The Commission published on 12 May 2010 the so-called neighbourhood package, consisting of an overall assessment of five years of implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), 12 country reports on developments in 2009, including one on Republic of Moldova1, and a sector report.
In 2009, EU-Moldova relations went through a serious test. Following elections in spring disputed in a highly controversial political environment, street riots were met with violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the law enforcement bodies. A new Government was created after elections in July. Moldova%u2019s efforts to effectively implement structural reforms, in line with the objectives of the Action Plan, and to counter the economic and financial crisis that hit the country hard in 2008, were significantly enhanced in the last quarter of 2009.
In 2010 further progress is needed to ensure implementation of the measures adopted in line with the EU-Moldova ENP Action Plan and, more specifically, to strengthen the mechanisms for preventing violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, further reform the judiciary and ensure the rule of law, ensure the neutrality of the public media and promote a pluralistic media environment, enhance the fight against trafficking in human beings, and improve matching labour market needs with skills development.
Negotiations on a future EU- Moldova Association Agreement (AA) were launched in January 2010.
Political dialogue and governance, including CFSP
-The EU and Moldova established a regular human rights dialogue in 2009.
-In April 2010 a new law on freedom of expression was adopted, providing criteria for identifying and combating censorship and external interference in the editorial policy of media, including intimidation of journalists or obstruction to their activities. The Criminal code was updated accordingly.
-The Council of Europe considers that Moldova has achieved good progress in fighting corruption. The country improved its ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.
-Moldova cooperates actively with the EU on regional and international issues, and aligned itself with nearly all EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) declarations open for alignment.
-Moldova cooperates with the EU on all questions related to the Transnistria settlement efforts, including in the work of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) and in confidence-building efforts.
Economic integration and trade
-With an average yearly income of only %u20AC 1100 per capita, Moldova is one of the poorest countries in the EU%u2019s neighbourhood. The country was hit hard by the global financial and economic crisis, and the GDP contracted by - 6.5% in 2009 (in sharp contrast with 7.2% growth in 2008).
-In January 2010 the International Monetary Fund approved three-year arrangements for Moldova of about %u20AC 410 million to help restore fiscal and external stability. During the Moldova Partnership Forum organised in March 2010 by the EU and the World Bank, more than 40 international donors, including the EU, pledged over %u20AC 1.96 billion to support the Government's plan "Rethink Moldova".
-The bilateral trade between UE and Moldova declined by 30% in 2009 from %u20AC 2.45 billion in 2008 owing to the economic crisis. The EU is Moldova%u2019s biggest trade partner (more than half of external trade in 2009).
-The feasibility study on deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU concludes that while it would bring long-lasting benefits for Moldova, it also requires careful preparation and regulatory approximation in trade-related areas.
Promoting mobility, fighting irregular migration
-A new law on asylum, largely in line with international and EU standards, entered into force in March 2009.
-In November 2009 Moldova and Romania concluded a local border traffic agreement (within a 50-km border strip) that came into force in February 2010.
-The EU and Moldova agreed in December 2009 to start up in 2010 a visa dialogue examining the necessary conditions for visa-free travel as a long-term goal.
Sector cooperation - examples
-Transport: Moldova is upgrading its road infrastructure (including with EU support) and adopting its regulatory framework in line with international standards. It signed a working arrangement with the European Aviation Safety Agency and is a potential candidate for participation in the Common Aviation Area to be gradually integrated into the EU internal aviation market.
-Energy: In December 2009 it was admitted to the Energy Community Treaty (which includes commitments for gradual convergence with the EU%u2019s internal energy market rules), subject to the adoption of missing parts of its energy legal framework (new gas and electricity laws were adopted in December).
-Research: Moldova has continued to increase the number of applications submitted to the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and has had particular success in the international cooperation and Marie Curie calls for proposals. It has requested association to FP7 and negotiations are to start shortly.
-Health: Moldova continued its reform with substantial budget support from the EU (%u20AC 46.6 million) and pursued the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
-Education: In 2007-2009, thanks to Erasmus Mundus grants, 211 Moldovan students and academics participated in exchange programmes with EU universities for up to three years.
EU-Moldova - BACKGROUND
The European Neighbourhood Policy governs the relations between the EU and the Republic of Moldova. In 2009 the EU launched the Eastern Partnership, the Eastern dimension of the ENP framework, aiming at substantially upgrading engagement with the six Eastern neighbours via:
-Bilateral track, whose objectives include Association Agreements, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas as well as progress on visa and mobility issues
-Multilateral track (i.e. intergovernmental platforms and Flagship Initiatives).
This approach allows for gradual political association and deeper economic integration.
FACTS AND FIGURES
1998: EU- Moldova Partnership and Cooperation Agreement entered into force.
2005: EU-Moldova Action Plan is approved
2008: Visa facilitation and readmission agreements entered into force. A pilot Mobility Partnership is signed to strengthen legal migration opportunities and to strengthen capacities for migration management and fighting illegal migration.
2008: The EU Autonomous Trade Preferences were granted
2008 and 2009: The EU%u2019s Civil Protection Mechanism (MIC) was mobilised to support Moldova in assessing the flooding of the Nistru (Dniester) and the Prut rivers, and in alleviating the consequences of the Ukraine/Russia gas crisis.
2007-2010 the ENPI2 envelope for Moldova stands at %u20AC 209.7 million, with an additional allocation of %u20AC 16.6 million through the Governance Facility
2011-2013: An indicative ENPI envelope of %u20AC 273.1 million announced by the Commission (an increase of nearly 75% on annual average)
2008-2009 - Neighbourhood Investment Facility committed nearly %u20AC 20 million to four projects in Moldova in the social sphere and transport sector. Moldova benefited also from three NIF regional projects (%u20AC 24 million in support of the energy and the private sectors).
More info at:
hereafter referred to as Moldova
the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument