Moldova to Start Talks with the EU

Written by | Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Moldova is to initiate talks with the European Union on the association agreement and a comprehensive free trade agreement during this month’s Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit. According to experts, it is a historic moment for the country that is among Europe’s poorest nations. The World Bank especially believes that deepening of the cooperation with the Union can help Chisinau promote the badly needed reforms.
Despite having per capita GDP of about 2,400 USD, which is about a fourth of that in neighboring Romania, Moldova has made an unprecedented progress in last decade. The country grew almost steadily at about 4.7 percent growth rate, which helped alleviate poverty from almost 30 percent in 2003 to 16.6 percent in 2012. Moldovans withstood also the ongoing financial crisis and provided that current macroeconomic management is maintained, the country is expected to grow by 5.5 percent next year.
Yet, on the other hand, Moldova faces major problems regarding the education and health services, and both are considered of a rather poor quality. As to education, about 60 percent of students and pupils are believed to have under-average skills in mathematics and reading. Data on health, on the other hand, report adult mortality rates for people between 15-60 of age on average 50 percent higher than those in the EU. Moreover, the incidence of mortality from chronic diseases is still rather high as well.
In order to sustain the recent positive developments and to overcome the existing obstacles, Chisinau needs to embark on a long road of reforms. Examples of proposed policy changes, as proposed by the World Bank, include mostly promotion of competitiveness of private firms by streamlining entrepreneurship, enhancement of private institutions, access to long-term financing to small and medium enterprises, and elimination of corruption. It is believed that of critical importance is also enhancement and strengthening of the financial and banking system as well as the guarantee of transparency.

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