Moldova & the EU

EU - Moldova relations: basic facts

  • The EU and Moldova started negotiations on an EU-Moldova Association Agreement in Chisinau on 12 January 2010. The new agreement will be an innovative and ambitious document going beyond the established framework of cooperation and opening a new stage in their relations, notably by enhancing political dialogue and deepening sectoral cooperation. The Association Agreement replaces the EU-Moldova Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which entered into force in July 1998 and sets at present the framework for EU-Moldova relations.
  • The EU and Moldova intend to establish a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), when the relevant conditions are met and expressed their commitment to make progress in line with the agreed set of steps towards that objective.
  • Moldova is a priority partner country within the Eastern Partnership.
  • Moldova is a partner country within the Black Sea Synergy.
  • A joint ENP Action Plan was adopted in February 2005 by the EU-Moldova Cooperation Council. This Action Plan still serves as a tool for supporting Moldova's own programme of democratic and economic reform.
  • The EC assistance focuses on the reform priorities agreed in the ENP Action Plan. It increased over the years substantially and has reached about € 70 million will get to a € 100 million annually until 2013.

Moldova became member of the Energy Community providing for better energy security in the region.

How does the EU support reforms in Moldova?

The objectives are to strengthen the democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as promoting economic reform and improving living conditions.

Furthermore, the EU supports efforts to achieve a lasting resolution of the Transnistria problem. Other priorities for relations with Moldova include strengthening of institutions, reforming the judiciary, improving the business climate, ensuring respect for freedom of expression and media, improving health and social conditions and cooperating on issues such as border management, migration and the fight against trafficking, organised crime, corruption and money laundering.

Examples of how the EU is supporting the reform process in Moldova include:

  • Helping to build capacity in the Moldovan public administration and supporting the strengthening of public financial management systems in line with EU best practice.
  • Helping the poor segments of the Moldovan population to cope with the increases in gas prices, through the provision of budgetary support helping the government to strengthen social compensation schemes.
  • Helping to restructure and upgrade the water sector that more people get access to clean drinking water.
  • Through joint programmes with the Council of Europe to improve the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and respect for human rights in Moldova.
  • Trade access to the European market through the generous Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATP) scheme, which means that the EU lifts trade tariffs for all Moldovan products except those clearly specified in the ATP regulation, for which only a quota is tariff-free. The EU is also providing technical support for improvements to health and phyto-sanitary systems which would allow Moldovan food products access to the EU market.
  • Agreements on visa facilitation and readmission that facilitate visa procedures, whilst at the same time fight illegal migration are in force since 1 January 2008. MS agreed to strive to set up in 2010 a dialogue examining the conditions for visa-free travel of Moldovan citizens to the EU as a long-term goal, taking into account the EU Global Approach to Migration and keeping in mind that gradual steps towards full visa liberalisation would be taken provided that conditions for well-managed and secure mobility were in place.

Moldova benefits from a mobility partnership as one of the two pilot countries in the world. The mobility partnership offers a political framework for cooperation between the Union and third countries in the field of migration, and include items of relevance for both the EU and interested third countries. Three major dimensions of the Global Approach – legal migration, migration and development, and fighting against illegal migration – are joined in one, coherent policy framework. The pilot Mobility Partnership with the Republic of Moldova is the best example of such well-balanced framework.

  • Through an EU Border Assistance Mission which is helping to ensure transparent management of the Moldova-Ukraine border, improving customs service, making the border more secure and increasing revenue.
  • Helping to address human rights issue through a formally established human rights dialogue.

EU Assistance to the Republic of Moldova – A snapshot

 Ever closer relations… 

The recent years have been marked by a steady reinforcement of relations between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova.

The negotiations on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area have proceeded swiftly. The Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November provides a great opportunity to move forward to a close association between Moldova and the EU.

On mobility, very good progress has been made. More than ten assessment missions were conducted in spring 2013 in the framework of our Visa Dialogue. And a second phase assessment report is expected for June. In the meantime, amendments to the Visa Facilitation Agreement will make it easier for Moldovan citizens to travel to the Schengen Area before the goal of visa free travel is achieved.

The EU stands ready to walk together in a path of ever closer relations. Expressions of this commitment have been repeatedly marked by high level visits, both from EU Member States and the EU institutions, including President Barroso, High representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fuele who recently took part in the Europe Day celebrations on 18 May in Chisinau, which were also held for the first time in Tiraspol on 26 May.

… Marked by increasing assistance

The EU bilateral assistance to Moldova has been sharply increased in the last years showing one of the highest per capita assistance rate in the region.

As illustrated below, commitments have continued to grow over the past years, and notably since 2010. Moldova has also been granted significant allocations from the Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation Programme (EaPIC) in the framework of  the more for more principle of the EU's revised neighbourhood policy.



















Committed (million Euro)










Overall, the European Union has affirmed itself as one of the major donors to the Republic of Moldova. According to recent statistics, as of 1st of April 2013, 246 projects are being implemented in Moldova under external assistance, 84 of which being funded by the European Union.

Major highlights

Assistance provided by the EU, under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), is based on a mutually agreed National Indicative Programme s  covering the periods 2007-2010 and 2011-2013.  

The Comprehensive Institution Building programme (€41.16 million) provides direct support to a number of core institutions that are central in preparing the ground for and implementing the future EU-Moldova Agreement.. This support includes a wide range of instruments: "twinnings" TAIEX and Sigma projects, technical assistance and equipments which promote good governance and increased integrity and accountability of Moldovan public institutions towards citizens -while preparing the ground for progressive harmonization with European standards and best practices.  

Assistance has been in particular channeled through the EU High Level Advisers project which allows for 15 top level advisers from different EU countries to work on a daily basis with their Moldovan counterparts and share their experience of similar reform processes implemented in their respective countries.

An other major instrument for providing assistance is the so-called Sector Policy Support Programme which provides direct financial assistance to the State's treasury ("Budget Support") based on an intensive policy dialogue. In addition to financial support, the EU provides technical advice whereas the public authorities keep ownership on the reforms to be implemented.

The most recent examples of such endeavors include:

  • In 2010, Policy Support Programme for Economic Stimulation of Rural Areas with a budget (€59 million) which is contributing to the sustainable economic development of rural areas in the Republic of Moldova;
  • In 2011, Policy Support Programme for the Reform of the Energy Sector in Moldova (€42.6 million) which aims at helping Moldova to achieve the objectives of the Energy Strategy Energy Strategy, with special focus on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan (which includes promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy).

This programme is flanked by the Energy & Biomass Project thanks to which modern biomass heating systems have been installed in 139 schools, kindergartens, community centres and Village Halls. The new heating systems have already led to the creation of more than 250 new jobs, as well as to the launch of tens of new businesses producing biomass fuel in the form of pellets and briquettes.

  • In 2012 a Policy Support Programme to the Justice Sector reforms (€60 million). The main objective of this initiative is to support the Moldovan Government in implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy and corresponding Action Plan to build an accessible, efficient, independent, transparent, professional justice sector, with high public accountability and consistent with European standards, to ensure the rule of law and protection of human rights.
  •  In 2013, additional operations are under considerations, notably in the field of Vocational Education Training and in support to Implementation of Visa Liberalization Action Plan.

As an observer in the "5+2 talks", the European Union is directly involved in the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. The EU also actively contributes to the rapprochement between both banks of the Nistru/Dnister river through its Confidence BuildingMeasures Programme which foster economic, social and technical cooperation on the ground. Since 2010, no less than 83 projects have been implemented under this umbrella, which include for instance the development of joint business visit to boost trade and economic ties across the river, the renovation of the perinatal centre in Tiraspol in cooperation with Moldovan medical specialists, as well the refurbishment of hospitals, schools,  dormitories, sport halls etc. located in the Security zone and which directly benefit to citizens living on both banks of the river.

Last but not least, the European Union actively supports Civil Society organizations and Local Public Authorities through numerous grants programmes (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Non-State-Actors and Local Authorities, Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility etc.) which enable citizens who wish to contribute to their national and local development policy to build sustainable initiatives in Chisinau and in the regions.

EU bilateral assistance to the Republic of Moldova


Annual Action Programme 2007

Committed (million Euro)



Improving border control and surveillance capacity in the Republic of Moldova (EUBAM-flanking support)


Assistance to the reform in Moldavian social assistance sector


Support to civil society in Transnistria


Technical Assistance & Twinnings in support to Action Plan



Annual Action Programme 2008

Committed (million Euro)



Health Sector Policy Support Programme


Justice, Liberties and Security – Improving border and migration managements in the Republic of Moldova


Technical Assistance and Twinning in support to the implementation of the EU-MD Action Plan



Annual Action Programme 2009

Committed (million Euro)



Sector Policy Support Programme in the Water sector


Technical assistance & twinning in support of the implementation of the EU-Republic of Moldova Action Plan


Republic of Moldova - Democracy support and confidence-building measures (Instrument for Stability)



Annual Action Programme 2010

Committed (million Euro)



Support to the use of biomass for energy


Support to Economic Stimulation in Rural Areas


Support to implementation of priority actions agreed between the Republic of Moldova and the EU through Twinning, technical assistance and project preparation activities



Annual Action Programme 2011

Committed (million Euro)



Support to the Reform of the Energy Sector in Moldova


Confidence Building Measures


Framework Programme in support of EU-Republic of Moldova agreements


Support to the Justice Sector Policy Reforms in Moldova



Annual Action Programme 2012

Committed (million Euro)



Pilot Regional Development Programmes


Support for the vocational education and training sector


Sector budget support to the Justice Sector Reforms


Framework Programme in support of the current and new agreements between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova


Scale-up of Health Sector Policy Support Programme (through EaPIC programme)


Scale-up of Economic Stimulation in Rural Area (through EaPIC programme)


Scale-up of Justice Sector Reform sector budget support (through EaPIC programme)



Annual Action Programmes 2007-2012

Total Committed (million Euro)




Annual Action Programme 2013

(under preparation)

Planned Committed (million Euro)



Support to the implementation of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Strategy of Moldova


Confidence Building Measures


Framework Programme in support of EU – Republic of Moldova agreements


Support to Implementation of Visa Liberalisation Action Plan