The United States is a strong supporter of Moldova’s future in Europe, and its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Since the United States recognized Moldova’s independence in 1991, we have been working together to build a strong and constructive partnership focused on democratic values and economic development. In Chisinau, Secretary Kerry will meet with senior Moldovan officials to discuss both bilateral issues and ways in which the United States can continue to support Moldova’s sustained progress towards European integration.
From its first pluralistic elections in 1994 until today, Moldova has successfully transitioned to a stable parliamentary democracy. The next round of elections for Moldova’s 101 seat parliament will be held in late 2014. The United States has worked closely with Moldova to sustain and develop its democracy, including providing in $6.2 million in 2013 to promote a strong, vibrant civil society, as well as to increase political participation, and to strengthen local governance and decentralization.
With a GDP of $7.25 billion, Moldova has the smallest economy in Europe. As a consumption-based economy with developing agricultural and industrial sectors, Moldova depends upon the $1.5 billion (approximately 20 percent of the GDP) in remittances sent from its citizens working abroad. After a slight contraction in 2012, Moldova’s economy is expected to achieve 4.4 percent growth in 2013.
In support of Moldova's economic growth, the United States is working to strengthen core Moldovan export-oriented industries, including wine, information communication technology, high-value agriculture, fashion, tourism, and home furnishings, and is supporting policy-level and regulatory reform to improve the business environment and attract increased investment. In 2013, the United States provided $6.4 million in support of these activities. In addition, Moldova signed a five-year, $262 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact in 2010 which is rebuilding 93 kilometers of road in northern Moldova, providing the country with a modern transportation corridor. The compact is also helping Moldova make the transition to high-value agriculture through strengthening agribusiness sector capacity and supporting irrigation projects on the Prut and Nistru rivers.
Looking ahead, Moldova’s integration with the EU will lead the way to greater economic prosperity. Moldova’s engagement with the EU began in 1994 with the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and has culminated with the historic initialing of an Association Agreement (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 29. Today, the nations of the EU have collectively become Moldova’s largest trading partner, accounting for approximately 54 percent of Moldova’s exports. The EU has indicated that Moldova will be able to sign the AA and DCFTA in 2014 which will lead to more growth in Moldova’s exports to the EU. The EU has also been positive about Moldova obtaining a liberalized visa regime in 2014, which would allow its citizens to travel visa-free to the EU.
Over the last 20 years, U.S. assistance to Moldova has totaled more than $1.1 billion. Recognizing that fighting corruption is central to improving Moldova’s business climate, as well as locking in its European future, the United States spent more than $4.5 million in 2013 on programs to strengthen the rule of law. These funds help strengthen judicial administration, increase the skills of judges and prosecutors, and support civil society advocacy and public awareness campaigns about justice sector reforms and legislation.
To ensure the integrity of Moldova’s borders, and help meet EU visa liberalization requirements, as well as strengthen Moldova’s law enforcement capabilities, the United States spent $4.4 million this year on various programs to enhance Moldova’s capacity to combat transnational crime, particularly trafficking in persons, cybercrime and the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. These programs have also worked to improve Moldova’s export controls, as well as increase the capacity of Moldova’s customs and border security services in line with EU standards.
Moldova has been a reliable partner in promoting global security. Since declaring independence in 1991, Moldova has participated in UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan and Georgia.
The United States remains committed to the 5+2 negotiations process as a means to resolving the Transnistria conflict. The United States supports a comprehensive settlement that affirms Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while providing a special status for Transnistria.