Foreign policy and defense
The most important issues in Moldovan foreign
policy concern the country's relations with Romania,
Russia and the EU. As Moldova approaches the EU,
relations with the Moscow government have deteriorated.
Tensions between Moldova and Russia increased in
2014, partly because of the concern created by Russia's
annexation of Ukrainian Crimea in the region in March,
and partly because of Moscow's negative reaction to the
EU-Moldova association figure signed in June of that
year. The Moldovan outbreak state Transnistria's strong
connection to Russia is based on the problems.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Moldova for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Relationship with Romania
Moldova's relationship with Romania was complicated
for a long time. When Moldova declared its independence
from the Soviet Union in 1991, the reactions from
Romania were mixed. The neighboring country was the
first nation to recognize Moldova's independence, while
many Romanian politicians expressed a desire to
eventually see a reunion between Moldova and Romania
(see Older History). Relations became progressively more
relaxed as the issue of reunification lost significance
during the 1990s.
When the Communist Party regained its power in
Moldova in 2001, relations with Romania deteriorated
again. The municipal government accused the neighboring
country of supporting the opposition in Moldova. The
situation worsened when Romania became an EU member in
2007. Even before EU accession, Romania had allowed all
Moldavians to apply for Romanian citizenship while
retaining their Moldovan citizenship. President Voronin,
also leader of the Communist Party, accused Romania of
"permanent aggression" against Moldova. When street
riots erupted after the communist election victory in
April 2009, Voronin accused Romania of being behind the
riots, which he called a coup attempt. Subsequently,
Moldova imposed a compulsory visa for Romanian citizens.
Since the summer of 2009, when the EU-friendly
center-right parties won government power in a recent
election, relations with Romania have been good. Romania
supports Moldova's efforts to adapt to the EU. Freedom
of movement across the Moldovan-Romanian border has
increased since the change of power and poorer Moldova
receives aid from Romania.
Relations with the EU
Moldova's proximity to the EU aims to eventually
become a member of the Union. However, the obstacles on
the way there are several. The biggest is the unresolved
conflict over the future status of the Transnistrian
state (see special chapter), but Moldova must also curb
widespread corruption, as well as reform both the
economy and the judiciary, before an EU membership can
become relevant. In addition, measurements show that the
previously so strong public opinion for an EU entry has
cooled down as poor Moldavians felt that EU adaptation
did not live up to their expectations of a higher
standard of living.
Moldova joined the Stability Pact for the Balkans in
2001 and thereafter the EU's cooperation program ENP. In
2007, the EU opened an office in Chișinău for visa
applications to Member States. Moldova has been a member
of the EU's Eastern Partnership since 2009 together with
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. In
2012, negotiations started on setting up a free trade
area with the EU within the framework of the Eastern
In April 2014, visa freedom was introduced for
Moldovan citizens in the EU Schengen area, and in June
of the same year Moldova, together with Ukraine and
Georgia, signed an association agreement with the EU.
The agreement gradually gives Moldovan companies free
access to the EU internal market. The agreement also
provides Moldova with technical and economic development
support. In return, Moldova commits itself to living up
to the EU's demands for respect for democracy and human
rights, to fight corruption, to strengthen the rule of
law and to reform the economy.
Relations with Russia
Moldova has since been dependent on Russia for its
energy supply and exports, although dependence has
diminished as the EU approaches. A major stumbling block
in relations is the conflict over Transnistria, in
particular the Russian military presence in the
breakaway republic (see special chapter).
Relations with Russia were strained throughout the
1990s, but they improved after the Communists regained
power in Moldova in 2001. During their first two years
of government, the Communist government approached
Russia, but when attempts to resolve the conflict in
Transnistria failed, the relationship became colder. An
agreement was signed in 1994 between Moldova and Russia
on Russian retreat, but the process has stalled. In
1999, Russia promised that all Russian soldiers who were
not part of the peacekeeping force would have left the
area in 2002, but about 1,500 Russian soldiers still
remain in the breakaway republic.
Before the 2005 parliamentary elections, the
relationship had become so strained that the Moldovan
Communist government accused Russia of supporting the
opposition. Moldova invited election observers from the
EU, but refused to election observers from the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Relations
deteriorated further in 2006-2007 when Russia raised the
price of gas and introduced temporary import stops for
Increased pressure from Moscow
The new Western-friendly government that took office
in 2009 was keen to have good relations with both the EU
and Russia. It described itself as "a bridge between
east and west". However, when it became clear that its
highest priority was approaching Europe, Russian
relations deteriorated. In 2010 and 2013, Russia again
introduced temporary stops for Moldovan wine imports.
From autumn 2013, relations with Russia deteriorated
significantly when Moscow warned Moldova of "serious
consequences" if the country signed an association
agreement with the EU. Moscow understood that such an
agreement would hamper attempts to resolve the conflict
around Transnistria, which is a prerequisite for
Moldovan EU membership. Russia also hinted that gas
prices could be raised this winter. The President of
Moldova declared that the country was determined to
forge closer ties with the EU. To further exert
pressure, Russia again halted wine imports from Moldova.
Following Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region
of Crimea in March 2014, great concern arose in Moldova
for Transnistria to become the next target in Moscow's
feared plans to recapture parts of the former Soviet
Union. Tensions rose as one of the outbreak state's
political leaders appealed to Moscow to occupy the area.
Moldova responded by raising readiness for the
When Moldova signed an association agreement with the
EU three months later, Russia responded by signing a
series of cooperation agreements with Transnistria.
Russia also reacted outraged when a strongly pro-Russian
party was refused to participate in the Moldavian
election, shortly before Election Day, on the grounds
that it had received money from foreign power. The
Russian Foreign Ministry said "serious rule violations"
had occurred in the elections, including hundreds of
thousands of Moldavans living in Russia could not vote.
The match at the top
As a result of the election of Russia-friendly
socialist Igor Dodon as president in the fall of 2016, a
split occurred around the country's foreign policy line.
While the government wanted to hold on to the
EU-friendly line, Dodon advocated closer relations with
Russia. Dodon wanted the cooperation agreement with the
EU to be torn down and Moldova to join the Russian-led
Eurasian Economic Union, which, in addition to Russia,
consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.
In May 2018, Moldova was granted the first observer
status in the Union.
Cooperation with the EU has continued, but in the
summer of 2018 tensions arose in the relationship. After
the opposition won the mayor's election in the capital,
the election was annulled, prompting the EU to strongly
criticize Moldova and decide to withhold over a hundred
million euros in aid (see Calendar).
With Ukraine, relations were strained in the early
1990s due to disputes over certain border areas and the
then government's nationalist policies in Moldova.
Tensions eased in 1992 when Ukraine joined Moldova in
the conflict with Transnistria. In 1999, Moldova and
Ukraine were able to resolve their remaining border
Moldova's relations with the United States are good.
The Americans provide aid for the privatization of state
property in Moldova and the US cooperates militarily
with the country to some extent. In 2011, Moldova was
visited by US Vice President Joe Biden, who emphasized
that the United States continues to support Moldova's
pursuit of political and economic reforms. In the
context of the Crimean crisis in March 2014, the United
States gave $ 10 million to Moldova to strengthen its
border protection against Transnistria. In June of that
year, US President Barack Obama took the initiative to
assure the US European Allies of US military support in
the light of the crisis in Ukraine. The initiative also
included states that are not members of NATO. For
Moldova, it would help to strengthen the defense. A few
days later, the United States pledged $ 8 million in
support of Moldova's EU alignment.
Relations with Turkey have improved as the government
of Ankara supported the moderate forces of
Turkish-speaking residents of the autonomous region of
Gagauzi and urged them to negotiate with the Moldovan
government (see Political system).
Moldova was one of the founders of the US. The
country became a member in 1991, but it took until 1994
before Parliament approved the membership. The country
does not participate in the military cooperation of the
Moldova joined the NATO Partnership for Peace in
1994, but has not applied for membership in the Defense
Alliance even if some cooperation exists, including
The defense is based on general military duty for one
year. Moldovan soldiers participate in operations abroad
under the command of the UN, NATO or the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Osse. Moldova,
for example, has a troop in the NATO-led Kfor force in
FACTS - DEFENSE
3 250 men (2017)
The air Force
800 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
0.4 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
1.0 percent (2017)