voters rather than their leader. Another series of posters from a local protest movement urges Moldovans to “not vote for oligarchs,” alongside party leaders wearing dunce caps. One might wonder whether that leaves them with a lot of options.

Maxim Edwards is a journalist covering central and eastern Europe. He is a former editor at openDemocracy and a former assistant editor at OCCRP. @MaximEdwards


Executive Branch of Government

The executive branch consists of the president, prime minister, and cabinet of ministers. The president of Moldova acts as the head of state and ensures unity within the country. Between 1994 and 2000, the president was elected by the general public. Since 2000, however, the president has been selected by members of parliament through an indirect election. In March of 2016, the constitutional court ruled that this change to the electoral process was unconstitutional, and has once again established a two-round direct election. The presidency is carried out for a 4-year term with a 2-term limit. The prime minister of Moldova acts as the head of government and is appointed by the president to serve for 4 years. The prime minister is responsible for putting together the cabinet of ministers and works closely with each minister to ensure the executive functions are carried out according to regulations and legislation passed by the legislative branch of government. The cabinet of ministers is made up of 16 ministries. Ministries include: Culture, Finance, Justice, Youth and Sports, Environment, and Economy.


Summary

Updated information on restrictions in Moldova for public places and services ('Coronavirus' page). New information on demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status via a document when arriving to Moldova this will give you exemption from self-isolation ('Entry requirements' page)

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Moldova, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

COVID-19 entry restrictions for Moldova

Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Moldova’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.

If you are planning travel to Moldova, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO ’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.

Most visits to Moldova are trouble free. You should be alert to the possibility of protests and demonstrations. While these are generally peaceful, the situation could quickly change. If you are in Moldova, keep up to date with developments and take extra care. You should avoid large crowds, remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.

If you visit Transnistria you should be aware that the region is outside of the control of the Moldovan authorities, and the consular assistance the British Embassy can provide is severely limited. See Safety and security

The Moldovan authorities strictly enforce penalties (including deportation) against those who overstay. See Entry requirements

You should be vigilant to petty crime, particularly in Chisinau. Leave your passport, travel documents and other valuable items in a safe place, and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. See Crime

There are strong penalties for possession or use of drugs. Avoid taking photographs of military or government installations. See Local laws and customs

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Moldova, attacks cannot be ruled out. See Terrorism

The situation in Ukraine and other areas outside Donetsk and Luhansk is generally calm, including in the Odessa Oblast which borders Transnistria. However, events in Ukraine are fast moving and you are strongly advised to check the Ukraine travel advice

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.


Moldova Government - History

Economy - overview:
Despite recent progress, Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. With a moderate climate and productive farmland, Moldova's economy relies heavily on its agriculture sector, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, wheat, and tobacco. Moldova also depends on annual remittances of about $1.2 billion - almost 15% of GDP - from the roughly one million Moldovans working in Europe, Israel, Russia, and elsewhere.

With few natural energy resources, Moldova imports almost all of its energy supplies from Russia and Ukraine. Moldova's dependence on Russian energy is underscored by a more than $6 billion debt to Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom, largely the result of unreimbursed natural gas consumption in the breakaway region of Transnistria. Moldova and Romania inaugurated the Ungheni-Iasi natural gas interconnector project in August 2014. The 43-kilometer pipeline between Moldova and Romania, allows for both the import and export of natural gas. Several technical and regulatory delays kept gas from flowing into Moldova until March 2015. Romanian gas exports to Moldova are largely symbolic. In 2018, Moldova awarded a tender to Romanian Transgaz to construct a pipeline connecting Ungheni to Chisinau, bringing the gas to Moldovan population centers. Moldova also seeks to connect with the European power grid by 2022.

The government's stated goal of EU integration has resulted in some market-oriented progress. Moldova experienced better than expected economic growth in 2017, largely driven by increased consumption, increased revenue from agricultural exports, and improved tax collection. During fall 2014, Moldova signed an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU (AA/DCFTA), connecting Moldovan products to the world’s largest market. The EU AA/DCFTA has contributed to significant growth in Moldova’s exports to the EU. In 2017, the EU purchased over 65% of Moldova’s exports, a major change from 20 years previously when the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) received over 69% of Moldova’s exports. A $1 billion asset-stripping heist of Moldovan banks in late 2014 delivered a significant shock to the economy in 2015 the subsequent bank bailout increased inflationary pressures and contributed to the depreciation of the leu and a minor recession. Moldova’s growth has also been hampered by endemic corruption, which limits business growth and deters foreign investment, and Russian restrictions on imports of Moldova’s agricultural products. The government’s push to restore stability and implement meaningful reform led to the approval in 2016 of a $179 million three-year IMF program focused on improving the banking and fiscal environments, along with additional assistance programs from the EU, World Bank, and Romania. Moldova received two IMF tranches in 2017, totaling over $42.5 million.

Over the longer term, Moldova's economy remains vulnerable to corruption, political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, energy import dependence, Russian political and economic pressure, heavy dependence on agricultural exports, and unresolved separatism in Moldova's Transnistria region.

Agriculture - products:
vegetables, fruits, grapes, grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, tobacco beef, milk wine

Industries:
sugar processing, vegetable oil, food processing, agricultural machinery foundry equipment, refrigerators and freezers, washing machines hosiery, shoes, textiles

Budget:
revenues: 2.886 billion (2017 est.)
[see also: Budget - revenues country ranks ]
expenditures: 2.947 billion (2017 est.)
note: National Public Budget


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