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, His Excellency Nicolae Timofti as its Head of State and a His Excellency Prime Minister,Vladimir Filat, as its Head of Government. The parliament is unicameral, comprising 101 seats, to which members are elected from party lists on a proportional representation basis. The President is 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 a number of international organisations including the United Nations, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organisation (WTO). Moldova is also a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the EU’s Eastern Partnership along with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and 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.
The Memorandum of Understanding 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, of about seven per cent, Moldova experienced a dramatic slowdown in 2012 when its real GDP declined by -0.8per cent. However, the economy is forecast to recover slightly in 2013 with real GDP growth of 4.0 per cent.
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 2012 was A$2.1 million. Australia’s merchandise exports to Moldova were valued at A$189,000 in 2012 and included medical instruments (including veterinary), pumps (excluding liquid pumps) and parts, heating and cooling equipment and parts and vehicle parts and accessories. Merchandise imports from Moldova were valued at A$1.9 million in 2012 and included iron and steel bars and rods, clothing, footwear and alcoholic beverages.
Updated July 2013