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MOLDOVA


 

 

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 1,964 1,621 1,500 141
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 590 460 400 157
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,446,455

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin

  

Update No: 290 - (25/02/05)

Parliamentary elections a foregone conclusion
European election monitors were visiting the former Soviet republic of Moldova in late January and early February. Josette Durrieu and Andre Kvakkestad, two members of the Monitoring Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), arrived in the Moldovan capital Chisinau Mond on January 31st for a three-day visit to monitor preparations for Moldova's parliamentary elections, the press service of the Moldovan parliament told Interfax.
PACE experts met with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, parliamentary speaker Yevgeny Ostapchuk, and faction leaders and commission chiefs. On Feb. 1, the PACE officials travelled to Transdniester to see if the talks on the Transdniestrian settlement could be resumed and if local residents would have an opportunity to cast their votes in the parliamentary elections.
Moldova's president is elected by parliament so that the elections were really presidential as well as parliamentary, ensuring Voronin's re-election too.

Communists re-elected
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Nevertheless, the incumbent communist government, the only one in Europe, was widely expected to be re-elected and duly was in February, exactly four years after its initial victory in February 2001.
This is not so surprising since they have done a better job than their predecessors, who were notorious for corruption and self-seeking. In the bad old days of the Soviet Union so were the communists. But much less so now. The corrupt careerists left the party after 1991, leaving a residue of idealists behind. In the early 1990s nobody was expecting the Communist Party of Moldova ever to be in power again.

Economy on the mend
The government has gone out of the way to make payment of salaries and pensions more prompt. This is the easier to do because the economy is picking up, albeit from a very low base. 
According to preliminary data, Moldova's GDP growth totalled 7.3 per cent in 2004, the republic's Department for Statistics and Sociology has reported. The Moldovan GDP amounted to US$2.6bn in current prices and US$2.4bn in comparable prices. As the country's economy ministry told RBC, GDP growth was linked primarily to a dynamic development of the service and production sectors. It is worth mentioning that initially, the ministry forecasted GDP growth at 5 per cent in 2004.
Government revenues are being doubled; hence also its spending plans. This has made the election result a shoo-in.

Ukraine result excites great interest
People were stunned and pleased by the victory of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine. Voronin attended his inauguration on January 23rd. They agreed to meet shortly to discuss a settlement of the Dniester Region issue. Relations are pretty sure to improve. They could hardly have been worse beforehand.
For instance, Ukraine and Moldova are to resume talks on enhancing control at the border between the two countries. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin maintains "This sector of the border, 460 km long, is open to smuggling and brings big dividends to certain forces". This was a broad hint that he meant the corrupt gang of unreformed communists, indeed Stalinists, in charge of the Transdniester region. In retaliation, Ukraine's ex-President Leonid Kuchma accused Chisinau of an intention "to organise an economic blockade of the Dniester Region," with whose grim president, Igor Smirnov, he had long been in cahoots.
Premier Vasile Tarlev expressed hope that Ukraine's new leadership would support the proposal made by Chisinau to make arrangements for joint customs control at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. Last year, the Moldovan authorities applied to the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in a request to carry out international monitoring of the border, particularly its Dniester Region sector. 
At the same time, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European commissioner for international affairs, has stated that a number of delicate problems hinder a special and concentrated relationship between Ukraine and the European Union and that one of the problems concerns Moldova and the Dniester Region. 

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ENERGY

300m KWt of electricity on the cards


Romania will provide 300m KWt of electricity to Moldova this year, New Europe reported recently.
The decision was made on the eve of Traian Basescu's visit to Chisinau, the government press office said in a statement.
The price of the delivery will correspond to the market situation in Romania, which is higher than Moldova's, but Moldova will pay for the delivery the price of its internal market. The difference will be covered by Moldova's electric power deliveries to Romania during the summer season.
Electric power deliveries will begin as soon as this schedule is confirmed, as well as historic debt of Moldova to Romania, US$32m accumulated in previous years for energy supplies. This decision was made by the Romanian government in response to the Moldovan government's request last December to consider a possibility of power supplies from Romania due to a critical situation with energy supplies by the Moldovan hydropower station. But since the end of December 2004 the Moldovan hydropower station has been making power supplies deliveries to electricity distributors in accordance with previously signed agreements.

Chisinau targets power plant privatisations

The Moldovan government will privatise the Chisinau Thermoelectric Power Plant-1 in 2005, Energy Minister, Yakob Timchuk, said, RBC news service reported recently.
A tender will be announced soon to choose a strategic investor for the power plant, he said. The minister added that the ageing power plant was bringing huge losses and needed serious modernisation, which was impossible without private investments.
Last July the Moldovan parliament passed amendments to the privatisation concept for the energy industry, stipulating that thermoelectric and heating plants could be privatised separately instead of being offered to investors as a united enterprise in accordance with earlier plans, the news service noted. The energy ministry considers simultaneous privatisation of thermoelectric power plants inexpedient, as the technical condition of these power plants is not the same.
All thermoelectric power plants are unprofitable and have big debts. Their main creditor is the Russian-Moldovan joint venture Moldova-gaz. The Moldovan Energy Ministry is in favour of privatising thermoelectric power plants as soon as possible, as the ministry expects private investors to modernise these power stations.

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EXPORTS

Russian exports to Moldova up

Moldova's surplus in its trade with Russia reached US$134.8m in January to November 2004 having gained 14.3% compared to the same period in 2003, Vitaly Valkov, the director general of Moldova's Statistical Department, said recently, RBC reported.
Moldova increased exports to Russia by 16.3% to US$320.1m in the first 11 months of last year compared to the corresponding period in 2003, he stressed. Russia's share in the structure of Moldova's exports dropped from 39% to 36.3% in the reported period. At the same time, imports from Russia surged 17.7% to US$185.3m in January to November 2004 compared to same period in the year before. The share of Russia in the structure of Moldova's imports eased back from 13% to 11.8%. Russia is a major importer of Moldovan products. The republic's exports to Russia include mainly wine, cognac, juice, canned fruit and vegetables, while Russia supplies energy sources.

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FOREIGN COOPERATION

Romania supports Moldova on European integration efforts

Moldova and Romania plan to collaborate in the European integration field, Presidents, Vladimir Voronin and Traian Basescu, stated recently, Infotag News Service reported.
"We will have to pay particular attention to matters concerning European integration," Voronin said.
He voiced his pleasure with Basescu's stand on the Transdnestria question as well as on the declaration on stability and security for the Republic of Moldova.
Basescu said Romania and the Republic of Moldova have much in common, and are united with one common goal to accede to the European Union. "Romania deeply respects the Republic of Moldova as a sovereign and independent state, and is ready to be the republic's advocate on its way to the European Union," he said.
The Romanian president stressed his country will not permit the Republic of Moldova to be blackmailed in energy matters: "Each time when the question of electricity supply arises, it is enough to make a telephone call to Bucharest, and Moldova will see it has true friends there."

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